Oakland takes the series against Houston
Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 2 hits from the 3-2 loss
Down 2-1 in this four-game series to the A's, and with the Yankees sweeping their doubleheader to move back ahead in the overall AL standings, Houston needed a win to get back on track on Thursday night. Here is a recap of the series finale with Oakland:
Final Score: A's 3, Astros 2.
Record: 95-53, first in the AL West.
Winning pitcher: Homer Bailey (13-8, 4.76 ERA).
Losing pitcher: Justin Verlander (18-6, 2.58 ERA).
1) Oakland puts up three runs on Verlander
Many would have thought that having Justin Verlander on the mound Thursday night would mean a return to the norm in terms of holding opponents to few, if any, runs. Instead, it turns out that even Verlander isn't immune to the surging A's, as he would give up a run in the top of the first to put Oakland ahead 1-0.
In the third, a one-out single turned into a one-out two-run home run to put Oakland up 3-0 and put Verlander in a tough position. However, he turned things around to hold the A's scoreless through the rest of his six innings while having another double-digit strikeout start. His final line: 6 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 11 K, 1 HR.
2) Houston gets a couple back, but not enough
Houston threatened in the third, getting runners on second and third with no outs after a leadoff single and double. George Springer scored a run on an RBI-groundout to make it a 3-1 game, but Houston would not be able to trim the lead any further.
That would be their only run scored with Verlander on the mound, with Joe Smith taking over the 3-1 game in the top of the seventh and throwing a 1-2-3 scoreless inning. Josh James was next out of Houston's bullpen for the top of the eighth and worked around a two-out single to post a scoreless inning, striking out three to rebound from his recent terrible outing.
In the bottom of the inning, Jose Altuve pulled Houston within one run after a one-out solo home run to the train tracks to make it a 3-2 game. Houston would go on to load the bases with two outs, but Kyle Tucker would strike out to keep the A's in front.
Roberto Osuna would be tasked with the top of the ninth to get some work after several days off and put Oakland down in order, giving Houston one last chance to win the game. Robinson Chirinos worked a walk to lead off the bottom of the ninth before being pinch-run for by Myles Straw, who moved to second on a single by Yuli Gurriel. Unfortunately, though the Astros would get the tying run to third, they would be unable to beat Oakland, giving the A's the series win.
Up Next: Houston's remaining schedule lightens up after this series with Oakland. They'll start a three-game series with the Royals in Kansas City on Friday at 7:15 PM. The expected pitching matchup is Gerrit Cole (16-5, 2.73 ERA) on the mound for Houston going up against Danny Duffy (6-6, 4.71 ERA) for the Royals.
The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.