By Emily Zahner
Welcome to September baseball in Oakland, where unlikely players step up and prove they belong as the Oakland Athletics (83-60) push forward to the post season. In the finale of season series, the A’s defeated the Houston Astros (47-96) by a score of 7-2. Oakland took the season series 15-4, as the Astros stood no chance after in the beginning of the season the A’s had gone 10-0 against their new division rivals.
Bartolo Colon was on the mound for the A’s this afternoon, and looked like he didn’t have his best stuff. On first pitch, Colon instantly struggled, giving up a leadoff single, followed by an RBI double. Before Colon had thrown five pitches, the A’s were already down 1-0. He regained composure and quickly settled down after the initial shock and fanned the next two batters and got the final out on a ground out. Colon went on to have a great outing, pitching six innings and surrendering five hits and just one earned run with seven strike outs. Manager Bob Melvin was pleased, praising his starter saying “I thought he was really good. After the first two hitters, that got his attention in a hurry. He ramped it up, had really good movement, good location today. A lot of good things came out of Bartolo’s outing today.” Colon improves to 15-6 with his win today.
Rookie RHP Paul Clemens was scheduled to start today for Houston, but was scratched at the last minute due to a blister, so the Astros called upon relief pitcher Lucas Harrell to take the mound. Harrell sailed through the first two innings, surrendering one hit and one walk, but he fell apart at the seams when the third rolled around. Stephen Vogt was the first and last batter of the inning as the A’s batted around and scored seven runs. Brandon Moss had a huge two out two-run double, Yoenis Cespedes and Daric Barton each added runs with RBI singles, and then Seth Smith capped it off by crushing a huge 3-run homerun into the right field bleachers. Smith would be pinch hit for his next at bat, but the skipper was pleased, “That was big for Smitty, it was a key blow in the game”.
Things seemed to be clicking for the A’s lineup today as they tallied 11 hits total. In the 7th spot, Daric Barton went 2-2 with two walks, an RBI and a run scored, highlighted by his two-out RBI single in the big third. Cespedes was swinging the bat well today as well, going 2-4 with a run scored. Melvin gave a lot of credit to his left fielder, saying “we have better energy when he is swinging the bat… he’s as important as everybody knows to us. If this is the time when he’s heating up, it’s certainly a good time for it.”
The A’s close out their second to last homestand going 8-2, a record they will gladly take. Melvin recounted, “It started out good and ended up good. We’ll take it”.
Oakland has an off day tomorrow before beginning a 6-game road trip, starting with a 3-game series against the Twins on Tuesday, a team they have yet to face this year. After Minnesota, the A’s travel to Arlington for an all too important 3-game series against their division rivals Texas Rangers, who defeated the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim today by a score of 4-3. The A’s now hold a 1.5 game lead on the Rangers.
Game Notes—Brandon Moss went 3-for-4 this afternoon with two singles, a double, and two RBIs. The A’s top three hitters, (Coco Crisp, Eric Sogard, Jed Lowrie) combined for 1-14 today with two strike outs. Brett Anderson got the save, pitching three innings and surrendering three hits and one earned run. Anderson struck out three.