Astros Take Two from the A's, Lead AL West by Two-and-a-Half

Tyler White (right) was the hero on Wednesday against the A's.
Tyler White (right) was the hero on Wednesday against the A's. Photo by Jack Gorman)
Unlikely heroes. It was one of the marks of the Astros' run to the World Series in 2017. Sure, there was Jose Altuve and George Springer. Justin Verlander came along late in the season too. But, there were also big moments from guys like Mike Fiers and Cameron Maybin and Nori Aoki. Those moments are often the catalyst to much bigger things.

On Wednesday afternoon, it was Tyler White in one of the most important games of the 2018 season.

After leading early, the A's took the lead in the third, tagging Dallas Keuchel with three runs before the Astros came back with two more in the fourth. Keuchel left after six, allowing only those three runs, but Brad Peacock surrendered a run on no hits when he either walked or hit enough players to put the tying run across the plate.

Despite Peacock's lack of control, the Astros bullpen was terrific giving up only one hit and the single run allowed in the seventh. Still, the real magic wouldn't happen until the bottom of the ninth.

With one out and two strikes on him, White sent a towering shot into left field that landed about 10 rows deep in the Crawford Boxes, the first walk off of his career. White had been one of the hottest Astros over the last month, but no hit was bigger for the young first baseman than that home run.

Not only did the Astros move to 82-51, two games ahead of last season's pace, but they went two-and-a-half up in the AL West on the A's, who have been the hottest team in baseball for two months. In fact, this was their first series loss in two months.

The two teams won't meet again in the regular season, so every win is critical. Last year at this time, the Astros had a double-digit lead in the division. This year, it's a two-team race that promises to go down to the wire.

Next up are the Angels in town for a four-game set after getting swept by the Astros last week in Anaheim. Wednesday may have been fun, but the Astros need to keep their foot on the gas if they want to win another division crown. They'll need big games from guys not named Keuchel or Altuve if they want to make it back to the World Series. On Wednesday, that was Tyler White.
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Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke