HOUSTON (AP) - Early this season when the Houston Astros got down early it seemed like an insurmountable task to come back and win.
Things are much different these days.
Evan Gattis homered for the third straight game, Carlos Gomez connected for the first time this season and Carlos Correa delivered a tiebreaking double in the seventh inning, helping the Astros rally for the second straight game to beat the Oakland Athletics 5-2 Sunday for a three-game sweep.
"This team has a lot of personality about it and we have a lot of confidence now," manager A.J. Hinch said. "We're swinging the bats a little better, our pitching is lining up better and so you don't feel that nervous energy when you fall behind anymore. That's what a good month and a half will do for you."
The Astros have won eight of nine.
Lance McCullers (3-1) allowed eight hits and two runs while striking out nine in seven innings to win his third straight decision. Will Harris threw a perfect ninth for his first save, a day after closer Luke Gregerson blew his second straight save chance.
It was 2-all in the seventh when George Springer walked and moved up on an errant pickoff throw by Ryan Dull (1-1). Correa, who drove in the game-winning run in the 12th Saturday, grounded a double to left with two outs.
Houston added a pair of runs in the eighth inning, with one coming when Jake Marisnick scored and Colby Rasmus reached on an a rather embarrassing error by pitcher Marc Rzepczynski.
The reliever fielded a grounder right in front of the plate by Rasmus before dropping the ball, picking it up and then tumbling to the ground as he tried to decide where to throw it.
Oakland starter Sonny Gray yielded five hits and one run in five innings after being activated from the disabled list on Sunday. Manager Bob Melvin said it was the best Gray has pitched since his first start this year.
"Velocity was great. Late movement. Arm had a lot of life to it. Good breaking ball," Melvin said. "Really the only bad pitch me made was the breaking ball to Gomez."
The Athletics scored two runs in the first on a single by Yonder Alonso, but couldn't come up with hits in key situations after that and went 3 for 13 with runners in scoring position.
Oakland was up 2-0 when Gomez, who also doubled, sent his two-strike solo shot to the seats in left field in the fifth. It was his first regular-season homer since last Sept. 11.
Gomez, who has been mired in a season-long slump, is hitting just .191 this season and was 0 for 7 before the homer. He was relieved to finally to see the work he's been putting in translate to success at the plate.
"Sooner or later it had to pay off," he said.
Gattis tied it when he connected in the sixth. He has four homers and nine RBIs in his last five games.
Gray, who was scheduled to make a rehabilitation start for Single-A Stockton on Saturday before Rich Hill was scratched, has been on the DL since May 20 with a strained right trapezius.
Athletics: Hill, who missed Saturday's start with a groin strain, will also miss his next start. He is expected to return sometime in the series against Cincinnati, which starts Friday, but Melvin isn't sure which game it will be.
Hinch said after the game that they'll take Gregerson out of the closer's role for the time being and that Harris, Ken Giles and Michael Feliz will all get a chance in the ninth inning. Gregerson has a 4.56 ERA and 13 saves this season, but has blown five.
"I'm going to ease that burden off of Luke given that he's had a little bit of a rough couple weeks," Hinch said. "We need to get him right because our best bullpen has a variety of roles these guys can pitch in."
Athletics: The A's are off on Monday before Sean Manaea (2-3, 6.16 ERA) starts in the opener of a series against Milwaukee on Tuesday. Manaea allowed five hits and one run in six innings of a 5-1 win over Minnesota in his last start.
Astros: Mike Fiers (3-3, 4.84) will pitch the opener of a four-game series at Texas on Monday. Fiers has lost two straight decisions after winning his previous three. He will try to get Houston its first win over the Rangers this season after Texas won the first six games.