Oakland A’s starter Cole Irvine throws against the Houston Astros line up in the first inning at Minute Maid Field in Houston on Thu Apr 8, 2021 (AP News photo)
By Jerry Feitelberg
The Oakland A’s lost again for the seventh time in the first eight games of the season. The Astros beat them 6-2 Thursday night at Minute Maid Park. The A’s offense has been non-existent so far this year, and it did not produce until late in the game.
The Astros’ pitchers held the A’s scoreless for eight innings and allowed them just three hits. They plated two runs in the ninth, but it was too little, too late. The Astros continued to pummel Oakland pitching as they bashed three dingers in the game. The A’s have not been able to find a way to stop the Astros’ relentless offense. The recap of the game follows below.
The Astros grabbed an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning. Houston’s All-Star shortstop Carlos Correa hit a lazy fly ball to right field that barely made it over the fence for the score. The only other park in the American League where that would have been a home run is New York’s Yankee Stadium which is just 314 feet from home plate.
The Astros put another run on the board in the fourth. With one out, Astros’ DH Yordan Alvarez doubled to left-centerfield. Carlos Correa followed with a double to left to drive in Alvarez. Correa’s second RBI of the game gave the Astros a 2-0 lead after four complete.
The A’s threatened in the top of the fifth. With one out, Elvis Andrus doubled to left field. Andrus tagged on Tony Kemp’s fly to right field. Mark Canha walked to put men on at first and third. Astros’ pitcher Christian Javier struck out Matt Olson looking. The Astros still lead 2-0 halfway through the fifth.
Houston plated three runs in the sixth. With one out, Yordan Alvarez did his best Willie McCovey impersonation as he blasted a solo home run into the second deck of Minute Maid Park. Irvin walked the next batter, Carlos Correa. A’s manager Bob Melvin brought in J.B. Wendelken to pitch.
Wendelken retired Yuli Guriel for the second out. Astros’ right fielder, Kyle Tucker, doubled down the left-field line to send Correa to third. Myles Straw singled to right to drive in Correa and Tucker. The Astros increased their advantage to 5-0 after six.
The Astros extended the lead to 6-0 in the seventh when Jose Altuve homered off A’s reliever Deolis Guerra. Guerra was called up to fill a vacancy in the bullpen.
The A’s put two runs on the board in the top of the ninth. It was too little, too late. Aramis Garcia, pinch-hitting for Mitch Moreland, singled to start the rally. He scored the A’s first run when Stephen Piscotty doubled. Jed Lowrie, pinch-hitting for Tony Kemp, singled to drive in Piscotty with the A’s second run. The A’s could do more. The Astros win 6-2.
Game Notes- With the loss, the A’s are 1-7 for the season. The Astros are 6-1. Five of the Astros wins have come at the expense of the A’s
Houston’s hitting stars were Carlos Correa with a home run and two RBIs and Yordan Alvarez with a monster dinger and a double.
The A’s received bad news about the closer, Trevor Rosenthal. Rosenthal had Thoracic Outlet surgery Thursday to remove an impingement in his shoulder. He will be re-evaluated in eight weeks and is expected to miss about four months of the season. The A’s also announced that lefty A.J.Puk has gone on the ten-day IL with a shoulder issue. The A’s recalled Deolis Guerra to take his spot in the bullpen.
The A’s meet the Astros Friday night at Minute Maid Park in Houston. Lefty Sean Manaea will start for Oakland, and righty Lance McCullers will go for Houston. The game will start at 5:10 pm.