Make it three in a row against the AL West Champs. But unlike the first two — both late-inning showdowns — today’s win was as decisive a victory could be without entering blowout territory.
The lineup was the star of the cause tonight, scoring 8 runs on 13 hits and 3 walks. How many homers? None. The A’s didn’t need to hit the ball hard today to score. Instead, their game today came in the form of line-drive singles and shallow outfield bloops; all they practiced today was a patient approach and a desire to give the next batter in line a chance.
This led to a 5-run third against the Astros’ spot starter Rogelio Armenteros and a 3-run fifth off of mop-up man Chris Devenskievenski. The best part of this, besides sealing today’s win, is that the A’s suceeded in exhausting the Astros bullpen less than 24 hours after already exhausting it in last night’s 13-inning marathon. With one game left in the series, the Astros will absolutely need Zack Greinke to go deep to avoid throwing tired arms into the Coliseum fire and letting the A’s get away with a 4-game sweep.
In contrast to their opponent, the A’s starter today pitched above and beyond his capacity to give their bullpen some much-needed rest. Chris Bassitt, despite getting into trouble early and running up his pitch count, fought through a full six innings of 3-run ball. Once he escaped the 5th with a 5-3 lead and a pitch count approaching 100, Athletics Nation was ready to thank him for his service and get the ball to our bullpen. But then, the bats tacked on another three and BoMel pushed Bassitt back out there to finish off his quality start. And Bassitt did exactly that, running his pitch count to a career-high 116 pitches and mowing the Astros lineup down in just three batters. Well done, Bassitt. Well done.
This was followed by Treinen, Buchter, and Petit coming in and getting the job done in relatively short order, giving the A’s a fairly strong chance to win tomorrow’s game without having to stretch the bullpen thin. It was an all-around great game for the A’s and now, they can rest easy knowing they have the chance for a Sunday sweep.