HOUSTON – Astros slugger Yordan Alvarez conceded he wasn’t getting a lot of rest since the introduction of his child Friday. That didn’t prevent him from getting back to the setup Tuesday and putting on the sort of execution that probably sent A’s beginning pitcher Chris Bassitt to a restless evening.
Alvarez, in his first game off the paternity list, keyed the Astros’ greatest rebound of the period by hitting a couple of grand slams, including a three-run, game-tying shot in the fifth inning, to send Houston to its fifth success in succession, 9-6, over the An’s at Minute Maid Park.
“It’s exciting to be able to play that role in the game, to be down by a bit in the game and to be able with one swing, one big hit, return it to a [tie] game pretty much is huge,” Alvarez said. “It’s a very exciting moment for me.”
The Astros (53-33), who entered the game with a season-high 3 1/2-game lead over Oakland (49-38) in the American League West, followed, 6-2, after the A’s jump started on Houston starter Framber Valdez. Alvarez kept the Astros in the game with a two-run homer to focus in the primary that voyaged 420 feet.
“I’m happy for Yordan and the birth of his child, and I think he did a good job celebrating it tonight,” Valdez said.
Alvarez, who was deliberately strolled in the 6th and was at hand in the highest point of the 10th, completed 3-for-3 with three runs scored and five RBIs. He’s cutting .310/.396/.611 with 44 homers and 138 RBIs in his initial 159 games in the Major Leagues.
“He’s an amazing hitter overall,” second baseman Jose Altuve said. “He can walk, he can hit doubles, homers. You don’t really know what to expect from him, because he’s so good and personally, I’m happy that he’s part of our team.”
Alvarez, playing interestingly since Thursday’s series opener in Cleveland, is hitting .338 with eight homers and 22 RBIs in his last 19 games.
“We missed him in the games he [missed],” Altuve said. “He came back today and those two homers, I think they were the key for us winning the game. The whole team is happy that he’s back.”
Following 6-3 in the fifth inning, Alvarez sent a three-run homer into the Crawford Boxes in left for his second multi-homer round of the period, pursuing Bassitt. The Astros attached three more in the 6th, including a two-show single to Altuve.
“I wasn’t up there looking for any specific pitch in particular,” Alvarez said of his game-tying homer. “I wanted to make good contact on the ball in the situation, a [3-1] count, and I was looking for a good pitch to be able to hit, and that’s what I was able to do.
Bassitt entered the game 9-0 with a 2.74 ERA in his past 15 beginnings, with the A’s triumphant 13 of those beginnings. He endured only 4 1/3 innings, surrendering a season-high six runs. He had permitted four runs or less in every one of his last 28 beginnings (since September 2019).
“That whole lineup’s [impressive], but when you don’t have your stuff, good luck,” Bassitt said. “Obviously, Alvarez is really good, but I mean, it’s not just Alvarez. It’s [Michael] Brantley, it’s Altuve, [Alex] Bregman when he’s healthy, [Carlos] Correa … I mean, not saying Alvarez isn’t elite. He’s really good — a lot of power, but if you don’t have stuff on your pitches and you’re missing location, you’re screwed.”
Tuesday’s down was Alvarez’s twelfth beginning of the period in left field, all of which have come since June 2. The Astros were cautious with him in the spring and from the get-go in the season after he had a medical procedure on the two knees in the offseason, yet he’s glanced agreeable in left, and he said it assists him with remaining secured upsettingly. He’s hitting .398 while playing left field and .296 at DH this year.
“I think overall, it helps me stay active and helps my body stay in athletic shape, rather than just sitting in the dugout between every at-bat,” he said. “I’m getting more movement, and it helps me stay in rhythm at the plate.”