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).

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Martin Truex Jr. won his 2nd race of the season last week. Photo via: Wiki Commons.

NASCAR returns to the Commonwealth of Virginia for the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway. This is the first of two races here at this track as they will race on Sunday afternoon. This will be different from the normal night race they usually have here as this will definitely affect the racing surface considering how much the sun could make the track slick. It should be a fun race come Sunday.

Last week, Martin Truex Jr. passed Denny Hamlin to capture his second win of the season after rain moved the race to Sunday. He became the first driver to win multiple races after a fierce battle with his teammate Denny Hamlin. The race was filled with tons of wrecks including a fifteen car pileup including Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch. It was one of the better races of the season as there was lots of beating and banging.

The race was not without controversy but not the kind you would expect. Early in the race Rick Ware Racing teammates Cody Ware and James Davison were involved in an altercation. The two were battling towards the back of the pack when Ware decided to drive through his teammate in turn four. The race got much worse for Cody Ware as he was involved in three more cautions all throughout the race. Many people around the sport were quite perturbed by his antics including broadcaster Mike Joy as he was audibly annoyed after Ware spun out later in the race. Many have questioned if the fifth-year driver should even be in the car and overall I can understand why some of those people think that. In his five years of driving, he has finished on the lead lap one time. I hope that he is able to figure it out and find success in the future, but this was not a good look.

The slump continues for two-time champion Kyle Busch

Throughout the race, Busch was running okay for the most part but towards the closing laps of the race he and Chris Buescher got together triggering a fifteen car pileup. Despite all this, he was able to rebound to a respectable tenth place finish. This has been more than likely the toughest stretch of his career since his championship in 2019. Many would say that the omission of Practice and Qualifying has really affected his performance. Whatever the issue is, this team really needs to find some speed, or he could be in danger of missing the playoffs. I look for this team to bounce back considering how talented he is.

Prediction

The driver that I have winning this week is Kyle Larson. This has been an incredible rebound season for Larson as he currently sits fourth in points. He is also second in laps led only to Denny Hamlin. Richmond has been a great track for him as it fits his driving style perfectly as he can run the outside line and find grip where others can't. This track is also rather sentimental to him considering he won his first pole award here during his rookie season in 2014. While he may not have the results he would want he has always been extremely fast here and even won back in 2017. I look for him to capture his second victory of 2021 come Sunday.

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