McHugh Hold’s A’s to 3 Hits, Astros Beat Oakland 3-2

Photo credit: @astros

By Matt Harrington

The Oakland A’s fell to the Houston Astros 3-2 on the road Friday in a pitcher’s duel between Frankie Montas and Collin McHugh. Carlos Correa hit his first longball of the season and Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve knocked in runs for the 2017 World Champions. Ramon Laureano knocked in a pair of runs to continue a torrid 2019.

Montas wasn’t particularly sharp, allowing seven hits over hit innings, but he stymied a potent Houston lineup to just the two earned runs. Alex Bregman singled a run home in the bottom of the third for a 1-0 lead, then Correa’s big fly gave Houston a 2-1 lead an inning later after Laureano’s run-scoring single in the top of the frame.

Laureano accounted for two of the three hits off Houston Starter Collin McHugh. McHugh went six, allowing the one run while working around three walks with four punchouts. His pen was particular stellar, going three innings with just the one run allowed by Roberto Osuna in the ninth inning.

The run, a second Laureano RBI single, would cut the gap for the A’s, but Houston took a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the seventh after Jose Altuve doubled off JB Wendelken to knock in George Springer.

The Astros send free-agent acquisition Wade Miley to the mound Saturday in his second starting in the year after losing his first appearance. Aaron Brooks makes his second start of the season for the Green and Gold after baffling the current world champ Red Sox to no runs on six innings and two hits.

Oakland A’s Tuesday game wrap: The Astros beat the A’s again 3-1

by Jerry Feitelberg

AP photo: Kendall Graveman Oakland A’s pitcher in the seventh inning gives up a home run to Evan Gattis of the Houston Astros on Tuesday night at Minute Maid Field

Houston- The Astros took the second game of the three-game set 3-1 Tuesday night in Houston. The victory meant the Astros would win the series, and they go for the sweep Wednesday afternoon. The Astro’s starter Collin McHugh pitched six scoreless innings and allowed the A’s just four hits. The A’s Kendall Graveman also pitched well but not well enough to win. Graveman went seven innings and allowed three runs on four hits. Unfortunately, two of those hits were solo home runs.

Colby Rasmus hit a solo homer in the second to give the Astros the lead 1-0.  It was Rasmus’ first plate appearance since he came off the DL. Houston scored a single run in the third on a RBI single by Alex Bregman. Evan Gattis unloaded his twenty-second of the year in the seventh to extend the lead to 3-0. The A’s scored an unearned run in the top of the eighth but it wasn’t quite enough to catch the Astros and they fall to Houston 3-1.

Game Notes- With the loss, Graveman’s record fall to 10-9. He leads the A’s staff with ten wins.  “We just didn’t do enough offensively to give [Graveman] support,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “We’ll take that stuff every night.”

“Those are the games where you save two runs there, make a couple better pitches and then you’re 1-1, so they did a good job of neutralizing our offense, and you get that feeling where you need to keep it where it’s at, but to go out and eat some innings was good,” Graveman said. “But I still feel like there’s work to be done.”

The Astros have now won nine of the last eleven games played, and they find themselves in the thick of the race for either the first or second Wild Card slot. The Red Sox are currently in the first slot. They lead the Orioles by two games. The Orioles lead the Tigers by one, and the Royals and Astros are also two back of Baltimore.

The A’s meet the Astros again Wednesday for the final game of the series. Game time will be at 11:10 am PT. Lefty Ross Detwiler(1-3) will make his fifth start as an Athletic, and Mike Fiers(9-6) will throw for Houston.

In other news, there are reports that the A’s have traded Coco Crisp to the Cleveland Indians. Coco was not in the lineup Tuesday night, and he cleaned out his locker and left the park before the start of the game. The formal announcement will be made Wednesday after approval of the trade by Major League Baseball.

Astros stop the Athletics 5-1

Collin McHugh congratulated by his Houston teammates Photo credit: Mayra Beltran/Houston Chronicle
Collin McHugh congratulated by his Houston teammates Photo credit: Mayra Beltran/Houston Chronicle

By Charlie O. Mallonee

The great baseball adage is that “good pitching beats good hitting”. That was true on Sunday afternoon in Houston as the Astros beat the Athletics 5-1. Houston starter Collin McHugh established control of the game and guided his team to the victory in the fourth and final game of the four-game series.

McHugh pitched 8.2 innings giving up just one-run on two-hits. The A’s only run was scored in the top of the ninth inning with two outs. McHugh struck out seven and walked just three batters. His ERA is now an impressive 0.59 as McHugh improved to 2-0 in two starts this season for the Astros.

McHugh started the season with a career record of 0-8 in the Major Leagues. He was 0-4 in 2013. McHugh won his first start versus Seattle pitching 6.2 scoreless innings while striking out 12. His performance on Sunday makes a strong statement that 2014 is going to be a different kind of season for 27-year old right-hander.

McHugh was helped to victory with good run support by the Astros. Houston scored five-runs on seven-hits. The middle-infielders led the way on offense. Second baseman Jose Altuve went two for four including one homerun, two RBI and one run scored. Shortstop Jonathan Villar went two for three including a double and a triple. Villar posted two RBI and two runs scored.

The A’s only score came in the top the ninth inning. With two out, Brandon Moss was hit by pitch. The home plate umpire did not call the hit by pitch and A’s manager Bob Melvin challenged the call. Replay clearly showed the ball hitting Moss’ left foot. With Alberto Callaspo hitting, Moss stole second base. Callaspo singled to center allowing Moss to score.

Oakland’s only other base hit came in the top of the first inning when Jed Lowrie singled to right field.

A’s starter Tommy Milone gave up four-runs (all earned) on five-hits while striking out two and walking two in 6.2 innings of work. Dan Otero worked one-third of an inning and gave up one run. Jim Johnson worked one scoreless inning of relief.

The loss dropped the A’s record to 15-10 for the season and their road record to 9-4. Oakland leaves Houston with a 2-2 split in the four-game series.

The A’s left after the game for Dallas-Ft. Worth to play a three-game series with the Texas Rangers. Game one of the series on Monday night may prove to be a pitching duel as Oakland sends Sonny Gray (3-1, 2.25) to the mound to face-off with Yu Darvish (1-0, 1.61).