HOUSTON (AP) — Astros manager AJ Hinch wasn’t that concerned with the slump Michael Brantley was in early in his first season with Houston.
Still, it was nice to see him break out of it to help the Astros to a 6-0 win over the Oakland Athletics on Saturday night.
Brantley had two hits, including a two-run homer, and George Springer added a two-run shot of his own to power the Astros.
“Good for him and good for us,” Hinch said. “He’s hitting in the middle of the order because of how good his at-bats are. … The at-bats have been good, the results have not been great up until this point, but his demeanor has been the same. It doesn’t surprise me that he got a pitch to hit and did some damage.”
Wade Miley (1-1) allowed four hits in 5 2/3 innings to win his home debut for Houston after losing his first start this season at Tampa Bay. Will Harris got the last out of the sixth and Josh James, Chris Devenski and Framber Valdez pitched one inning apiece to complete the six-hitter.
The Astros were up 1-0 with nobody out in the fifth when Springer launched a 90 mph fastball from Aaron Brooks (1-1) into the left field seats. Alex Bregman singled with one out before Brantley’s homer sailed to the second deck in right to make it 5-0.
“It’s important that we get out to good leads and the pitchers shut it down,” Brantley said. “It just makes everything smoother and lets the pitcher be more aggressive.”
Brantley, in his first year with the Astros after spending 10 seasons with the Indians, snapped an 0-for-13 skid and got his first hit in a week with a single to start the fourth. Yuli Gurriel’s double with one out, over leaping third baseman Matt Chapman, scored Brantley to make it 1-0.
Gurriel also doubled in the second and eighth to give him a career-best three in the game.
Brooks yielded nine hits and five runs in five innings after pitching six scoreless innings during his first start this year in a win over Boston.
“I wasn’t throwing a lot of strikes with the off speed so they could kind of eliminate pitches and sit on one,” he said.
Robinson Chirinos added a solo homer in the sixth to help Houston win its second straight game after losing the previous two.
The Athletics went 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position and left nine on base overall as they were shut out a night after losing 3-2 in the series opener.
“We’re struggling a little bit,” manager Bob Melvin said. “This can be a tough place for us sometimes. When you look at their staff, all the way down, it doesn’t matter who they run out there.”
Miley didn’t allow more than one runner in an inning until the fourth when Stephen Piscotty singled with no outs and Kendrys Morales walked with two outs. But the Athletics came away empty-handed when Mark Canha grounded out.
Miley was replaced after a single by Chad Pinder left runners on first and second with two outs in the sixth. Harris took over and struck out Morales to end the threat.
Grammy-nominated rapper Travis Scott threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Scott, whose latest album was titled “Astroworld,” also released a limited-edition hat line with the Astros on Saturday. The hats, which feature the Astros’ “H’’ logo came in navy, black and brown and featured stars drawn in his handwriting on the front and the words: ”Wish you were here,” which was the name of his last tour, on the back.
The coveted New Era caps, which were available at the stadium for $40, sold out in a matter of minutes and were being offered on Ebay Saturday night for as much as $300.
His pitch wasn’t quite as big of a hit as the caps, though, as it bounced wide right of the batter’s box.
THEY SAID IT
Miley on his catcher: “Chirinos was outstanding back there. He made me believe that I can get people out with changeups and curveballs, so that was fun. It was definitely fun working with him.”
Athletics: RHP Mike Fiers (2-1, 3.00 ERA), who threw a no-hitter for Houston in 2015, will pitch Sunday. Fiers has not allowed a run in his last two starts spanning 12 innings and got the win against the Red Sox in his last outing when he permitted five hits and struck out three in six innings.
Astros: RHP Brad Peacock (1-0, 1.35) is scheduled to start for Houston in the series finale after allowing two hits and one run in 6 2/3 innings to beat Texas his last time out.