The Oakland A’s Matt Olson heads back to the Oakland dugout after striking out against the Houston Astros in the eighth inning as catcher Martin Maldonado sets up for the next hitter in game 4 of the 2020 ALDS at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles (AP News photo)
By Jerry Feitelberg
The Houston Astros ended the Oakland A’s season as they pounded the A’s pitchers to win 11-6. The Astros advance to the American League Championship series. The Astros, probably the most hated team in baseball due to the sign-stealing cheating scandal, wanted to prove that they are a top-tier team.
The Astros will be playing in the championship series for the fourth year in a row. They won the World Series in 2017 and lost the Series last year to the Washington Nationals. The Astros had a tumultuous year. They fired their General Manager, Jeff Luhnow, and their field manager, A.J. Hinch.
They hired Dusty Baker to help gain the team a modicum of respectability. Dusty became the first manager in baseball history to lead five teams into the postseason.
A’s manager, Bob Melvin, selected righty Frankie Montas to start for the Green and Gold. Montas did well for the first three innings. He allowed just three hits. The A’s offense put three runs on the board in the second inning. Former Astro, Ramon Laureano, who was five-for-nine lifetime against Zack Greinke, homered with two men on to give Oakland an early lead.
Things went south for Montas in the bottom of the fourth. Jose Altuve, leading off for Houston, walked. DH Michael Brantley homered into the right-field seats to make it 3-2. Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker singled that put two men on with no out. Montas retired Yuli Guriel for the first out. Guriel was the last batter Montas would face.
The A’s inched closer when Laureano homered off Zack Greinke for the second time to make it 5-4 midway through the fifth.
The Astros onslaught continued in the bottom of the fifth. J.B.Wendelken was now pitching for Oakland. Michael Brantley, who homered in the fourth, took Wendelken deep leading off the fifth.
The pitch was up in the strike zone, and Brantley did not miss it. The Astros scored again when Bregman walked. Tucker singled, sending Bregman to third. Correa singled to drive in Bregman with Houston’s seventh run.
The Astros added two more in the sixth and two more in the seventh to take an 11-4 lead. Jose Altuve’s two-run homer sealed Oakland’s fate.
The A’s didn’t quit. They threatened in the eighth. They put two men on with two out. The threat ended when Marcus Semien’s blast to leftfield was caught at the wall for the third out. They scored two in the ninth, but it was too little, too late. The Astros win 11-6
Game Notes- The line score for Houston was 11-14-0
Oakland’s line was 6-11-1
None of the A’s starters managed to finish five innings of work. The A’s had two more home runs Thursday. They had 12 for the four games played.
The A’s are done for the 2020 season. They made the playoffs for the third year in a row. They were able to advance to the ALDS for the first time since the 2013 season. It was not a happy ending. The A’s will be back next season. One of the concerns will be signing Marcus Semien to a new contract. Semien is now a free agent.