Photo credit: @Athletics
By Jerry Feitelberg
OAKLAND — On a very warm night at the Oakland Coliseum, the A’s and the visiting Houston Astros put a display of home run power never seen here.
For the first time in the history of the Coliseum, the teams hit a total of 10 home runs. Each side hit five. Four players hit two home runs, and that was the first time that was done since 1908. With the absence of the usual marine layer, the ball was flying out of the park. The Astros had nine players in the lineup with more than 10 homers. The A’s had six. The Astros came into the game with a record of 9-2 against the A’s, but the A’s prevailed 7-6.
The Astros put two on the board in the top of the fourth inning. A’s starter Mike Fiers had been cruising along. He walked the first batter of the game. He got Jose Altuve to ground into a 6-4-3 double play. Fiers retired the next nine hitters in order until Michael Brantly singled with two out in the top of the fourth. Astros third baseman Alex Bregman blasted his 29th homer of the year over the wall near the left-field foul pole to give the Astros a 2-0 lead.
The A’s responded with four in the bottom of the fourth. Robbie Grossman led off with a double to center-field. Matt Chapman reached on a fielder’s choice. He hit a come-backer to Astros hurler Aaron Sanchez. Sanchez chose to throw to second in the hopes of nailing Grossman. Robbie slid in safely, and the A’s had two on with no out. Sanchez then had to face the left-handed hitter, Matt Olson. Olson hit his 23rd bomb of the year that went into the seats just over the 362-foot marker in left-field. Sanchez retired the next two hitters. A’s second baseman Corban Joseph, playing his second game since being called up from Triple-A Las Vegas, hit his first of the year. The ball cleared the 400-foot marker in center-field. The A’s led 4-2 after four.
In the top of the fifth, Astros shortstop Carlos Correa led off with his 18th big fly of the year to make it 4-3. Yuli Guriel followed with a single, but Fiers settled down and got the next three outs.
The Astros tied the game in the top of the sixth. With one out, Michael Brantley, who is second in hitting in the AL with a .328 batting average, blasted his 17th of the year. It was the Astros’ third round-tripper of the game. The A’s regained the lead in their half of the sixth. The Matts — Chapman and Olson — hit back-to-back blasts. Chapman’s went into the seats in left-field, and Olson’s disappeared into the second deck in right-field. It was Chapman’s 28th of the year and Olson, with two homers, has 25. The A’s led 6-4. Fiers is out to pitch the seventh inning.
Carlos Correa led off the seventh with his second homer of the game. A’s manager Bob Melvin removed Fiers from the game and replace him with Yusmeiro Petit. Yet, the Astros still trailed the A’s 6-5. Petit walked Yuli Guriel, but retired the next three hitters to end the inning.
The Astros tied the game in the top of the eighth when Michel Brantley hit a solo homer off Blake Treinen. It was Brantley’s third hit of the game and second home run. The score was knotted at six heading into the bottom of the eighth. The game didn’t stay tied for long. Chapman led off with a blast the went into the second deck in left-field. It was Chapman’s second of the game, and it was the second day in a row that he had two homers in a game. So far, there have been 10 home runs in the game. Each team has hit five. The A’s led 7-6 after eight.
The A’s brought in their closer Liam Hendriks to pitch the ninth. Hendriks set the hard-hitting Astros down to secure the win for the A’s. The A’s won by a final of 7-6.
Game Notes: With the win, the A’s recorded their 9000th win since they started playing baseball in 1901. The A’s improved to 69-52 and picked up 1/2 game on the idle Tampa Bay Rays. The A’s trail the Rays by 1 1/2 games in the race for the second Wild Card.
The A’s beat the Astros for the third time this year. The Astros had a record of 9-2 against the A’s before the start of play Thursday night.
A’s starter Mike Fiers went six innings and allowed six runs and six hits. The Astros took him deep four times. Houston starter, Aaron Sanchez went 5 1/3 innings and gave up six runs and seven hits. He, too, was tagged for four bombs. Matt Chapman was 3-for-4,
Lefty Jake Diekman, who worked 1/3 of an inning was the winning pitcher. Chris Devenski took the loss for Houston. The Astros are now 78-44 for the year and have the second-best record in the AL.
The A’s line score was seven runs, eight hits, and no errors. The Astros’ line was six runs, seven hits, and no errors.
Time of game was two hours and 35 minutes. 15,323 fans saw quite a game. It had drama. It had home runs, and it was a history-making game with the A’s 9000th win. Four players each hitting two home runs, and 10 home runs total in the game. It was quite a night.
Up Next: Game two of the four-game series will be played Friday night at the Coliseum. Tanner Roark will go for Oakland, and Houston will send their ace Justin Verlander to the mound. Game time is set for 7:07 p.m.