Frankie Montas came to play Monday in Houston.
After relatively rocky performances over his last two starts (9 ER in 8.2 innings combined), he allowed zero runs on just three hits in his 6 innings Monday night, striking out 2 and walking 2 on 88 pitches.
His fastball sat around 96-97 miles per hour, topping out at 99. It was a serious big-time performance from the rookie, and his ERA now sits at 3.35. The SF Chronicle’s Susan Slusser calls this his “most impressive performance to date.”
Lou Trivino, bless his soul, took over for Montas and threw 1.2 innings clean innings on only 19 pitches, striking out 2; his ERA is now 1.3.
Though Gerrit Cole also threw 6 quality scoreless innings for the Astros, it’s markedly more impressive that he also was forced out of the game at the time he was than with Montas. He threw 108 pitches (striking out 11, yikes) and walking 3. A big chunk of that pitch count came unsurprisingly thanks to Jed Lowrie, who saw 19 pitches from Cole over his three at-bats and resulting two 8-pitch walks.
We’ve really got only the red-hot Stephen Piscotty to thank for run support tonight. Khris Davis, Matt Chapman, and Jonathan Lucroy each laid down a single, but only Piscotty’s 3 (THREE!) hits bore any fruit.
In the 7th inning, he hit a solo homer off Brad Peacock to take the lead – making this his third consecutive game with a home run.
Beam me up, Piscotty!— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) July 10, 2018
A's take 1-0 lead in top 7th as Stephen Piscotty homers in his third straight game. pic.twitter.com/V8BzsAKow8
SCORE: A’s 1, Astros 0
Everyone go tell Alex not to write about him:
I keep almost writing my article about how Stephen Piscotty is on fire, then put it off for one more day, and then he homers to keep the story idea relevant. Three days in a row that's happened. Maybe I'll just never write it and see how far this ride goes?— Alex Hall (@AlexHallAN) July 10, 2018
The eighth inning began with two line-outs off reliever Will Harris, followed up by a walk apiece from Khris Davis and Matt Olson. Piscotty followed up with a single to center, scoring Davis.
Piscotty does it again! A's take 2-0 lead in 8th inning as Stephen Piscotty drives in Khris Davis for an insurance run. pic.twitter.com/osdrgaEor8— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) July 10, 2018
Blake Treinen got the 9th inning job done, allowing two threatening base runners, but eventually striking out Evan Gattis to end the game. Treinen has now converted 20 straight save opportunities, but threw a reasonably-high 18 pitches tonight.
FINAL: A’s 2, Astros 0
Nobody freak out, but the A’s have now won 17 of their last 21 games and are 11 games above .500. Given that the A’s hadn’t beaten the Astros since the first time they met this year – April 27th – and had faced a number of poor teams prior to this throughout the recent hot streak, it’s hard to overstate the importance of this win.