Greinke, Astros shut down rival A’s to win opener 8-1

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 01: Jose Altuve #27 of the Houston Astros reacts after they beat the Oakland Athletics in their Opening Day game at RingCentral Coliseum on April 01, 2021 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 01: Jose Altuve #27 of the Houston Astros reacts after they beat the Oakland Athletics in their Opening Day game at RingCentral Coliseum on April 01, 2021 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) (2021 Getty Images)

OAKLAND, Calif. – Astros manager Dusty Baker hoped to get five strong innings from Zack Greinke on opening day.

The veteran righty gave Houston a little more.

“He was kind of in midseason form," Baker said.

Greinke pitched six shutout innings, Michael Brantley and Alex Bregman homered back-to-back in the eighth, and Houston hushed an unwelcoming crowd in beating the reigning AL West champion Oakland Athletics 8-1 on Thursday night.

“I’m not really worried about Greinke. He’s in much better shape this year. Last year it didn’t look like we were going to come back,” Baker said.

A’s fans had to wait an extra year to properly boo the Astros, who were supposed to play their first road game of the coronavirus-shortened 2020 season here last spring. Houston’s sign-stealing scandal was brought to light by A’s right-hander Mike Fiers against his former club, and many in the crowd chanted “Cheaters!”

Greinke hopes wins like this might help silence some of the haters.

“Got to hear some boos finally, that wasn’t that fun to listen to,” Greinke said, “but we played good so it ended up being better.”