HOUSTON – After six consecutive losing seasons, the Houston Astros are off to their best start ever.
Evan Gattis hit a two-run homer to help Dallas Keuchel win his eighth consecutive decision, and the Astros kept rolling with a 6-1 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday.
The Astros, who were baseball's worst team in three of the past four years, improved to an American League-best 27-14, giving them the best start through 41 games in franchise history. Sitting atop the AL West, this is the latest the Astros have led their division since May 22, 2004.
"It's the most fun I've had in a long time," Keuchel said. "There's absolutely no panic. They took the first game here, and we continued to grind and make adjustments. So when we do that it's fun here, and I think the guys here are expecting to win now."
Keuchel (6-0) allowed six hits and no earned runs in seven innings to lower his ERA to 1.67. He is 8-0 with a 1.79 ERA since an Aug. 21 loss at the New York Yankees, the longest current unbeaten streak by a big league starter. And his 6-0 mark this year is the best by an Astros pitcher since Roger Clemens opened the 2004 season at 9-0.
"I thought he was as sharp as he's been all year early," manager A.J. Hinch said. "They made him work a couple innings, which got him out of there after seven, but he really dialed up in a couple innings when they had the bases loaded."
The score was tied in the sixth inning when Gattis sent his soaring homer into left field to make it 3-1. George Springer, who finished with two hits, singled with two outs to set up the go-ahead shot by Gattis.