Houston is now 6-7

Astros drop third-straight as Oakland gets walk-off win in extras

Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Two teams at opposite ends of the momentum spectrum met on Friday night, with the Astros dropping the final two games in Arizona against the Diamondbacks to fall 2.5 games back in the division, and the A's on a six-game winning streak on top of the AL West. The first of three games this weekend went like this:

Final Score (13 innings): A's 3, Astros 2.

Record: 6-7, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: J.B. Wendelken (1-0, 0.00 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Cy Sneed (0-2, 7.50 ERA).

Houston scores first

After two scoreless innings on both sides, the Astros would get on the scoreboard first in the top of the third. Martin Maldonado was able to work a one-out walk, moved to second on a wild pitch, then scored on an RBI-double by Kyle Tucker to put Houston ahead 1-0.

Greinke looks dominant

Zack Greinke meanwhile was getting into a rhythm on the mound. He allowed just three hits over the first scoreless inning before facing his first big test in the bottom of the fifth. After a hit-by-pitch with one out, he would allow a single then walk the bases loaded. He would follow that by getting a timely groundball to set up an inning-ending double play.

In the next inning, what likely should have been a leadoff single turned into a triple as Myles Straw would slip while fielding the ball in shallow center field, allowing the ball to go back to the wall. Greinke would work around it, though, and strand the runner by retiring the next three Oakland batters in order. His final line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 0 HR.

A's tie it up as game goes to extras, Oakland comes away with the win

Recently moved back to the bullpen after two short, disappointing starts, Josh James would take over on the mound for Greinke in the bottom of the seventh. He would allow a one-out solo home run to tie the game and take Greinke out of winning position. James would go on to complete the inning before Andre Scrubb would enter for the bottom of the eighth and work around a one-out walk for a scoreless inning to send the 1-1 game to the ninth. After stranding a runner in the top of the ninth, Houston sent Ryan Pressly out to attempt to reverse the outcome of Thursday night where he allowed the walk-off to the Diamondbacks. He would get it done, retiring the A's in order to send the game to extra innings.

Myles Straw was on second to start the top of the tenth and was bunted over to third by Martin Maldonado. Instead of getting a sac fly to bring Straw in, a strikeout would bring Jose Altuve to the plate with two outs, who would groundout on an excellent defensive play by Matt Chapman to keep it tied. In the bottom half of the inning, Enoli Paredes would be next out of Houston's bullpen, and after the A's deployed the same strategy of bunting the runner over, would be retired by two big strikeouts by Paredes to extend the game another frame.

In the top of the eleventh, Altuve would start on second base but was unable to advance as Houston would only manage a walk. Paredes would look to provide one more scoreless inning in the bottom half, and despite facing the bases loaded with two outs, was able to extend the game again. Carlos Correa started the twelfth on second and moved to third on an infield single by Josh Reddick to put runners on the corners with no outs. They would waste the opportunity, with the next three batters unable to score the go-ahead run. Humberto Castellanos would pitch the bottom of the twelfth, and he too would come away with a scoreless inning.

On to the thirteenth inning, they went. Jose Altuve would move the runner to third with a sac fly, then Alex Bregman would finally get a run on the board with an RBI-double to put Houston ahead 2-1. In the bottom half, Cy Sneed would take over on the mound as Oakland hit a sac fly to move their runner to third. Sneed would get a strikeout for the second out but then allowed the tying RBI. Oakland would then get the walk-off hit against Sneed, handing Houston their third-straight loss.

Up Next: The middle game of this series will get started at 3:10 PM on Saturday. After an impressive 6.1 inning appearance out of the bullpen on Sunday against the Angels, Framber Valdez (0-1, 2.53 ERA) will take the mound for the Astros. Oakland will look to Frankie Montas (1-1, 2.25 ERA).

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

4th and a mile with Paul Muth

5 questions on the John Wall trade

The Rockets made a big move. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images.

The Houston Rockets point guard carousel continued to spin Wednesday night, as the Woj bomb-iest of Houston-related Woj bombs erupted in the Space City:

For the third year in a row, the Rockets will begin the season with a new point guard, in an attempt to finally find someone that can play alongside James Harden. Let's take a look at how the Rockets got to this point, and what it means moving forward.

What led to the trade?

Russell Westbrook simply wanted out. Westbrook is the type of player that needs to be the number one ball handler and that simply wasn't ever going to happen on a James Harden led team. Other reports cited Westbrook's frustration with the lack of accountability and casual atmosphere within the locker room. Ultimately if anyone was going to be moved between Harden and Westbrook, it was always going to be Westbrook.

Why John Wall?

This one is another fairly straightforward answer: they both have relatively similar contracts. Each is making an absurdly overpriced $40 million this season, and both were disgruntled with their current team. Rockets General Manager Rafael Stone and Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard tossed the idea around a few weeks ago, but couldn't find a deal they liked. It was reported that discussions resumed Wednesday afternoon and within a few hours the deal was done in an almost one-for-one swap.

How does Wall fit?

This is a little more complicated because it's not exactly known what head coach Stephen Silas' game plan is. It's also difficult to predict whether or not Harden will still be on the roster when the season starts. But let's assume that Harden takes the court for the Rockets and that Silas' system resembles something similar to what we've seen in Houston for the past few years. In that case, Wall would be a slight upgrade to Westbrook. Westbrook is more athletic than Wall, but when healthy Wall was no slouch. In addition he's a much better defensive player and has much better court vision than Westbrook. Westbrook's assists were usually a bailout after attacking the lane with his head down, while Wall is more likely to set up a teammate.

This isn't to say that Wall doesn't need the ball though. He's fairly ball dominant, but not nearly as much as Westbrook. Harden proved last season that he's capable of effectively playing off the ball if necessary, so it seems like a better fit from a distribution rate alone. If they can find that sweet spot like they did with Chris Paul and stagger the lineups so that each star gets their own time to create, there's potential for an improved Rockets team more reminiscent of their 2018 run than the past two years.

What are the best and worst case scenarios?

The worst case is that the Rockets were sold a lemon. Wall has potential to be an upgrade, but comes with huge risk. He last took the court in 2018, where he was sidelined with a knee injury. He subsequently ruptured his Achilles in an accident at his home while recovering from the knee injury, forcing Wall off the court for almost two years. It's possible an extremely unfortunate Wall reinjures something and completely derails the machinations of the trade. Even if he's recovered fully, it will take time to get him up to game speed which could frustrate Harden on a team that can't afford a slow start in their stacked conference. Harden has managed to cultivate drama with just about every co-star he's played with, so there's no reason to assume this attempt would go any better.

The best case scenario is that Wall arrives ready to play team basketball and resembles the better part of his pre-injury form. Wall and Harden buy into Silas' new system, space the floor, and take turns carving up the lane with dribble drives and kick outs to players who can actually hit from distance. This version of the Rockets could potentially be a 3-seed in this year's Western Conference.

Who won the trade?

At the moment the Rockets. Not only did they remove at least one of their locker room distractions, but they also gain a first round pick. If Wall can stay healthy and Silas can keep both stars happy, this team should be a lot more fun to watch than last season's clunker.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome