What just happened? Astros blowout the A’s on Saturday night 11-0

Astros celebrate Photo: @astros

by Charlie O. Mallonee

The Oakland Athletics ran headlong into reality at 100 mph as the World Champion Houston Astros reminded the “Green and Gold” who they were playing as they were humbled on Saturday night at Minute Maid Park. The Astros shutout the Athletics 11-0 before a delighted sellout crowd who came to see their champs crush the young upstarts.

Lance McCullers Jr. dominated the A’s. In fact, he held them hitless through the first five innings. Mark Canha broke up the potential no-hitter in the top of the sixth inning when he hit a single to center. Stephen Piscotty then singled to right moving Canha up to second and A’s fans began to have hope that their team had solved McCullers’ pitches and were about to break open the game. Bruce Maxwell promptly hit into a double play and Matt Joyce flied out to left field to end the inning. That would prove to be the only two hits that McCullers would allow in his 7.0-innings of work.

The A’s would have only two additional baserunners in the contest as they managed to get a base hit and a base-on-balls off Astros reliever Hector Rondon in the eighth inning. Tony Sipp came in to mop it up for Houston in the top of the ninth to preserve the win.

Oakland used six pitchers who gave up 11 runs (10 earned) off 13 hits which included four home runs. A’s pitchers walked six Astros and struck out six.

On the Hill

This game was really all about pitching. For Houston, it was about pitching to perfection. For Oakland, it was about pitching breakdowns.


Lance McCullers Jr. was in command on the mound Photo: @astros
  • Lance McCullers Jr.: he picks up his third win of the season to raise his record to 3-1 in five starts. He pitched 7.0-innings giving up no runs off just two hits. He walked none and struck out seven A’s batters. He threw 100 pitches (65 strikes).
  • Hector Rondon: he had the rockiest inning of the night for the Astros giving up a hit and a base-on-balls in his 1.0-inning on the bump. He threw 21 pitches (11 strikes).
  • Tony Sipp was brought in to work the top of the ninth and he did his job very well. Sipp gave up no runs, no hits, allowed no baserunners and struck out one.


  • Daniel Mengden: Mengden would not want to use this as an excuse but he did bury his grandfather in Austin on Friday. He worked just 2.1-innings giving up five runs (4 earned) off six hits. He walked one and struck out one. Mengden was not sharp on Saturday and took the loss as his record drops to 2-3 on the young season.
  • The A’s used five relief pitchers in the contest.
  • Oakland has to be concerned about the performance of Wilmer Font who they just picked up from the Dodgers. Oakland hoped that Font would be able to work long relief and possibly spot start. On Saturday night, he gave up three runs (all earned) off three hits which were all home runs. That is not the way any pitcher wants to start out with a new team. It may be time to go back to the drawing board on that decision.

At the Plate


  • Jose Altuve: “The little big man” showed why is worth the “big bucks” by going 4-for-5 in the game scoring two runs and picking up two RBI. He hit his second home run of the year off Font and picked up his fifth double the season off Mengden. The man is a monster.
  • Alex Bregman had a big game for the ‘Stros. He went 2-for-3 at bat picking up two RBI. He also walked twice. Bregman now has 12 RBI for the young season.
  • George Springer hit his fifth HR of the season. He upped his RBI total to 17.


  • They had three hits: Chapman, Canha, and Piscotty. All singles.

Up Next

Because the A’s had the big win on Friday night, Sunday becomes “the rubber game” of the match. Yes, the Athletics have the opportunity to win the series on the road in Houston if they can beat the Astros on Sunday afternoon.

Houston is going to send RHP Gerrit Cole to the hill on Sunday. Cole is 2-1 on the year in five starts. He has struck out 49 batters and walked just eight. Cole has allowed just three home runs. He has a WHIP of 0.77.

The A’s will counter with Trevor Cahill who is 1-0 on the season in two starts. He has an ERA of 2.25 in 12 innings pitched. Cahill has struck out 14 hitters and walked just four. He has a WHIP of 1.08.

This game has the potential of being a real pitchers duel. Game time 11:10 PDT.