If you watched tonight’s entire game then you deserve some major props. It was not even close to what you might call a fun one to sit through in its entirety. If you were lucky enough to miss it — here’s the basic rundown:
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Daniel Mengden falters in his hometown:
Daniel Mengden had been on a successful run of late getting credited with wins over both the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Chicago White Sox, then putting up a quality start against the Boston Red Sox despite getting a no-decision. Today in things did not go as planned for Mengden as he allowed five runs (four earned) on six hits, allowing one walk and striking out one, in just 2.1 innings of work.
So how did the score end up being 11-0? Let’s take a quick look at how the bullpen fared against one of the best lineups in the game.
Coulombe relieved Mengden to hopefully help get the A’s out of the bottom of the third without allowing the Astros to do any more damage. He started in a tough position, inheriting two runners from Mengden who had put runners at the corners on two singles and wild pitch. A sacrifice fly by Marwin Gonzalez allowed Josh Reddick to score from third and Alex Bregman to advance to second. With a 1-2 count on Brian McCann, Bregman was thrown out attempting to steal third to end the inning. Couloimbe came back to start the bottom of the fourth still facing McCann, who took the first pitch he saw and lined it into center field. The next batter he faced, Derek Fisher, took three straight balls and then launched a slider from Coulombe over the wall in center field, ending Coulombe’s night and exiting with the A’s down now 7-0.
Trivino was the best of the A’s staff this evening in Houston and has been one of the best in the bullpen of late. Having just made his MLB debut on April 17, he pitched four innings against the White Sox without allowing a run and also accrued his first big league win. He was sent back to Triple-A and recalled on April 24 where he tossed another two thirds of scoreless ball against the Texas Rangers. It’s fairly safe bet Trivino will be kept around for awhile. He added another scoreless inning to his resume today getting the top of the Astros order, reigning World Series MVP George Springer and reigning AL MVP Jose Altuve to fly out and line out, respectively, and striking out star short stop Carlos Correa to end the bottom of the fourth.
Hatcher started out the bottom of the fifth getting two quick outs, but got himself into a jam issuing three consecutive walks to load the bases. He was able to get out of trouble, striking out Fisher to end the inning.
Lance McCullers Jr.’s total domination:
Meanwhile, Astros’ starter Lance McCullers Jr. was cruising along, taking a perfect game into the top of the sixth inning. He completely baffled the A’s with the same breaking balls he threw 23 straight times to defeat the New York Yankees in the ALCS last season. Mark Canha led off the top of the sixth with a single to end McCuller’s perfecto and Stephen Piscotty followed with another single to put runners at first and second. That was all the offense the A’s could muster as McCullers went on to get Bruce Maxwell to ground out into a double play and Matt Joyce to fly out.
Newly-acquired from the Dodgers, Font made his first appearance in an A’s uniform in the bottom of the sixth. He was able to get three straight outs but only after allowing solo shots to both Springer and Altuve. After allowing a third solo home run to Gonzalez with one out in the seventh, he remained in the game getting out of the inning. Still the damage had been done and the Astros led the A’s 10-0.
Happy (well, kind of) Birthday Matt Chapman:
Hecor Rondon relieved McCullers to pitch the top of the eighth. Chapman got the A’s their third hit of the game, a single off of Rondon, after a lead off walk by Matt Olson. With the way the game had been going, it was a type of birthday gift for the newly-turned 25-year-old.
Pagan’s inning was not what he’d hoped for. He allowed a walk and two singles to start the bottom of the eighth. He then proceeded to load the bases. Pagan was able to retire Yuli Gurriel and Reddick but with the bases still full he walked Alex Bregman, giving the Astros their 11th and final run of the game.
Tony Sipp ends the A’s agony:
Sipp came in and retired the side in the top of the ninth inning. The A’s nightmarish game finally ended after three hours and 14 minutes of what I can only label as “pure agony.”
Tomorrow Trevor Cahill will face Gerrit Cole. After the first two lopsided games in this series, anything could happen. With the series now tied one game a piece, the A’s hope to recoup, take game three and the series win.