By the time the A’s recorded the game’s first out, the Astros were at the same time scoring their first run. It was actually a moment of relief for A’s fans who hoped Jesse Hahn, who induced two consecutive sacrifice fly-outs that made it 2-0 Houston, had stopped the bleeding long enough to find his control and eventually allow A’s bats to get to Houston’s young starting pitcher.
Alas... of the 57 pitches Hahn threw in his two innings of work, most of them were outside of the strike zone and those that did land within the strike zone, got every bit of it. Houston went for the jugular early, quickly turning that 2-0 lead into a 10-0 lead by the end of the second inning. Despite an 8th-inning rally by the A’s that included three RBI doubles from Bruce Maxwell, Adam Rosales, and Matt Olson, it wasn’t enough to overcome Hahn’s early struggles.
Houston has now beaten the A’s at the Coliseum for the 10th consecutive time, dating back to last season. The last time the A’s have lost this many consecutive games to a team at home was in 1979, when they concluded a 13-game losing streak to the visiting Baltimore Orioles.
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The misery began with the game’s 5th pitch as Jesse Hahn struck George Springer on an inside pitch. Springer was replaced by Jake Marisnick, who would score the aforementioned first run of the game after both Josh Reddick and Carlos Correa walked to load the bases and Carlos Beltran hit a sac-fly to center to make it 1-0 Houston. The game’s next batter, Evan Gattis, drove in Reddick on a sac-fly to right to make it 2-0 Houston.
After Yulieski Gurriel singled and Norichika Aoki doubled in the second inning, Jake Marisnick belted the first of two 3-run blasts in the 2nd inning to make it 5-0.
After a Josh Reddick double and a walk issued to Carlos Correa—Hahn’s 3rd and final base-on-balls—the A’s had a chance to get out of the next jam when Beltran reached on an error by A’s first baseman Yonder Alonso. What could have been an inning-ending double play ended up with everyone safe on the base-paths.
Of course, Evan Gattis would again punish Hahn when he singled to right, scoring both Reddick and Correa to make it 7-0.
Finally, in what turned out to be an extremely decisive home run, Marwyn Gonzalez would immediately slam the door shut on the A’s with a 3-run home run to the stairs in right field to make it 10-0 Houston.
That. was. the. second. inning.
To add insult to injury, it was a Josh Reddick long-ball that later gave them their 11th run.
There were bright spots, and enough of them to keep many of us hopeful: Both Chad Pinder and Jaycob Brugman added RBIs in the 6th inning that helped close the gap at 11-3.
Bruce Maxwell, who took over for Stephen Vogt (and Josh Phegely) behind the plate, went 3-for-4 with an RBI double and while Matt Olson added two RBIs, and one of them via a double in that 8th inning that brought the A’s to a 12-9 score, the closest they’d get and the first time the game got really interesting (unless, of course, you were wearing an Astros jersey).
A surprising bright spot? Josh Smith’s performance out of the bullpen gave the A’s 3 shutout innings while allowing just 2 base runners. As bad as today was, it could have been a lot worse.
We all know that the A’s aren’t going to make the playoffs, so a 4-game sweep at the hands of the first 50-win team in baseball isn’t so horrible, but what doesn’t sit right with me about the series is the fact that our best trade piece (Sonny Gray) gave the visiting Astros a front-and-center look at how he’s just not a very good pitcher anymore.
On to Chicago.