sfgate.com photo: Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Joe Musgrove works in the first inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants, Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019, in San Francisco.
By Jeremy Harness
It was a matinee that surely will be forgotten by all as the San Francisco Giants fell flat 4-2 on Thursday afternoon to conclude the three-game series with the Pittsburgh Pirates losing three out of four. Pirates starter Joe Musgrove was the talk of the town getting a quality start off SF pitching five innings of shutout ball and got a triple to help his own cause.
The Pirates’ Jacob Stalling provided some offensive punch by contributing a home run. The Giants’ Evan Longoria hit a homer, but it wasn’t enough as the Giants now have lost four of their last five. The Pirates have been dominating since 2014 when visiting San Francisco winning 14 of their last 20 visits.
Musgrove improved his record to 10-12 and has said that he improved his motion by shortening his delivery, thanks to Bucs pitching coach Justin Meccage. Musgrove said he’s trying to eliminate a couple steps in his backswing for the shorter motion.
Musgrove in his five inning pitched surrendered four hits and struck out seven hitters for the win. It was reliever Felipe Vazquez, whose mix of pitches, sat the Giants down as he picked up his 28th save in the ninth going an inning with one walk, and two strikeouts.
Vazquez is remembered for his Monday clubhouse brawl with teammate Kyle Crick on Monday when Crick was playing music that Vazquez asked him to turn it down. Vazquez then invited Crick to punch him and he didn’t so Vazquez got to slugs in on Vazquez and Crick got a punch on Vazquez that bloodied him. It might have fueled the Bucs because they walked away with a 3-1 series win.
The Oakland Athletics ended a five-game losing streak on Saturday night in Houston with a 2-1 win over the Astros. The victory also ended a 10-game winning streak by the Astros over the A’s that carried over from the 2016 season. Houston was 3-0 this season versus Oakland until Saturday night.
It’s not often that a team can end three losing streaks with one win.
This game was all about the pitching
RHP Andrew Triggs returned to his winning ways as he posted his fourth victory of the season by scattering five hits over seven scoreless innings. Triggs walked none while he struck out nine Houston batters. Triggs’ ERA dropped to 1.84. His record is now 4-1 for the season. He is tied with Dallas Keuchel and Ervin Santana for the most wins in the American League.
Ryan Dull (0.1-innings) and Sean Doolittle (0.2-innings) combined to handle the eighth inning. Doolittle allowed the Astros to score their only run of the game when Jose Altuve hit a solo home run (3) over the left center field wall with two out and no runners on base.
Santiago Casilla recorded his fourth save of the year by closing out the game. He gave up an infield single to Carlos Beltran who led off the ninth inning but was able keep the Astros from scoring and closed the game preserving the win for Oakland.
Joe Musgrove (1-2) took the loss for Houston. Musgrove spread five hits over 6.1-innings while he struck out six batters and walked just one. His one major error came in the fourth inning with one out when Jed Lowrie hit his second home run of the season to right center field with no one on base.
Tony Sipp and Michael Feliz came in to close out the seventh inning for the Astros.
Will Harris came out of the bullpen for Houston in the eighth frame. Harris retired the first two Oakland hitters but then he had to pitch to Khris Davis. Davis took a Harris pitch deep to right center field for his 10th home run of year. That would turn out to be the game winning hit and run.
Brad Peacock worked the top of the ninth for the Astros. He had to face five A’s hitters to retire the side but he did so without allowing another run.
All the scoring came via the long ball
Khris Davis hit his 10th home run of the season which scored the A’s second and winning run. With 10 home runs, Davis is tied with the Yankees Aaron Judge for the lead in that category in the American League. It was his 17th RBI which ties his him for ninth in that stat. It’s also the second time this season he has gone yard in back-to-back games. The other time was against the Astros in Oakland on April 14 and 15.
Jed Lowrie hit his second home run of the season and upped his RBI total to five. He was the only Athletic to have a multi-hit game going 2-for-4.
The A’s collected a total of eight hits. Others in the hit parade were: Healy, Alonso, Vogt, Phegley and Pinder.
The A’s were 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position. They left eight men on base.
Jose Altuve put up his third home run of the year in the game and it gave him his eighth RBI of the season. He was the only Astro with a multi-hit game going 2-for-3.
Others posting hits were: Reddick, Beltran, Gurriel, Gattis and Bregman for a total of seven.
Houston was 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and left six men on base.
Key stat for the A’s
The Athletics committed no errors in the game. This is a very important stat to a team that is dead last in fielding percentage in the American League.
The A’s and Astros will close out their three-game series on Sunday morning 11:10 am PDT from Houston. RHP Jesse Hahn (1-1, 2.08) will take the hill for the Athletics. The Astros will send the undefeated Dallas Keuchel (4-0, 1.22) to the mound to the face the A’s in the “rubber game” of the series.