Going, going Gattis: Big home run continues turnaround

Two-run shot against O's gives DH 29 RBIs in last 30 games

Going, going Gattis: Big home run continues turnaround

BALTIMORE -- The Astros entered the seventh inning Wednesday against the Orioles having gone 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position and not being able to take advantage of having a runner at third base with less than two outs on three separate occasions.

In keeping with a familiar script, the Astros rallied late in the game and scored three times in the seventh, capped by a two-run homer by Evan Gattis, and managed to tie the score before losing, 5-4, to the Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

The Astros showed grit and determination at the plate until the end, with Jose Altuve hitting a two-out double in the ninth off closer Zach Britton and Preston Tucker flying out to deep left field to end the game. Astros players were hanging on the dugout rails when the ball was caught for the final out, expecting to see one more piece of late-inning magic.

"We hung in," manager A.J. Hinch said. "Even our at-bats at the end off of Britton were fantastic. We had a ton of opportunities early in the game. The second, fourth and sixth innings, runner on third and less than two outs and didn't score and that kind of came back to bite us a little bit. If we haven't figured this out by now, our guys are going to fight to the end and they're going to play the whole game. We came back and made it really interesting. Hat tip to our team. We'll keep fighting."

Gattis, who got off to an 0-for-20 start with the Astros, is suddenly the RBI machine the team had hoped. He's hitting .264 with nine homers and 29 RBIs in his last 30 games, including going 3-for-4 with a single, double and homer against the Orioles.

"I like the fact that he takes a 3-0 pitch and goes to right-center, he shoots the hole in the first at-bat with a single and he hits the ball hard," Hinch said. "His numbers are going to come back to where they're supposed to be. He's a good hitter and he conducts really good at-bats and it's nice to have him warming up."

Gattis' homer wouldn't have happened had Tucker not beaten out a potential inning-ending double play ball, driving in a run to cut the deficit to 4-2. Gattis' homer off Ubaldo Jimenez gave the Astros 88 runs scored in the seventh inning or later this year, which is easily the most in baseball.

"It's a different story if Preston doesn't run the way he did," Gattis said. "That's the end of an inning and it's a 4-1 game at that point with me leading off the next inning probably facing their other guy."

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