Astros’ Ronel Blanco returns from suspension, shuts down A’s

Ronel Blanco returned from a suspension with seven shutout innings, Kyle Tucker capped a five-run fourth in a home run and the Houston Astros completed a road series win over the Oakland Athletics with a 5-2 triumph Sunday afternoon.

Blanco (5-0) was pitching for a second consecutive time against the A’s, the first matchup on May 14 having ended prematurely when he was ejected for having been detected with a sticky substance inside his glove during an inspection after three shutout innings.

The right-hander was suspended for 10 days, after which he was equally effective — albeit for four innings longer — in blanking the A’s on four hits. He walked one and struck out six in lowering his ERA to 1.99.

A’s starter Aaron Brooks (0-2) matched zeroes with Blanco for three innings before a two-out error by shortstop Max Schuemann opened the floodgates for Houston’s difference-making uprising.

A double by Jon Singleton, bunt single by Jake Meyers and sacrifice fly by Yainer Diaz gave the visitors a 1-0 lead before Brooks induced a routine grounder by Mauricio Dubon. But Schuemann’s flip to second baseman Zack Gelof was high, keeping the inning going and setting up a two-run single by Jose Altuve.

Tucker followed with his major-league-leading 18th homer of the season, a two-run shot that made it 5-0.

Brooks was pulled one out into the fifth, charged with five runs, just one of which was earned. He allowed nine hits and three walks while striking out one.

Schuemann got a small measure of revenge when he launched a home run off Blanco leading off the sixth, his third of the season.

Shea Langeliers’ 11th homer of the year, another solo shot, off closer Josh Hader completed the game’s scoring in the ninth.

Altuve, Alex Bregman and Jeremy Pena collected two hits apiece for Houston, which took two of three in the series after a four-game home sweep over the A’s last week. The Astros have won 10 of their last 14 games.

Schuemann and Abraham Toro had two hits each for Oakland, which got three shutout innings of relief from Australian left-hander Jack O’Loughlin in his major league debut.

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