HOUSTON (AP) — Charlie Morton liked the way the Houston Astros rallied for their latest win.
Morton struck out a career-high 12, George Springer singled home the tying run in his return from a leg injury and the Astros beat Oakland 9-4 to send the Athletics to their fifth straight loss.
Khris Davis hit a three-run homer in the first and a solo shot in the third, putting Oakland ahead 4-3 with his ninth home run this season.
Despite an early 3-0 deficit, the Astros wasted no time clawing their way back into the game, matching Oakland’s three-run first inning. Morton said that ability to persevere and mount comebacks on a regular basis makes Houston special.
“There are teams that score runs and there are teams that are gritty,” Morton said. “The teams that have grit — they win. Most games, it’s easier when you score five, six, seven, eight runs. But there’s a grit factor in this team that I’ve seen in winners that squeak it out no matter what. There’s so much talent, but there’s also that X-factor — the grit.”
Springer, back from a strained left hamstring that forced him to miss four games, singled to tie the score in the fourth.
Houston took a 6-4 lead in the fifth on Evan Gattis’ RBI single and Alex Bregman’s sacrifice fly. Carlos Beltran had reached on a throwing error by second baseman Jed Lowrie, one of a season-high three errors by the A’s that led to three unearned runs against Jharel Cotton (2-3).
Yuli Gurriel homered against Cesar Valdez for a 7-4 lead in the seventh, and Carlos Correa hit a two-run double in the eighth.
Astros manager A.J. Hinch said he enjoyed having his regular starting lineup available again after the Astros dealt with minor injuries throughout the week. Hinch took a more conservative stance than Morton when talking about his team’s perseverance.
“I don’t want to fall in the habit of falling behind the way that we have in the first month but this month will convince our players that we are never out of it,” Hinch said. “We’re just going to keep pecking away at them and we did.”
Houston’s Jose Altuve went 0 for 4 with a walk in his first game since the second baseman’s collision in right field Tuesday.
Morton (2-2) allowed four runs and five hits in seven innings, overcoming Davis’ 13th multihomer game and second this season. He homered twice on opening day against the Los Angeles Angels.
Cotton gave up six runs and 10 hits in 4 1/3 innings.
“Everyone wants to go out there and shut it down in the first inning after we got on the board, and unfortunately, I didn’t do that,” Cotton said. “I let them creep in, and I took it on for the rest of the game.”
Athletics: LHP Sean Manaea will miss at least one start and might have to go to the disabled list, manager Bob Melvin said. Manaea exited Wednesday’s start in Anaheim early with discomfort. Sonny Gray could come off the DL to take Manaea’s slot Tuesday in Minnesota, Melvin said. Gray has made two rehab starts after missing six weeks with a lat strain.
Astros: Hinch said he hopes to have OF Jake Marisnick (concussion-like symptoms) back by Monday. Marisnick was placed on the seven-day concussion DL after he ran into a wall at Tampa Bay on Sunday. … Jandel Gustave pitched a bullpen session on Friday, but there is no timetable for his return from the 10-day DL (right forearm tightness).
After being visibly frustrated for missing a diving attempt at a line drive in the sixth inning, Astros OF Josh Reddick redeemed himself in the eighth. Oakland DH Ryon Healy hit a deep shot to right and a sprinting Reddick leapt and extended across his body to make the catch before crashing into the padded wall. The catch ended the inning, leaving two Oakland runners stranded and the three-run Houston lead intact.
“Anytime you’re playing your former team, you want to do well against them, especially beating them makes it a little more sweeter,” Reddick said. “I’m going to be giving Ryon a lot of (heat), I guess you could say, about making that catch.”
Reddick reached base four times on Friday night, with two singles and two catcher’s interference calls. Reddick became the seventh player in MLB history to reach base twice in one game on catcher’s interference calls. It was the eighth time it happened in history as Pat Corrales did it twice in 1965, according to Baseball Reference.
Astros: RHP Joe Musgrove (1-1) starts Saturday. He allowed four runs in the first inning of a no decision in Tampa on Sunday before retiring 15 of his last 17 batters.
Athletics: RHP Andrew Triggs (3-1) looks to rebound from an 11-1 loss to Seattle last Sunday by making his first career start and 11th overall against the Astros.