Houston's offense struggled again

Astros drop third straight as Oakland gets walk-off to secure the series

Houston's offense managed just one run on Saturday as Oakland handed them another loss. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

With a loss to start this series to give them back-to-back losses, the Astros sought to turn the tide and get back in the win column and even up the series in Oakland on Saturday. After remaining scoreless much of the game, the A's would score the game's final two runs to win it.

Final Score: A's 2, Astros 1

Astros' Record: 91-64, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Andrew Chafin (2-3)

Losing Pitcher: Ryan Pressly (5-3)

Pitcher's duel in Oakland

Neither offense could crack the opposing starter for most of Saturday's middle game of the series. The teams had just one hit each through the first five innings, a leadoff double by Jose Altuve off of Sean Manaea to start the game in the first, and a one-out single by Elvis Andrus off of Framber Valdez in the bottom of the third. Valdez would issue a few walks along the way and allowed another hit in the sixth but would keep things under control as the game remained scoreless.

Teams trade runs in the seventh

Kyle Tucker would provide Valdez with a run of support in the top of the seventh, getting a solo homer to score the first run of the day and putting Houston in front 1-0 against Manaea. Houston's starter came back out for the seventh, but after a one-out single and two-out hit-by-pitch, he would get lifted as Dusty Baker would bring in Kendall Graveman to try and protect the one-run lead. A bloop single to Graveman's first batter would tie the game and charge a run to Valdez to blemish his final line: 6.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 3 K, 95 P.

Astros get walked off to drop third straight

After Houston's offense went down 1-2-3 in the top of the eighth, Graveman returned to the mound in the bottom half. He had an up-and-down inning, loading the bases on a leadoff walk, one-out single, followed by a walk, but escaped with a strikeout and groundout to end the inning and keep the game tied 1-1.

In what feels like a common occurrence of late, Ryan Pressly was on the mound in the bottom of the ninth, looking to force extra innings. He wouldn't get it done this time, allowing a leadoff single, which would score on a walk-off double to hand the Astros their third straight loss and allow Oakland to lock up the series victory.

Up Next: The finale of this three-game set in Oakland, and Houston's last road game of the 2021 regular season, will start at 3:07 PM Central on Sunday. Paul Blackburn (1-3, 5.17 ERA) is set to start for Oakland, while Jake Odorizzi (6-7, 4.22 ERA) will make his return from the IL.

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Boston's two grand slams in the first two innings were too much for Houston to overcome in ALCS Game 2. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

After a win in ALCS Game 1 that had the prototypical fingerprints of this Astros team all over it, Houston returned to Minute Maid Park on Saturday, hoping to take a dominant 2-0 series lead if they could grab another victory. The Red Sox dashed those hopes very early, though, scoring eight runs across the first two innings to build the lead they would hold on to even the series.

Final Score: Boston 9, Astros 5

ALCS Series (Best of Seven): tied 1-1

Winning Pitcher: Nathan Eovaldi

Losing Pitcher: Luis Garcia

Houston met with disaster to start Game 2

You couldn't have drawn up a much better start for the Red Sox or a worse one for the Astros in Saturday's ALCS Game 2. Luis Garcia met early disaster in the top of the first inning, allowing a leadoff double, then got two outs while issuing two walks to load the bases. That brought up Boston's designated hitter, J.D. Martinez, to the plate, and he delivered a crushing blow to Houston, launching a grand slam to put the Red Sox up 4-0 before Houston could even get to the plate.

After a scoreless bottom of the inning by his offense, things got worse for Garcia in the top of the second, as after issuing a four-pitch walk to start the frame, he would become the center of a meeting at the mound with trainers, ultimately leaving the game with an injury. Houston opted to bring in Jake Odorizzi for the emergency call to the bullpen, but things did not start well for him either. He would put two of his own batters on base with two singles, then gave up the second grand slam in as many innings, this one to Rafael Devers to double Boston's lead to 8-0, doubling down on Houston's disastrous start to the game.

Odorizzi rebounded with a 1-2-3 third, but with one out in the top of the fourth allowed a solo homer to Kiké Hernández, his third homer of the series so far. He would still get the job done of eating up a few innings, finishing the fourth, and retiring Boston in order in the fifth, giving Houston just four more innings to cover with the rest of their relievers.

Astros get a few runs back

Over that span, Houston did trim the lead by three runs, getting an RBI double by Kyle Tucker and a two-RBI single by Yuli Gurriel in the bottom of the fourth, making it a six-run game at 9-3. Their next reliever was Blake Taylor in the top of the sixth, and he would keep the score where it stood by sitting down the three batters he faced that frame.

The Astros threatened again in the bottom of the sixth, getting two singles to put two aboard, but would come out empty, sending the game on to the seventh, where Taylor would remain on the mound. He faced three more batters, getting two out while allowing a single before Yimi Garcia would come in to get the third out.

Red Sox even the series as it shifts to Boston

Garcia returned in the top of the eighth, getting through that inning despite a walk and hit by pitch, stranding both runners. Boston's bullpen kept Houston from getting any closer in the bottom of the eighth, then Ryne Stanek came in for the Astros in the top of the ninth. Stanek allowed a leadoff double, but with a groundout and double play, held the score at 9-3. Yuli Gurriel and Jason Castro did their part to keep the Astros alive in the bottom of the ninth, each hitting solo homers to make it 9-5, but that's as close as they'd come, dropping Game 2 to tie the series at one game apiece.

Up Next: The ALCS now moves to Boston for the next three games after a day off on Sunday, with Game 3 on Monday at 7:08 PM Central. While the Astros have named Jose Urquidy as their starter, the Red Sox have not yet determined theirs.

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