OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Nori Aoki flexed his muscles in the dugout after hitting his first home run in a Houston uniform. He wanted to make sure his new teammates knew he had plenty of power.
Aoki homered and drove in two runs to help the Astros beat the Oakland Athletics 7-2 Friday night for their third straight win.
“He wanted to make sure we all recognized that he’s plenty strong enough to hit the ball near the upper deck in this ball park,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “He got into it. It was fun to watch him. One of the bigger smiles I’ve seen on his face in his short time here.”
Brian McCann had three RBIs with a two-run double and a sacrifice fly to help Dallas Keuchel (2-0) win in Oakland for the first time in seven games, including six starts.
Khris Davis homered - his fifth of the season - in his first at-bat for the A’s, who lost their second straight.
A’s starter Kendall Graveman took a shutout into the fifth inning, which Aoki ruined with a leadoff homer over the right- field fence.
“I don’t know I just hit it,” Aoki said through an interpreter. “I’m just happy to contribute to the team.”
Graveman left after the fifth. He gave up five hits, walked two and did not strike out a hitter. Ryan Madsen (0-1) gave up a run and three hits while getting just two outs.
“He didn’t feel great and I wasn’t going to fool around with it,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “He had some trouble getting loose. He was pitching well. It was a cold night and I didn’t want to take the risk.”
Houston’s Jose Altuve reached base in all five plate appearances, extending his streak to a career-high 11 straight.
“This is one of the most dynamic offensive players in the league,” Hinch said. “He’s pretty exciting to watch. When he’s in the strike zone and putting the ball in play he can create havoc.”
Madsen got the first two outs in the sixth and then gave up singles to McCann and Marwin Gonzalez. Aoki hit a high chopper toward second that be beat on a play challenged by the A’s that was upheld.
A seventh-inning error by Trevor Plouffe, who homered in the ninth, led to three unearned runs, including two on McCann’s double. Plouffe also erred in the ninth, allowing two more unearned runs to score.
Astros outfielder Josh Reddick returned to the Coliseum for the first time since the A’s traded him to the Los Angeles Dodgers last July. “It’s always fun to play here,” Reddick said. “There are a lot of good guys and great friends here. The good thing about playing in Houston is I get to watch these guys play more often.” Reddick had a personal fan club in the right field bleachers with whom he’s spent time with outside the park. “I’m sure I’ll be heckled. I don’t expect anything less. From the first pitch thrown, you’re the enemy.” Reddick spent 4 1/2 years in Oakland, where he became a full-time player.
Astros: RHP Chris Devenski has thrown four innings in each of his first two appearances. Manager A.J. Hinch would prefer he make more appearances with fewer innings moving forward.
Athletics: RHP Sonny Gray will throw three innings or 45 pitches in extended spring training and at least two more bullpens before rejoining the team. Manager Bob Melvin hopes to have him back by May 1.
Astros: RHP Lance McCullers has struck out 20 A’s hitters in 15 2/3 innings. He struck out in his last outing against the Kansas City Royals.
A’s: LHP Sean Manaea will make his fifth career start against the Astros. He’s 0-1 with a 1.69 ERA against them.
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