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Game #70: A’s fall to Astros’ Pitching

MLB: Houston Astros at Oakland Athletics Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

In a 4-1 loss to the Astros, the Houston team demonstrated the magnificence of their bullpen. The game began with a little Warrior love as JaVale Lindy McGee threw out the first pitch for tonight’s opening game of this four-game series with the Astros.

This wasn’t the only action that began the game. The first Astro at-bat led to the first appeal of the game as the Astros challenged a diving catch by Khris Davis, contending he did not have possession, the opposite of the called fly out. Indeed the call was reversed to put Springer on first. This led to little, though the ‘Stros worked hard to move Springer to third but left him stranded.

The action began in the fifth when Evan Gaddis led off the inning with a doubled on a line drive to Khris Davis. With two outs, Jake Marisnick hit a two run homer to put the Astros on the board first. Athletics 0, Astros 2.

The A’s ramped up their own offense in the 6th inning and challenged the arms of the Astros. After Adam Rosales was called out on strikes, Matt Joyce doubled into right field. Chad Pinder then worked the count (including a take on 2 strikes) to earn the base on balls. Jed Lowrie then hit a strong double between right and center field. Joyce scored easily and Pinder should have as well, but Springer snagged the ball and wielded a throw to second baseman Carlos Correa as he was turning in the air. Correa then gunned Pinder at the plate. A tremendous relay, 90% of the time Pinder would have been safe. So, Lowrie sitting on second was joined on the base paths by Khris Davis as Brad Peacock ended his night with a walk. Alonso, on a broken bat shot to the right side, was the third out of the inning. If that bat hadn’t broken, the A’s would have scored Lowre. Alas, the 6th ends with the A’s trailing 2-1. Brad Peacock went 5 and 13 innings giving up four hits and one run while striking out 8 while accruing 1 earned run.

With two outs in the 7th, the Astros end Daniel Gossett’s night as Alex Bregman doubles on a liner to center field. Liam Hendriks, already warm in the bullpen, came in to finish out the inning. On the night, Gossett’s outing was solid. On six and two-thirds innings, Gossett stuck out six, walked zero, and gave up six hits with two earned runs. An excellent outing for this young rookie. On a base-running error, Bregman was picked off with too big of a lead at second to end the inning by Hendriks. Astros still in the lead 2-1.

The bottom of the 7th started with a Ryon Healy strike out on an 82mph curveball by Will Harris. In a late breaking curveball to Bregman, he was unable to hold up and was called out. Vogt followed by pinch-hitting for Josh Phegley. Vogt was aboard in four pitches and Adam Rosales, a single and a strikeout on the night, was up with two outs in the inning. And, despite putting a hit through on the shift in his first at-bat, A.J. Hinch put the shift on again. It seemed to be the right decision because Rosales went down swinging to end the inning.

On to the 8th with John Axford taking the mound and Vogt moving into the catching role, it was not the way Melvin expected it to go. Axford gives up a homer to George Springer, his 20th of the season. And just like that they A’s trailed 3-1. Axford did settle in and pushed Marwin Gonzalez to ground out 1-3 and then Jose Altuve with a soft grounder to Alonso who had the putout unassisted. Carlos Beltran then followed suit by grounding to Pinder at second who threw to Alonso for the out.

The bottom of the 8th began with a pitching change, Will Harris replaced with Chris Devenski—the guy that falls off the mound to the right in a somewhat unorthodox finish on his delivery. Devenski did well, striking out Joyce and Pinder. The third out was an easy fly ball off of Jed Lowrie’s bat for an F-7 out. Heading into the 9th, Axford is replaced by Josh Smith. Astos 3, Athletics 1.

Josh Smith did not have a good inning. Smith gave up a homerun to Derek Fisher. Alex Bregman then followed with a double to put another runner in scoring position. Luckily Jake Marisnick was caught in a running strikeout for out number one of the inning. Rosales retired the side with a 6-3 putout. heading to the bottom of the 9th, the Athletics were left needing to manufacture at least 3 runs to stay in this game. The A’s would face Ken Giles who replaced Devenski.

Unfortunately the A’s power hitters were not effective in this 9th inning. Khris Davis sent an easy roller to short for a 6-3 putout. Alonso then followed with not only too much chewing tobacco in his jaw and not enough “umph” in his lightly lifted fly ball to left field. With two outs, Giles ends the game with an Astros win by getting Ryon Healy to fly out to right field foul territory to end the game.

Peacock picked up the win and Giles picked up the save. Gossett received the loss but was not indicative of a great outing by this rookie.