Homer-happy Astros making opponents pay

Homer-happy Astros making opponents pay

HOUSTON -- If the Astros keep this up, they're going to need a nickname for their power-laden lineup. Minute Maid Mashers probably won't do them any justice, but Houston's penchant for the long ball has made its lineup a dangerous one.

The A's learned that firsthand Tuesday, when the Astros got two-run homers from Chris Carter and Colby Rasmus and a solo blast from Jason Castro in a 6-4 Houston win, as the Astros improved to 26-14 -- the best 40-game start in club history.

Houston leads the Major Leagues with 60 home runs and is 17-0 when hitting multiple homers in a game. The only other season in which the Astros had a 17-game winning streak when hitting multiple homers was 1994 (22 in a row).

"Homers are good," manager A.J. Hinch said. "And we've relied on them a lot. It's not the only way we score, but it's a dangerous way to score."

Rasmus' two-run homer

Carter's seventh homer of the season, a two-run shot off A's ace Sonny Gray in the second, put the Astros ahead, 2-0, and Rasmus hit a two-run blast to right off lefty Fernando Abad in the eighth -- Rasmus' eighth -- to make it 5-2. Castro's fifth homer of the season one out later pushed the lead to 6-2.

"As long as there's a W at the end of it, I think the formula is good," Rasmus said of the homer outbursts. "I don't know if that's really the plan. I think our plan is to go up there and get a good pitch to hit. Some of us have a little juice in us, and those guys are pitching well and fighting against us."

The Astros made Gray, who entered the game with a 1.61 ERA, throw 104 pitches in five innings, tagging him for three runs and seven hits.

Castro's solo homer

"We were really locked in and had a real disciplined approach how to attack him, and got him up to 100 pitches in five innings, and Carter had the big homer," Hinch said. "I was really, really happy with our approach against a tough pitcher, and I think that set us up later in the game, obviously to get into their bullpen. But the quality at-bats in the first five innings turned into really quality at-bats in the latter innings."

Astros designated hitter Evan Gattis, who's second on the team with 22 RBIs and has seven home runs, didn't participate in the long-ball parade, but he went 2-for-4 with an RBI single.

"It's good to see us hit some home runs and score runs, and getting the lead early with CC's home run was huge, and we just kept it on them and battled," Gattis said.

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.