The way Matt Olson flipped his bat near home plate as he watched the ball he launched into Minute Maid Park’s upper deck in right field was almost therapeutic. A look of relief came over him as he made his trek around the bases.
For the first time in 2021, the A’s looked like themselves again.
Olson’s towering three-run blast off Astros left-hander Blake Taylor in the eighth inning — his first long ball of the season — soared a projected 414 feet and left the bat at 105.8 mph, according to Statcast. It was one of three homers on the night for Oakland’s offense, matching its home run total for the season entering the day before breaking out in Friday’s 6-2 win over Houston.
Sean Manaea put the A’s in good position for their first win in six tries against the Astros with the best performance to date by an Oakland pitcher. Displaying good control of his pitches, the left-hander kept Houston’s offense quiet for the most part by allowing just one run on six hits and one walk, with four strikeouts in six innings. The quality start was the first produced by an A’s starter this season.
Jed Lowrie also hit his first homer of the 2021 campaign. His solo shot in the fourth off Lance McCullers Jr. was his first home run since Sept. 29, 2018, during his previous stint with Oakland.