Photo credit: @astros
By Jerry Feitelberg
The Houston Astros beat the Oakland A’s 5-4 in the rubber match at Minute Maid Park on Wednesday afternoon. It was a very competitive game as both teams organized come-from-behind rallies to either take the lead or tie the game. The Astros won the game in the bottom of the ninth when rookie Tyler White sent a Jeurys Familia pitch into the seats in left field to give the Astros the walk-off win.
A’s Trevor Cahill, who has not pitched well on the road this year, did not do well again Wednesday in Houston. Cahill’s road record was 1-3 with a 6.92 ERA in eight road starts. The A’s were hoping that Cahill would do better, but he didn’t. He went just 3 1/3 innings and allowed five hits, four runs (one unearned), struck out two and walked a season-high six batters. Astros’ starter, Dallas Keuchel, wasn’t much better. Keuchel went six innings and allowed eight hits and three runs. Neither Cahill nor Cahill figured in the decision.
The Astros put two runs on the board in the bottom of the first. Astros center fielder George Springer led off with a single. Power-hitting third baseman Alex Bregman bunted. On the play, Bregman was credited with a single and Chapman committed an error on the throw to first. Springer went to third and Bregman advanced to second on the error. Second baseman Jose Altuve, who’s the reigning AL MVP, followed with a single to drive in Springer. Bregman stopped at third base. Carlos Correa then lofted a fly ball to left field that was deep enough to allow Bregman to tag up and score. The Astros lead 2-0.
Neither team scored in the second inning, but A’s center fielder Ramon Laureano made a sensational over the shoulder catch off the bat of Tony Kemp. The 24-year rookie continued to amaze everyone with his defensive prowess.
The A’s plated three runs in the top of the third. Singles by Marcus Semien and Matt Chapman put men on at first and third with no out. Jed Lowrie’s single to left drove in Semien with the ‘s first run. Astro left fielder Tony Kemp almost made a fantastic play attempting to catch the ball. Fortunately for Oakland, Kemp could not hold on, and the A’s had their first run of the day. A’s right fielder Stephen Piscotty double down into the corner in left field to drive in Chapman and Lowrie and gave the A’s the lead 3-2.
The Astros regained the lead in the fourth inning. Cahill walked the leadoff hitter, Yuli Gurriel. Josh Reddick reached on a fielder’s choice. Gurriel was out at second. Cahill walked Max Stassi to put men on at first and second. Cahill walked Tony Kemp to load the bases. George Springer singled to drive in Reddick. Cahill walked Bregman to force in another run. At this point, A’s manager Bob Melvin ended Cahill’s day, and Shawn Kelley was brought in to pitch. Kelley ended the threat, and the Astros were back in front 4-3.
The score remained the same until the seventh. Former A’s pitcher, Brad Peacock, was now handling the pitching for Houston. With one out, Peacock was not able to find the strike zone. He walked Chapman, Lowrie, and Khris Davis to load the bases. He then plunked Piscotty with a pitch to allow Chapman to score and the game was tied 4-4.
The A’s used Lou Trivino in the seventh, Fernando Rodney in the eighth, and Jeurys Familia in the ninth. Trivino and Rodney kept the Astros off the board. Familia retired the first hitter he faced in the ninth, but White ended the game with one swing of the bat as he sent the pitch over the wall in left field. The Astros won 5-4.
Game Notes: With the loss the A’s fall to 80-54. They are 2 1/2 games behind the Astros in the race for first place in the AL West.
The Mariners lost to San Diego, and they trail the A’s by 5 1/2 games in the race for the second Wild Card post.
Up Next: The M’s head to Oakland to start a four-game series with the A’s. Game one is set for Thursday at 7:05 pm PDT.
Frankie Montas will pitch for Oakland, while Wade LeBlanc will be on the mound for Seattle.