Oakland A’s podcast with Barbara Mason: A’s showing signs of snapping out of it; Had day off on Sunday

Oakland A’s hitter Jed Lowrie singles for two RBIs in the seventh inning at Minute Maid Field in Houston against the Astros on Sat Apr 10, 2021 (AP News photo)

#1 The Oakland A’s started the 2021 season going 0-6 but once that streak ended the A’s have now won three of the their last four games. Including two wins in Houston against the AL Champion Astros.

#2 The A’s got a big 7-3 win over the Astros on Saturday that included a two run home run from Ramon Laureano for his first home run of the season.

#3 The A’s run production came up with two runs in the fourth, fifth and seventh innings something they lacked in those first six games and stayed ahead for the series win.

#4 The A’s got pitching help from starter Frankie Montas going six innings giving up six hits and one run, reliever Sergio Romo threw for two thirds of an inning giving up one hit and two runs. A’s relievers Jake Diekman and JB Wendelken shutout the Astros for the rest of way.

#5 The A’s open a brief two game series in Arizona against the Diamondbacks who have lost six out of their last ten games. The D-Backs are in dead last at 3-6 but the season is still early. The A’s will start Chris Bassitt whose looking for his first win of the season (0-2 ERA 5.56) the Diamondbacks will counter with Madison Bumgarner (0-1 ERA 11.00) since coming to the Diamondbacks he’s struggles and in his last outing he surrendered five runs on eight hits to the Rockies.

Join Barbara for the A’s podcasts each Monday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Oakland A’s podcast with Barbara Mason Mon Apr 12, 2021 by Sports Radio Service | Free Listening on SoundCloud

Oakland Takes Series From the Astros 7-3

Oakland A’s hitter Ramon Laureano (right) is greeted at the plate by teammate Mark Canha (left) after hitting a two run homer in the fifth inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park in Houston on Sat Apr 10, 2021 (AP News photo)

By Barbara Mason

After yesterday’s game against the Houston Astros, the Oakland A’s reclaimed the form that we have grown to expect. The form that has taken them into the post-season for quite a few years now. Beating the Astros 6-2 was a real boost for the A’s and also gave them the opportunity to win the series should they win todays game.

Oakland certainly came out in this game full of confidence and once again it was the fourth inning when the A’s began to make some noice. Ramon Laureano and Jed Lowrie scored giving the A’s a 2-0 lead. The Astros would come up empty in the fourth inning and so trailed by the score of 2-0.

The fifth inning was also a good one for the A’s extending their lead to 4-0. Laureano homered scoring Mark Canha who was on base. Frankie Montas was having a great outing through seven innings. Pitching for the A’s was starting to turn around, something that we all knew was just a matter of time.

Oakland would strike again in the seventh inning. Lowrie would hit a single and Mark Canha and Ka’ai Tom would score and the A’s were looking at a 6-0 score in the middle of the seventh. The Astros would get on the scoreboard when Kyle Tucker homered to right giving Houston their first run of the game. Houston was not done scoring two more runs. Myles Straw and Jose Altuve crossed home plate and just like that the Astros were well within striking distance. You can never count the Astros out regardless of the score.

The eighth inning was a highlight for Oakland DH Seth Brown who hit his first homer of the season giving the A’s a 7-3 lead.

It was a quiet ninth inning as the Oakland A’s took the series from the Houston Astros. The Oakland A’s have their rhythm back and now we can all look forward to some high-powered Green and Gold baseball.

Oakland will have the day off on Sunday and will be back on the field on Monday against the Arizona Diamondbacks for a two game series. First pitch is at 6:40 PM.

Oakland Hits 3 Home Runs To Beat Houston 6-2

Oakland A’s hitter Matt Olson (right) celebrates with Mark Canha (left) after hitting a three home run in the eighth inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Field on Fri Apr 9, 2021 (AP News photo)

By Barbara Mason

Saturday evening the Oakland A’s took on the Houston Astros in Game two of their three game series. It has been a rough start for Oakland this year. They lost a four game series against the Astros to start the season. The A’s then went on to play the defending champs the Los Angeles Dodgers losing two out of three games. It was game seven for the A’s that broke the six game losing streak. They beat the Dodgers 4-3 in ten innings. This year has been their worst start for Oakland since 1916.

Now the A’s are once again tangling with the Houston Astros who seem to have their number. In Game 1, the Astros won handily 6-2 and now the A’s have to suffer through two more games against Houston. In game two loss against the Dodgers, the Oakland club looked far better than they had looked all season. They began hitting and their defense was solid. The bottom line is that this team is far better than they are currently showing. The A’s got a 6-2 win over the Astros on Friday night at Minute Maid Field.

A win over the Astros would be a real confidence builder, especially since the Astros have looked unbeatable. Their current record is 6-1 while the A’s have a 1-7 record. Houston is on a real roll and it will be tough to stop them.

At the end of five innings the game was tied 1-1. Both of the runs in the game were scored in the fourth inning. Jed Lowrie hit a 374 feet homer and Yuli Gurriel scored for the Astros.

The game remained quiet until the eighth inning when both Mark Canha and Jed Lowrie had hits and the A’s had a chance to break the tie. Oakland did exactly that when Matt Olson hit a 414 ft homer scoring three runs and taking the lead 4-1.

The A’s were not finished with the Astros. In the top of the ninth Mark Canha hit a two run homer scoring Elvis Andrus for a 6-1 lead.

This was a great game for the Oakland A’s with 3 homers, Lowrie, Olson and Canha each hit one looking like the team that we have seen for the past few years. It sure was a lot of fun seeing the A’s playing such great baseball. We had to wait a bit but it sure worth the wait. Game three of this series will be played Saturday with first pitch at 1:05.

A’s woes continue lose fifth straight time to the Astros 6-2

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.

Oakland A’s podcast with Jerry Feitelberg: A’s avoid homestand sweep; Open five game road trip tonight

The Houston Astros Myles Straw (3) reaches second base as the Oakland A’s shortstop Elvis Andrus (left) can’t make the catch on a throwing error by third baseman Matt Chapman (right) on Sun Arp 4, 2021 at the Oakland Coliseum (AP News photo)

#1 The Oakland A’s just got by the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday afternoon with a ten inning 4-3 win to close the three game series and homestand at the Oakland Coliseum.

#2 The A’s got runs in the bottom of the ninth to tie it up and got the game winner in the last of the tenth on Mitch Mooreland’s hit to center right scoring Mark Canha from second base it had to be a huge relief before heading out for the road trip.

#3 Jerry from the looks of things in the first two games of the Dodger series the Dodgers winning game one 10-3 and winning game two 5-1 there was this fear the A’s could go down 0-7 to open up their first regular week of the season but just got by the Dodgers on Wednesday 4-3 in extra innings.

#4 This is A’s team has the players to be better than a last place team, with Mooreland, Canha, Matt Chapman, Ramon Laureano, Sean Murphy, Yusmeiro Petit and Elvis Andrus it’s a good enough core of players to take the A’s to the post season.

#5 Jerry, let’s take a look at tonight’s starting pitchers at Minute Maid Field in Houston for the A’s Cole Irvin 0-1 ERA 8.31 who took a tough loss against the Astros allowing four runs and seven hits and for the Astros Cristian Javier who allowed two runs on three hits against the A’s on Friday night at the Coliseum.

Jerry Feitelberg does the A’s podcasts each Thursday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Oakland A’s podcast with Jerry Feitelberg Thu Apr 8, 2021 by Sports Radio Service | Free Listening on SoundCloud

A’s drop fifth straight game; Dodgers open up series with 10-3 win

It’s been that kind of a homestand for the Oakland A’s as the hot corner is too hot for A’s third baseman Matt Chapman who can’t handle a hard hit ball against the Los Angeles Dodgers at the Oakland Coliseum on Mon Apr 5, 2021 (AP News photo)

Los Angeles (NL). 10-14-1

Oakland. 3- 6 -1

By Lewis Rubman

OAKLAND–In every one of Oakland’s four season opening loses to Houston, there was at least one point at which the A’s could have either burst the game open in their favor or convert a seemingly commanding Astros lead into a tight match. In every case, the failure to capitalize on Houston’s momentary vulnerability turned the series into a festival of blown chances. Tonight, Oakland didn’t even come close.

In a sense, the A’s pitching staff is emblematic of the team’s inability to make the potential actual. A.J. Puk, Jesús Luzardo and Sean Manaea are young hurlers of tremendous talent, just short of unlocking the door to success. Tonight’s starter against the 3-1 Los Angeles Dodgers, Frankie Montás is another member of that group seeking to take the final step into the role of reliable top of the line starter.

He went 9-2, 2.63 in 2019, the last time MLB played a full season. MLB’s season lasted 162 games, but Montas’s didn’t; the was suspended for 80 days, June 21 to September 24, for drug use. He seemed ready to resume his progress last year, ready enough to be the A’s (delayed) opening day starter and be named the AL’s player of the week for August 3-9.

But he missed his next start because of back troubles and didn’t pitch well again until the final game of the regular (if you can say that about 2020) season. He won a wild card series game in relief and pitched well for three innings in the last game of the division series only to fall apart in the fourth frame to take the loss.

During this year’s spring training, he lost time to a stint on the covid list. As if that weren’t enough, Montás was forced to leave the last start of his abbreviated Cactus League season with a cuticle tear on the middle finger of his right, pitching, hand.

His performance tonight did nothing to advance his career. And the A’s anemic hitting did nothing to offset his disappointing mound work.

Dustin May, the starter for the NL West leading Dodgers , already seems to have established himself as a front line hurler. Promoted after 15 starts for AA Tulsa to AAA Oklahoma City, Los Angeles called him to the show in mid 2019. He went 3-1, 2.57 and threw 3-1/3 innings against the Nationals in the division series, yielding three hits and a run, for an ERA of 2. 70.

Last year, still technically a rookie, he was the Dodgers’ opening day starter. In that assignment, he gave up one run, this time in 4-1/3 frames. He went on to finish the season at 3-1, 2.57, with 16 walks against 44 strike outs. Among National League pitchers who went 50 or more innings, he ranked eighth in ERA, 13th in opponents’ BA (.222), and tied for 12th in WHIP at 1.09. He faced the A’s once, on September 22, and beat them.

His post seson record was more extensive than it had been a year earlier. He made three starts and four relief appearances, with combined totals of 1-0,4.22, and 13 punch outs. The Dodgers’ game notes report that he went 3-0 , 2.37, with 21 strikeouts and four walks in four starts and one relief stint in spring training this year. His four seamer was the fastest of any major league pitcher with 40 IP or more, an average of 99.1 mph.

Los Angeles jumped off to a fairly early and fairly significant lead in the top of the second. With one out, Max Muncy hit an opposite field single to left. Then Chris Taylor lifted a fly to medium left field that eluded a diving Tony Kemp, subbing for the ailing Chad Pinder. After a walk to Edwin Ríos loaded the bases, Zach McKinstry´s sac fly to left drove in the first run of the game.

Then, Matt Chapman couldn’t handle Mookie Betts’ hard smash down the third base line. That infield hit reloaded the bases, and Corey Singer unloaded them with a double off the centerfield wall, to the right of the STREAM YOUR A’S sign. The A’s now were down, 4-0.

Will Smith promptly made it 5-0 with his line drive that curved around the left field foul line on a 2-2 88 mph spliterfast with one down in the visitor’s third. Muncy followed that with a single to center, and then Montás plunked Taylor to put men on first and second. After another out, McKinstry´s single to right brought in Muncy with the Angelinos´ seventh run. A walk to Betts, and Montás was through for the night. AJ Puk relieved him, making his season debut.

Montás´s ugly line for 2-2/3 innings was seven runs, all earned, on seven hits, a home run, three walks, a wild pitch, and a hit batter He managed to strike out seven. Of his 90 pitches, 53 were strikes. His HBP of Taylor caused the Dodgers’ second baseman to leave the game.

Puk put out the fire in the third, but loaded the bases with two out in the fourth. He escaped unscathed thanks to second straight inning ending strkeout. When he left the game after closing out the LA sixth, his stint was your Á´s highlight for the night. In 3-1/3 innings, 35 of his 53 offerings counted as strikes.

He surrendered but one hit, but gave up three walks and a wild pitch, while striking out four. His replacement was left handed sidewinder Adam Kolarek, who gave up a run, earned, in his inning on the mound before giving way to Sergio Romo in the eighth.

May also finished up his work after the sixth. His performance had been superb. He surrendered two hits and two walks while striking out eight. His pitch count was 85, only 28 of which were balls.

Romo was tagged for a homer to center on his third pitch to Justin Taylor, the first man he faced. The A’s suffered an egregious lapse during Romo’s brief tenure. With Will Smith on first and one out, pinch hitter Matt Bealy, hit a grounder to shortstop Elvis Andrus, playing to the right of second. Andrus tried for the unassisted putout at second but bobbled the ball, leaving both batter and runner safe. Then, while none of the A’s seemed to be paying attention, Taylor advanced uncontestedly to third.

Canha saved a shred of the Athletics’ honor with a round tripper to left to lead off the bottom of the eighth off Mays’ replacement, David Price. That reduced LA’s lead to 9-1. The A’s racked up a couple of tallies more on a walk to Lowrie, a single to right by Piscotty, batting for Moreland, an infield hit by Chapman that plated Lowrie, and Ka’ai Tom’s first big league hit, an RBI single to center.

Reymin Gudjuan tried to mop up for the A’s. Both he and Cody Bellinger had to leave the game in the top of the night when they ran into each other while Bellinger was beating out a 3-1 infield single. By then the Dodgers had run the score up to 10-3. JB Wendelken was called on to try to get the last out of the inning and stop the carnage. He succeeded and, in doing so, lowered Gudjuan’s ERA to … 27.00.

Three hours and 35 minutes after the first pitch, Scott Alexander closed out the game, setting the A’s down in order.

Tomorrow’s game will start at 6:40. Clayton Kershaw (0-1, 7.94) is scheduled to face off against Chris Bassitt (0-1, 5.06).

Oakland A’s podcast with Barbara Mason: A’s hope to get back on track against Dodgers after rough Astros series

Oakland A’s second baseman Tony Kemp makes a throw to first in the third inning to retire the Houston Astros Carlos Correa in game 3 of the four game series on Sat Apr 3, 2021 at the Oakland Coliseum (AP News photo)

Barbara on the A’s podcast:

#1 Barbara for the Oakland A’s the series with the Houston Astros pure torture the A’s took four loses in the row on Thursday through Sunday.

#2 The Astros had their bats going all series long with Yordan Alvarez, Jose Altuve, and Alex Bergman A’s pitching looked like they just couldn’t figure a way to get them out.

#3 A’s pitchers who were hit during the Houston series, A’s opening day starter Chris Bassitt five plus innings three runs, Jesus Luzardo five innings five runs, and Cole Irvin four innings four runs, Sean Manaea on Sunday over four innings plus six hits and five earned runs .

#4 A’s manager Bob Melvin was asked if he would be interested in managing another team other than the A’s after this season and he said “I have no desire to go anywhere else”

#5 The A’s will try to win a series as they host the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers who opened up the season against the Colorado Rockies and both teams played pretty even ball. Do you see the A’s recovering and maybe having a more balanced series against the Dodgers after the mismatch series they just had against the Astros?

Join Barbara for the A’s podcasts each Monday morning at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Oakland A’s podcast with Barbara Mason Mon Apr 5, 2021 by Sports Radio Service | Free Listening on SoundCloud

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcast: Was Astros Dusty outsmarting the A’s in Houston series?

Houston Astros Jose Altuve is congratulated from manager Dusty Baker upon returning to the dugout in the fourth inning after scoring against the Oakland A’s on Thu Apr 1, 2021 at the Oakland Coliseum (AP News photo)

#1 The A’s had a pretty rough start in their first series of 2021 Dusty Baker and the Astros are a very methodical team

#2 There’s very little doubt that the Astros can produce runs as seen in these three games of the series.

#3 The A’s host the Dodgers on Monday after they had a three game series with the Colorado Rockies. The Dodgers have lots of punch in that line up with Mookie Betts, Corey Seager, Justin Turner, and Cody Bellinger.

#4 The A’s pitching staff over the three games against the Astros were in question pitcher Chris Bassitt was rocked for three earned runs in his start Thursday, Jesus Luzardo gave up five earned runs in his start on Friday, then on Saturday the A’s got rocked again by Astros hitting 9-1, the A’s got bombed again 9-2 on Sunday.

#5 The Dodgers Dustin May 0-0 a right hander will be throwing against the Oakland A’s Frankie Montas 0-0. May had a great spring beating out David Price and Tony Gonsolin for the 5th spot in the rotation. Montas lost his splitter last season and has gained it again for this season and is hoping to have a season like he did in 2019.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the Oakland A’s Spanish lead play by play announcer on flagship station 1010 KIQI LaGrande San Francisco and does News and Commentary Tuesdays at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

A’s Irvin can’t fool Astro hitting in 9-1 offensive barrage

Hit high the Houston Astros Yordan Alvarez says “good bye baseball” with a three run fourth inning home run against the Oakland A’s at the Oakland Coliseum on Sat Apr 3, 2021 (AP News photo)

Houston. 9. 13. 1

Oakland. 1. 3. 0

By Lewis Rubman

OAKLAND–The A’s came into this afternoon’s game still looking for their first win of the season. Slow starts are nothing new for this team; in eight of the last ten seasons, they have been 1-2 after three games. They tried today to join that not particularly prestigious club. (Spoiler alert: they didn’t) in a 9-1 shellacking to the Houston Astros on Saturday.

Last night’s contest threatened to become a prelude to disaster when Ramón Laureano had to leave the game after injuring his hand. It turned out to be merely a contusion, and the A’s centerfielder is listed as day to day.

Cole Irvin, Oakland’s starting pitcher, is a 27 year old lefty with a lifetime won-loss record of 2-2 and an equally unimpressive ERA of 6.75 for the Philadelphia Phillies, but his numbers for the A’s this spring were impressive: 1-1, ERA 1.00 over five games, three of which he started. He gave up ten hits in eighteen innings, surrendered only one home run, and struck out 18 opponents against three walks.

Irvin’s counterpart on the mound was the veteran right hander Lance McCullers, Jr. He brought with him a career record of 32-25, 3.70 against all comers and 5-2, 4.04 against the A’s. For 2020, those figures were 3-3, 3.93 and 5-2, 4.04, respectively.

It didn’t take long for Houston to get to Irvin. A hit batter, Michael Brantley, with one out, followed by Aledmys Díaz’s double off the left center field wall, and an RBI base knock by Kyle Tucker, and Oakland was trailing by a tally with runners at the corners. But Carlos Correa hit into an around the horn double play, and, just like that, Irvin had limited the damage.

McCullers got himsef in trouble in the bottom of the first and then, with a little help frome home plate umpire Dan Bellino, also escaped with minimal damage. Lead off walks to Mark Canha and Matt Olson, followed by a Matt Chapman strike out on a pair of wicked cutters after the count had reached 1-1, and Mitch Moreland´s RBI single to center evened the score with two on and none out. But Chad Pinder went down swinging, and Stephen Piscotty was called out on a 3-2 knuckle curve that seemed too many, including. me, to have missed the plate.

The Astros took the lead back in the second when Jose Altluve’s bases loaded two out single to left brought home Yordán Alvarez, who had opened the frame with a single to center. But, in spite of a walk to Yuri Gurriel and singles by Myles Straw and Altuve, Irvin wriggled out of the jam, striking out Martín Maldonado and Chas McCormiock, pinch hitting for Brantley, who left the game due to right wrist discomfort.

Irvin held the Astros in check until the fifth. He hit McCormick with a pitch and surrendered a single when Díaz´s line drive just barely eluded Chapman’s glove and landed in left for a single. Irvin got the left handed Tucker to pop out to short. This brought Correa to the plate, the righty-lefty match up, calling for a right handed hurler to face Houston’s shortstop.

Bob Melvin brouht in Lou Trevino to relieve his young starter. The tactic worked; Correa struck out. But last year’s rule change meant that Trevino had to pitch to the left handed hitting Alvarez, who blasted the second pitch he saw over the center field fence, just to the right of the 388 foot sign.

This gave Houston a 5-1 lead and Irvin a line of 4-1/3 innings pitched, 7 hits, one walk and 4 runs , all earned allowed, two strike outs. His pitch count was 82, with 55 strikes. Trevino retired all seven of the other batters he faced before being lifted for Burch Smith who took over mound duties to start the eighth.

Ryne Stanek replaced Lance McCullers to open the Oakland sixth. He left with a line of five innings pitched, one run, earned, two hits, and three walks charged to him. He struck out seven. 54 of his 95 pitches counted as strikes

Enoli Paredes, in turn, relieved McCullers at the start of the home eighth. getting Aramis García out on a grounder back to the mound. Then, hope rose eternal, and Oakland loaded the bases on a single Olson, sandwiched between walks to Canha and Chapman. But Brooks Raley came to Houston´s rescue and struck out Jed Lowrie, pinch hitting for Moreland, swinging. Hope rose again when Chad Pinder clouted one out to deep right center, only to die on the warning track in the glove of Myles Straw.

Reymin Guduan couldn´t hold the Astros within what they had, just a few minutes earlier, seemed like striking distance. Maldonado opened the visitors´ninth with a single to right. Altuve walked. McCormick doubled, sending Maldonado home and Altuve to third. He scored and McCormick replaced him on third when Díaz singled to left. McCormick then scored on a wild pitch to Tucker, while Díaz moved up to second. Another wild pitch sent Díaz to third. Correa broke the monotony with a single to center. He went to second on yet another wild pitch. Finally, Guduan got out of the inning by retiring Alvarez and Gurriel.

The As went down 1,2,3 in their half of the ninth.

McCullers got the win; Raley, the save. The loss went to Irvin.

Oh, well, tomorrow is another day, and Sean Manaea will try to save one game of the series before the Dodgers come to town on Monday. José Urquidy will try to extend Houston’s winning streak to four. Game time is 1:07 at the Oakland Coliseum.

Astros late run rallies spoil A’s opener 8-1 at the Coliseum

Houston Astros runner Jose Altuve (27) slides in safely at home behind Oakland A’s catcher Sean Murphy (12) at the Oakland Coliseum Thu Apr 1, 2021 (AP News photo)

Houston. 8. 9. 2

Oakland. 1. 6. o

By Lewis Rubman

OAKLAND–Tonight’s opening game of the 2021 season offered several subtle contrasts.. The A’s started Chris Bassitt, 32 years old and at the peak of his career. Last year’s severely shortened season was the first he had spent from start to finish on a major league roster.

In his first four big league seasons, he went 4-14, 3.86. In 2019-20, however, he went a combined 15-7, 3.35, Last year those figures were 5-2, 2.29 , and he was, arguably, Oakland’s most reliable pitcher. He features, in declining order, a sinker, cutter, four seam fastball, change-up, curve, and slider. He looked sharp during this year’s spring training.

His thirty-seven year old opponent, Zack Greinke last faced the A’s in the Coliseum on September 8, 2020 , in the first of two seven inning games of a double header. The 18 year veteran pitched respectably but not particularly well. He gave up seven hits and four earned runs in six innings and was saddled with the 4-2 loss.

His 3-3, 4.03 record that year may have been a fluke, or it may be a sign that Houston’s formidable righty has started on the downward slide of his career. He throws fastballs, change-ups, sliders , change-up, and curves. He has been known to lob an occasional eephus pitch. Maybe he should have a chat with Jesús Luzardo. They could share a turkey sub.

This was the first game played in the Coliseum before a paying crowd since the A’s wild card play-in loss to Tampa Bay on October 2, 2019 before 54,005 fans. The limit for tonight’s attendance had been announced as 20% of capacity, but that was raised to 26% yesterday. The final gate tally for tonight was 10,436.

The face of the A’s had changed during the fans’ enforced absence from the Nimitz Palace. Gone, among others, are Khris Davis and Marcus Semien. The now-you-see-him, now-you-don’t Jed Lowie is back, and Elvis Andrus patrols the left side of the infield between him and Matt Chapman when they’re not in a shift.

Chapman and his fellow Gold Glover, Matt Olson, have played well this spring, and hopes are high that their 2020 fall-offs are a thing of the past. Another familiar face sporting the home whites was ex-Giant reliever Sergio Romo. The Athletics announced this morning that it had two promising pitchers, A.J. Puk and Daulton Jefferies, to the alternate site in Stockton and had placed to more pitchers, Mike Fiers and Trevor Rosenthal, who was expected to be the new closer, on the ten-day injured list, Fiers retroactively to March 29. Lefty hurler and one time Astro Reymin Guduan was promoted from Las Vegas to take up the slack. And, finally, the marvelously monikered Skye Bolt was DFA’d.

The closest thing to a threat that either team could muster in the first three innings came with two down in the home third when Andrus, batting ninth, lashed a rule book double over the low fence in left center field for Oakland’s first hit of the game and his first as an Athletic. He advanced to third on a wild pitch to Mark Canha and was standed when the A’s lead-off batter wiffed on a 73 mph curve ball.

The Astros immediately made Oakland regret its failure to seize the opporitunity. José Altuve opened the top of the fourth with a walk and advanced to third on Michael Brantley’s line drive double to right. Alex Bregman’s ground out to Chapman brought Altuve home with the game’s first tally.

A dramatic leaping catch of Kyle Tucker’s fly to right center by Chad Pinder saved a run and maybe more but didn’t prevent Altuve from moving over to third. The crowd cheered when Bassett plunked Carlos Correa with a 94 mph four seamer.

It cheered almost as much when Jordán Alvarez flew out to left to end the innning. One inning later, Pinder made another spectacular grab, robbing Altuve of an opposite field extra base hit with a horizontal flying catch of a a liner heading for the right field foul line.

With one out in the top of the sixth, Bregman hit a liner between Canha in left and Laureano in center, The speedy Laureano got to the ball, but it bounced off the heel of his glove for a double. After yielding a walk to Tucker, the A´s starter yielded the mound to Yusmeiro Petit, who got Correa out on a pop foul to catcher Sean Murphy but allowed both inherited runs to score on DH Jordán Alvarez´s two bagger to left.

Bassett left the game after throwing 68 pitches, 46 of them strikes, over 5-1/3 innings. He gave up four hits and was charged with all three Houston runs, and all of them were earned. He walked two, struck out three, and hit one batter. Petit threw 11 pitches, with five strikes. Lou Trevino replaced him after his two thirds of an inning stint.

Dusty Baker removed Greinke after six innings of work. His line was impressive, three hits, four strike outs, and a wild pitch. The rest, zeroes.

His replacement, Eoli Paredes, didn’t fare as well. Laureano led off the home seventh with a foul behind first base that Yuli Gourriel let drop for an at bat extending error. The A’s centerfielder took advantage of the miscue to blast a double to left, steal third, and score on Chapman’s sac fly to left. It took him 32 pitches to get out of the frame with only one, unearned, run charged to him.

Adam Kolarek was an off-season acquisition from the Dodgers. He took over for Trevino to start the eighth and promptly surrendered a home run to Brantley and then another to Bregman. A ground out, a walk, and a hit batter later, Kolarek was gone, giving way to J.B. Wendelkin, who stauched the flow.

The newly promoted Reymin Gudjuan suffered the indignity of pitching to Houston in its last half inning at the plate. Two of the three outs he achieved were sacrifice flies, which tells you something about his effectiveness. He gave up singles to Altuve and Correa, walks to Brantley and Bregman, and threw a wild pitch to Alvarez before he hit one of the sac flies. The win went to Greinke; the loss, to Bassett.