This afternoon's game started off in the worst of ways for the A's when Bartolo Colon allowed a single to Jonathan Villar and a double to Jose Altuve, giving the Astros a 1-0 lead with none out and a runner on second base. Thankfully, that was the end of Bartolo's struggles, as he finished his outing with a final line of 6 innings pitched, 5 hits, one walk, and seven strikeouts.
Similarly, the A's offense looked helpless through two innings against Houston's emergency starter, Lucas Harrell. But things changed in the third, to the tune of seven runs, all of which scored with two outs.
Brandon Moss picked up the first Oakland RBIs of the day with his double to left field, which scored Eric Sogard and Stephen Vogt, both of whom reached base on singles. Yoenis Cespedes ripped a single to left, scoring Moss, and Alberto Callaspo drew a walk immediately thereafter. Daric Barton hit yet another single to center field, scoring Cespedes and bringing up Seth Smith with two on and two out. Smith, who's struggled mightily since the All-Star Break, broke the game open with a three-run home run to right field, giving the A's a 7-1 lead that would be more than enough for a win.
Brett Anderson came on in relief of Colon in the 7th inning, and staying true to one of the day's themes, he started shakily before settling down. The Astros did push across a run in the 7th inning after three consecutive singles from Hoes, Pagnozzi, and Brandon Barnes, but Anderson didn't allow another hit the rest of the afternoon.
Anderson started off the 9th inning by issuing back-to-back walks to Jake Elmore and L.J. Hoes, which was enough to get Ryan Cook throwing in the bullpen. But Anderson got Matt Pagnozzi to fly out to right field, struck out Barnes, and induced another flyout from Villar to end the inning and seal the 7-2 victory. Weird as it might seem, he now has three saves on the year.
The A's now have 19 games remaining, seven of which are in Oakland. They have tomorrow off before kicking off a three-game set against Minnesota at Target Field on Tuesday night. If you had to pick one team other than the Astros to play in the heat of a pennant race, it would be the Twins! I'll have the game thread again on Tuesday evening, when Jarrod Parker will face off against Liam Hendricks. First pitch is at 5:10pm Pacific.