Cristian Javier rebounds to pace Astros past Athletics


Cristian Javier snapped a six-start winless streak by working six scoreless innings and Alex Bregman homered for a second consecutive game as the Houston Astros completed a three-game series sweep of the visiting Oakland Athletics with a 6-3 victory on Sunday.

Javier (7-8), winless since he recorded 14 strikeouts while allowing one hit over seven dominant innings in an 8-1 win over the Los Angeles Angels on July 1, reclaimed his stride in his third start against the Athletics this season.

Javier was 0-5 with a 4.40 ERA over his prior six starts but allowed just one baserunner to reach scoring position against him on Sunday when Vimael Machin worked a one-out walk in the first inning and advanced to second on a wild pitch.

Oakland second baseman Jonah Bride recorded the lone hit against Javier with his two-out single in the second. Javier later walked Tony Kemp with one out in the third and Stephen Vogt with two outs in the fourth, but he closed his outing by retiring 13 of the final 15 batters he faced.

Javier issued three walks while notching six strikeouts. He threw 97 pitches, 63 for strikes.

The Astros continued their two-out magic offensively in the first when Alex Bregman followed a two-out single by Yordan Alvarez with a 360-foot blast to left, his 16th home run providing Houston a 2-0 lead against Athletics starter Cole Irvin (6-10).

Alvarez and Bregman teamed to supply the Astros a 2-0 lead in the first on Saturday with a single and a homer off Zach Logue.

With two outs in the second, Jose Altuve delivered a double that scored Chas McCormick and Christian Vazquez and extended the lead to 4-0.

Irvin, who last allowed more than two earned runs on June 29, stabilized and retired 10 of 12 batters after the Altuve double. But Kyle Tucker opened the sixth with a single and scored two batters later when Vazquez added an RBI single.

Irvin allowed a season-high-tying five runs on eight hits and one walk with one strikeout over six innings.

The Astros added their 18th two-out run of the series in the seventh when Bregman doubled home Jeremy Pena. Bregman finished 2-for-4 with three RBIs. Vazquez went 3-for-4.

The Athletics scratched across three runs off Astros relievers Will Smith and Rafael Montero in the eighth and ninth innings before Houston closer Ryan Pressly recorded his 23rd save.

Oakland has dropped eight consecutive games.

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