HOUSTON (AP) — The Houston Astros insisted they weren’t bothered by the angry crowds they faced on the road to start the season.
But what a feeling it was to hear the cheers of the home crowd once again.
“It was a beautiful night,” José Altuve said. “Kind of like a dream come true.”
Carlos Correa, Yordan Álvarez and Altuve homered as the Astros kept up their hot start by treating the home crowd to a 6-2 win over the Oakland Athletics on Thursday night in the first game with fans at Minute Maid Park since 2019.
Houston is 6-1 this season, tied for the best seven-game start in franchise history. Five of the team’s wins have come against the Athletics after a sweep in Oakland to start the season. The Astros have outscored Oakland 41-11.
They received a warm welcome from a boisterous crowd of 21,765 in the first game in Houston with fans since Game 7 of the 2019 World Series, which the Astros lost to the Washington Nationals. Capacity was limited to 50% because of coronavirus restrictions.
“It made a big difference,” manager Dusty Baker said. “I could see the positive energy on our team.”
It was a welcome respite from the reception they received on a six-game trip to start the season. The road crowds inundated the team with incessant boos and chants of “cheaters” in the first chance to berate the Astros since their sign-stealing scheme was revealed in January 2020.
Cristian Javier (1-0) scattered three hits with seven strikeouts over five scoreless innings.
The Athletics fell to 1-7 a day after getting their first win in 10 innings against the Dodgers.
“We’ve been going through it for a while now,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. “Everybody wants to be the guy that wants to get the big hit. Sometimes you get a little anxious. You’ve got to keep…