HOUSTON — Albuquerque’s Alex Bregman hit a two-run home run in the Houston Astros’ 6-3 win over Oakland hours after a little girl from Uvalde elementary school asked Jose Altuve for a homer during a pregame event Sunday with 500 family members and friends of the victims of the May 24 mass shooting at the school.
The Astros chartered 10 buses to bring the group of 500 to the pregame event. Bregman, Alutve, right-hander Lance McCullers and manager Dusty Baker spoke and answered questions during the event.
The girl, who asked the question, was at the school at the time of the shooting. She wore a shirt that read “Team Altuve.”
“As soon as I got into the dugout, Dusty (Baker) goes, ‘Hey, you hit one for Uvalde!'” Bregman told ESPN.com.
Bregman’s 16th homer, against Cole Irvin (6-10), was his second straight day with a two-run shot in the first. He also hit an RBI double in the seventh. Altuve doubled home two runs in the second as the AL West leaders built a big early lead in their fourth consecutive victory.
Bregman has three homers and eight RBIs in his last six games.
“He’s been very hot and he’s worked hard to get to this point,” Baker told the Associated Press.
Cristian Javier (7-8) threw six shutout innings. He allowed one single and walked three in his first win since July 1. He was 0-5 with a 4.40 ERA in his previous six starts.
Houston’s strong performance comes after the Athletics swept the Astros in a series at Oakland last month.
“They beat us out there pretty good … so it just feels good to have a winning streak here and to get to 75 wins,” Baker said.
At 75-41, Houston has the best record in the American League.
The Astros led 6-1 in the ninth before Rafael Montero allowed a run on a groundout by Jonah Bride.
Montero walked Cal Stevenson to leave runners at first and second, and closer Ryan Pressly took over.
Sean Murphy grounded into a force play before Tony Kemp singled home Stevenson. But Pressly retired Vimael Machín on a groundout to get his 23rd save.
It’s the eighth consecutive loss for the AL-worst Athletics, their longest skid since dropping a season-worst 10 in a row from May 30-June 10.
Irvin yielded five runs and eight hits in six innings in his third straight loss.
Christian Vázquez helped Houston pad the lead with an RBI single in the sixth, and Bregman’s run-scoring double made it 6-0 in the seventh.
Vázquez is settling in with the Astros after he was acquired in a trade with the Red Sox on Aug. 1.
“It’s been very good,” he said. “It was fun to see them from another dugout, and now I’m here with them and it’s always exciting to see this team playing and I’m happy to be here.”
Bride singled with two outs in the second and Javier walked a batter in the third and fourth, but the Athletics couldn’t string anything together against him.
The Athletics didn’t get their second hit until Nick Allen hit a leadoff homer against Will Smith in the eighth.
ASTROS: Jose Urquidy (11-4, 3.85 ERA) opposes Chicago’s Johnny Cueto (4-5, 2.91 ERA) when the Astros open a four-game series at the White Sox on Monday night.