Houston evens the series

Astros back up Greinke's impressive start to even series with A's

Greinke tossed another impressive game Wednesday. Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

After watching Oakland get the walk-off win in the opener, Houston entered Wednesday's middle game needing a win to force a rubber game to decide the series and who would leave it on top of the division. The offense and Zack Greinke would get it done, with the Astros putting together a late barrage of runs to back up their starter, who tossed another gem.

Final Score: Astros 8, A's 1

Astros' Record: 25-18, second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Zack Greinke (4-1)

Losing Pitcher: Frankie Montas (5-3)

Trading early runs

Once again, just like the night before, the Astros would get two runs in the top of the first before Oakland could get to the plate. The first run came on the very first pitch, as Jose Altuve would turn a slider around 396 feet over the left-field wall. They would get a runner in scoring position with two outs, setting up an RBI single by Carlos Correa to double the first-inning lead. Oakland responded with a run in the bottom of the second, a two-out RBI double against Zack Grienke, making it a 2-1 game.

Houston blows it open late

That score stayed put all the way into the seventh inning, where the Astros would add to their lead with a two-out rally. Alex Bregman started it with a walk, then moved to second on a Yordan Alvarez single. Both would then score on a deep two-run double by Yuli Gurriel.

He would come around to score in the next at-bat, an RBI single by Carlos Correa to make it a four-run game at 5-1. Houston kept scoring against Oakland's bullpen in the next inning, as an RBI single by Michael Brantley and two-RBI double, bringing him to four on the night, made it an 8-1 Houston advantage.

Greinke goes eight innings, Astros get the win

While Greinke was undoubtedly grateful for the insurance, he was doing just fine without it, holding his own against the A's. His run allowed in the second would be his one and only, rebounding and finding a rhythm to finish eight frames for the second time this season. His final line: 8.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 8 K, 89 P.

That left just one inning to cover for Houston's bullpen, a task given to Kent Emanuel. He would finish things off, moving the Astros back to a half-game behind Oakland in the division, setting up a critical rubber game on Thursday.

Up Next: Thursday's series finale will be an afternoon start, with the game getting underway at 2:37 PM Central. Luis Garcia (1-3, 3.34 ERA) for Houston will go up against Cole Irvin (3-4, 3.02 ERA) for Oakland.

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Keep an eye on Alex Bowman this weekend. Image via: Wiki Commons.

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