Houston is now 22-23 on the year

Astros drop finale to A's and once again have a losing record

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

With Oakland securing the series by winning three of the first four games of this five-game set, the Astros took the field Thursday afternoon in an attempt to salvage a game to grab a game back in the division standings. Here is a quick recap of the finale with the A's:

Final Score: A's 3, Astros 1.

Record: 22-23, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Sean Manaea (4-2, 4.46 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Jose Urquidy (0-1, 3.72 ERA).

One pitch changes Urquidy's day

The early innings of Thursday's game flew by, with the Astros swinging early and often against Sean Manaea, while Jose Urquidy was blanking the A's on the other side. After three perfect frames, Urquidy did not allow a baserunner until the fourth, but he would work around two walks that inning to keep Oakland off the board.

He allowed his first hit to lead off the bottom of the fifth, a double that he worked around by retiring the next three batters to send the scoreless game to the sixth. He returned for the sixth to try and get through another inning, getting two quick outs before a two-out walk. That would prove costly as Matt Olson would launch a two-run go-ahead home run in the next at-bat to give Oakland a 2-1 lead. He would get the final out of that inning, bringing an end to his day. His final line: 6.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 88 P.

Manaea limits Houston's bats

Meanwhile, Sean Manaea was handling the Astros relatively easily. After retiring the first fifteen Astros in order, Josh Reddick would finally give Houston their first baserunner in the top of the sixth with a leadoff double. He moved to third on a single, then scored on a double play, but that one run would be all the Astros could get against him as he would finish seven innings on just 61 pitches, allowing just the one run.

After Urquidy, Andre Scrubb came in to try and keep it a 2-1 game in the bottom of the seventh, but again a walk would cost Houston. Scrubb walked the leadoff batter, who stole second, then scored on an RBI-single to make it 3-1 Oakland. Scrubb would issue a two-out walk, prompting another move to the bullpen, this time for Brad Peacock. Peacock would walk his first batter, loading the bases, but would get the third out of the inning.

Astros drop below .500 again

Brandon Bielak would make an appearance in relief for the bottom of the eighth. He was able to work around a one-out single and two-out double to keep it a two-run game heading to the ninth. The 3-1 score would go final as Oakland's bullpen would keep the Astros off the board. The loss put an end to the five-game series where the Astros went 1-4 against the division-leading A's and pushed Houston back below .500 at 22-23. They have won just one time in their last nine games.

Up Next: The Astros will have one of their last two scheduled days off on Friday before starting a two-game series with the Dodgers in Los Angeles on Saturday. The first game will get underway at 7:07 PM Central on Saturday and features Framber Valdez (3-3, 3.61 ERA) pitching for the Astros against Tony Gonsolin (0-0, 0.76 ERA) for the Dodgers.

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The Astros are a force at home. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

PROBABLE STARTERS

Fri, Sept. 18 - ARI: Zac Gallen (1-2, 3.15) vs. HOU: Zack Greinke (3-2, 3.77)

Sat, Sept. 19 - ARI: Luke Weaver (1-7, 6.70) vs. HOU: Cristian Javier (4-2, 3.22)

Sun, Sept. 20 - ARI: Madison Bumgarner (0-4, 8.53) vs. HOU: Jose Urquidy (1-1, 2.70)

STORYLINES

Staying Hot at Home? The Astros are now 18-7 at home in 2020 after taking two of three from the Texas Rangers. Conversely, the Diamondbacks are 8-19 on the road. It's a perfect blend for the Astros to continue their winning ways at home and position themselves in a more ideal spot for the playoffs.

Staff Settling in: Greinke and Urquidy taking the bump in a three game series brings a sense of normalcy to the Astros rotation. The days of Brandon Bielak and Luis Garcia getting starts are in the past. McCullers looked fantastic in his outing against the Rangers, and Justin Verlander is close to returning. That is a staff capable of winning a World Series.

Sinking Ship: The Astros win over the Rangers Thursday night kept the Mariners three games back of the Astros with just 10 games left to play. The Astros also own the tiebreaker over Seattle, meaning Seattle really needs to make up four games to jump the Astros for a playoff spot. Of course, the Astros' series in Seattle starting Monday will play a big role in that.

PREDICTION

The Diamondbacks are reeling, and the Astros are a force at home. Zac Gallen presents some problems for a slumping offense, but the Astros break out against Weaver and Bumgarner to take two of three.

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