HOUSTON (AP) Alex Bregman homered twice and had a season-high four RBIs to lead the Houston Astros to a 9-2 win over the Oakland Athletics on Monday night.

Bregman homered off Oakland starter Ross Stripling (1-7) in the fourth inning, reminiscent of the homer he hit off Stripling in the 2018 All-Star Game. Bregman homered again in the seventh off Mitch Spence. Bregman entered Monday with just one homer in 144 at-bats this season but caught fire and had his sixth career multihomer game.

“That’s what you’re doing when you’re not swinging it good is to find a way to swing it good,” Bregman said. “I actually didn’t feel so good this morning so I worked through a lot of things and ended up going back to old faithful - just knob past the ball. It kind of clicked. I felt good in BP today, and hopefully, I can carry it into tomorrow.”

Bregman later added a double in the eighth that scored Trey Cabbage and Jeremy Peña to put Houston up 7-2. He entered Monday hitting .167 in May and .201 on the season.

“It feels good to see him have some success because he’s been hitting the ball hard,” Astros manager Joe Espada said. “I’m really happy for him. He works really hard and never stops working.”

The Astros have now won four of their last five, including a series win in Detroit. Oakland has lost four of five.

“They’ve got pretty good credentials,” Oakland manager Mark Kotsay said. “Bregman is a 30-homer guy. It was a mistake, he took a big swing, and those are big runs. Those are runs that we’ve been able to prevent for the most part this season, but the last few days, we haven’t.”

Astros starter Spencer Arrighetti (1-4) allowed two runs on five hits in five innings, while striking out five. Arrighetti has now pitched at least five innings in three straight starts after failing to get out of the fifth in his first three career starts.

The Astros went up 2-0 in the third inning after Kyle Tucker doubled to score José Altuve, who had reached base with two outs after Stripling hit him in the back of the thigh with an 0-2 sinker.

“I felt like I threw the ball well, but everything they hit found a hole, and nothing went my way,” Stripling said. “They’ve got a really good lineup. We’re all aware of the Astros’ record, but it doesn’t seem to be because of their offense. I maybe poked the bear with Bregman a little bit and hope I didn’t get him going.”

Altuve added an RBI single in the seventh to put Houston up 5-2. Victor Caratini followed Bregman’s eighth inning double with a two-run double of his own to make it 9-2.

“It’s a huge stretch for us - we play a lot of division games,” Bregman said. “The cream always rises to the top, and I feel like this team is the cream of the crop. It’s time to go.”


For the first time in regular season action, the home and road television broadcasts on Monday night featured two female play-by-play announcers in Jenny Cavnar on the Oakland side and Julia Morales on the Houston side.


After being moved down to the sixth spot in the order, much lower than where he’s spent much of his career, Bregman may be back near the top of the order soon if he stays hot.

“He’s not going to stay down there very long once we start seeing the Bregman we know,” Espada said.


Athletics: RHP Paul Blackburn (stress reaction in right foot) was placed on the injured list on Monday, and Oakland recalled LHP Easton Lucas for his second stint with the club this year.

Astros: RHP José Urquidy, who hasn’t pitched this season because of an elbow injury, made his first rehab start at Triple-A Sugar Land on Sunday, throwing 2 2/3 innings and 46 pitches. … OF Chas McCormick (right hamstring discomfort) also made a rehab start at DH, going 2-for-5 with a double.


RHP JP Sears (3-2, 4.20 ERA) will start the second game of the series for the Athletics against Houston on Tuesday night. Sears is 1-1 with a 4.79 ERA in four career appearances, including three starts, against Houston. RHP Ronel Blanco (4-0, 3.64) faces Oakland for the first time of his career.


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