The A’s needed a victory tonight for several reasons.
One, to maintain pace with the red-hot Astros, winners of 10 straight games. Two, to pull away from mediocrity and the .500 mark as they came into the game with a 10-10 record. Third, to prove to themselves (and to the league) that they deserve to be in the same category as the Astros, one of the elite AL teams.
Behind 6 1⁄3 innings of one run baseball from Frankie Montas, the A’s accomplished all three goals and grabbed a must needed win to split the two game home series with the Astros, breaking Houston’s winning streak in the process.
Game Preview + Game Thread #1
Game Thread #2
Montas (3-1) didn’t allow a hit through 4 1⁄3 innings and was dominant with both his 97+ mph four seamed fastball and his newest weapon, the split fingered fastball. His line on the evening would be 6 1⁄3 innings, 3 hits, 1 run, 2 walks and 6 strikeouts on 88 pitches.
Tonight’s Montas Highlights
.@FrankMontas had it all working tonight! #RootedInOakland pic.twitter.com/lFfWkNlfJp— Oakland Athletics (@Athletics) April 18, 2019
The A’s would score in the bottom of the second inning on a one out double from Mark Canha and a two out RBI double down the third base line from Jurickson Profar.
Jurickrun(s)#RootedInOakland pic.twitter.com/kkCIE4aobr— Oakland Athletics (@Athletics) April 18, 2019
Montas and Astros starter, Wade Miley, traded zeroes in the third, fourth and fifth innings.
The Astros finally scratched a hit off Montas in the fifth inning, and scored a run on a two out single off the bat of Michael Brantley to score George Springer who had walked with one out and advanced to second on a errant pick off throw.
“Chaptain America” Twarts Astros with his Bat
On a night where the A’s offense remained relatively quiet (four hits), the team needed someone to step up and come through in a crucial situation. Enter Matt James Chapman, the pride of Lake Forest, California, home of the Oakley Factory. The A’s would score their second (and go ahead) run off the bat of Chapman in the bottom of the sixth inning, courtesy of the long ball. It was Chapman’s sixth home run of the season.
CHAPPY FOR THE LEAD pic.twitter.com/MpQcNxRrHZ— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) April 18, 2019
After Chapman’s homer, the TnT boys of Lou Trivino and Blake Treinen would come in to close things out, throwing as Ken Korach often calls it, “High Octane.”
Rolaids Relief Moment
Treinen’s ninth inning wasn’t without some nerve racking moments as Michael Brantley walked to lead off the inning and with one out, Yuli Gurriel singled to put both the tying and go ahead runs on base for Josh Reddick. Treinen induced a pop-up from Reddick to record the second out of the inning to bring up A’s killer, Astros Catcher, Robinson Chirinos. Treinen fired in a first pitch strike at 98 mph. Then pumped in a second fastball that Chirinos fouled off. With the count 0-2, Treinen wasted a fastball just under Chirinos chin. After a foul, Treinen came back with a 98 mph fastball to whiff the ‘Stros Catcher and nail down an Oakland victory!
Here is what that final strikeout looked like:
98 mph HEAT to end the game ⛽ pic.twitter.com/6FiEyOTmfR— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) April 18, 2019
A's Post-Game Notes, April 17 vs. Houston. pic.twitter.com/K81r9Bw587— AthleticsPR (@AthleticsPR) April 18, 2019
The A’s now sit a game above .500 with a off day tomorrow, before welcoming in the Toronto Blue Jays in on Friday Night at 7:07pm (A’s: Aaron Brooks vs. Blue Jays: Marcus Stroman). A’s Nation, enjoy the off day and we will see everybody on Friday!