A’s hope to parlay rookie’s ‘energy’ into another win over Astros

Two players coming off celebrated home run achievements go head-to-head on Sunday afternoon when Alex Bregman and the visiting Houston Astros vie for a series win against Zack Gelof and the Oakland Athletics

Bregman homered for the third consecutive game in the Astros‘ 4-1 loss to the Athletics on Saturday

Gelof’s first big-league homer produced one of the four runs that flipped a late deficit into Oakland’s first win over Houston in nine tries.

Gelof also had the Athletics‘ first hit of the game, a single in the sixth inning that ignited a two-run uprising

“He brings energy and a level of confidence that you like to see from a young player,” A’s manager Mark Kotsay said of Gelof, whose two hits raised his average to .276 since he was called up from Triple-A Las Vegas earlier this month.

“Hopefully this continues for him and he solidifies this opportunity and captures what’s in front of him.”

Kotsay was impressed with what happened immediately after he had congratulated Gelof as he reached the dugout following his seventh-inning blast. The A’s players, who have only been his major-league teammates since July 14, pretended not to notice the memorable feat.

“That was a long silent treatment, one of the longer ones I’ve seen for a first-time home run,” Kotsay said. “That just shows the group, they have embraced him, they’ve taken him in, they respect the way he plays the game. That’s a good sign.”

Gelof will look to continue his impressive start against Astros right-hander Hunter Brown (6-7, 4.26 ERA), who is 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA in two career meetings against the A’s. Those encounters occurred in May in which the 24-year-old allowed four runs on nine hits in 13 innings

Brown hasn’t had that level of success against his July opponents, going 0-3 while allowing 12 runs and 24 hits in just 12 1/3 innings.

“It’s been kind of up and down,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said of Brown’s season. “He’s a young pitcher and they go through periods of inconsistency.

The A’s are expected to counter with right-hander Luis Medina (3-7, 5.79), who is coming off his best game of the season. He scattered three hits and struck out six in 5 2/3 innings of a 3-0 win over the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday.

Medina, 24, was on the losing end of a 10-1 blowout at home against the Astros on May 28, his only career appearance versus the club. He was roughed up for five runs in 5 1/3 innings and allowed home runs to Jose Altuve, Chas McCormick and Jake Meyers

Bregman went 1-for-2 with a single against Medina in that game but was kept in the ballpark, something other A’s pitchers haven’t been able to do this week.

Bregman’s three homers in three games equal the number teammate Kyle Tucker was able to total on a single night in Friday’s 6-4 win. While many more in Astros history have done the Bregman three-peat, it remains somewhat of a rare occurrence

In fact, Bregman is the first member of the Astros to go deep three games in a row this season

The Houston franchise record is six, set by Morgan Ensberg in 2006.

–Field Level Media

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