The Athletics decided to win this game from the beginning, starting by jumping ahead in a huge 7 run inning, and keeping the pressure on to score in all but two of the following innings. An important bounce back win after being shut out 15-0 the previous game, the A’s took control for a 21-7 win today.
After a litany of singles to start off the scoring the A’s turned into dinger machines, hitting six in the game including three 2-run shots in the 4th inning. While the Astros managed a fair amount of runs off of solo shots and some 9th inning heroics, it wasn’t enough to avoid having their score be tripled by the winning Athletics.
Marcus Semien started the game off with a single to right field, and Matt Olson moved him into scoring position with a walk. Mark Canha dropped a deep single to score Marcus, and put the A’s on the board. Pinder rolled a ball through the gap, and due to none of the Astros defenders hustling to the ball, Olson scored and Canha moved to third. Mark was quickly ushered home as Khris Davis hit a ball to the right of Springer for an RBI single. The first inning rally continued as Profar slapped a fastball into shallow right to load the bases, then Sean Murphy singled to left to score another run and keep the bags occupied. Robbie Grossman drilled a single to the gap in right, and on a bobbled play both Davis and Profar scored. With only one out recorded and with the A’s batting through the lineup, Wade Miley was removed from the game, his second disastrous start in a row.
Cy Sneed got the second out of the inning with only two pitches but he couldn't stop Matt Chapman who popped another oppo hit to score Murphy. The rally would end there, but the Athletics were able to turn the tables on the Astros to get a big lead as early as possible.
The Astros responded quickly with George Springer belting a leadoff homer, but Roark and the A’s settled them down for the rest of the inning to get out of the first with a huge lead.
Things didn't slow down for the A’s when they were back at bat, with Mark Canha smacking another single to lead off the 2nd. Khris Davis widened the lead even more bit smashing the first pitch he saw for a 2-run homer to the train tracks in Minute Maid Field. Profar battled a 10-pitch AB into a double in left field near the line, to keep the A’s moving, but the second rally died after he got on base.
Things got a little heated in the bottom of the 2nd as Roark missed his spot high and inside against Jordan Alvarez, almost hitting him. After a brief stare down Roark came back hard to try and strike Alvarez out, but ended up walking him due to a tight strike zone provided by home plate umpire Chris Conroy. Taking an extended mound visit with Murphy, including chatting with Conroy when he came to pull Murphy back to the plate, Roark eventually got Aledmys Diaz out on a pop fly, and struck out Abraham Toro. While Alvarez moved to second on a passed ball, Roark struck out Robinson Chirinos for a solid shutdown inning.
It wouldn’t be an inning without A’s runs, and that's just what happened in the top of the 3rd, as Matt Chapman walked and Matt Olson drove him home with a deep right field homer.
Chad Pinder saved Roark a bunch of trouble by robbing Reddick of a run with a brilliant diving catch, but couldn’t reign in Springer’s second solo shot of the evening.
4th inning? Runs. Profar walked, and Murphy hit a 448ft 110mph home run over the train tracks, even further and faster than Khris’ home run went.
Grossman legged out a solid, and then as if the game plan changed to focus on scoring 2 run homers, Marcus hit it over the right field fence to score two more. Sticking with the game plan, Chappy singled, and then Olson hit the third 2-run dinger of the inning. All before the first out was recorded.
Matt Olson has homered twice tonight meaning, we have…— Brodie Brazil (@BrodieNBCS) September 11, 2019
THE OLSON TWINS!™️ pic.twitter.com/dGftWylx2r
The Stros put in Chris Devinski to take over pitching, sitting down the next two A’s. Khris looked like he had his second homer of the night, but a leaping robbery by Reddick kept him from saluting one more time.
In the 5th, Murphy hit another jack to left, this time just dropping into the Crawford Boxes for a solo shot.
After Grossman tapped an infield ball off the tip of his bat, he ended up on first with a misplay by Toro. Taking advantage of this, Marcus hit a ball off the wall in right field for an RBI double.
Roark gave up his third solo shot of the game to pinch hitter Martin Maldonado to lead off the bottom of the 5th, but a double play and a fly out later was out of the inning.
In the 6th, the A’s refused to relent, Canha singled on a weak hit that made it out to right field. Khris then moved him to third by hitting a similar grounder that no Astro defender could manage to snag, and because double digits that start with a 2 are nice, Profar drove Canha in with a sac fly.
Around the 2⁄3 point of the game every A’s batter had at least two hits and at least one RBI. The A’s also had surpassed their season high for runs, and tied the season high for home runs in a game. It was at this point that Bob swapped out Chapman for Sheldon Neuse, and Semien for Franklin Barretto.
Roark had his first non-homer related bit of trouble in the bottom of the 6th, as Garrett Stubbs missed the Crawford Boxes to hit a double, then was driven home by a Myles Straw single up the middle. Toro singled on a fly to score Straw, and that signalled the end of Roark’s night. With Buchter in relief, it took three pitches to strike out Maldonado.
With Neuse and and Barretto batting for the first time today, the A’s had their first inning without a run in the 7th, going down 1-2-3.
Seth Brown joined the game at first base in the bottom of the 7th, as Daniel Mengden came out to pitch. With only 7 pitches and some help from Brown, Mengden had a tidy inning of work.
Beau Taylor, newly required by the A’s, took over catching duties in the bottom of the 8th, even though his delayed flight didn’t get him to the stadium in time for the game’s start. Mengden started out his second inning with back-to-back walks to Straw and Alvarez. Getting a 6-4-3 double play evened things out for Mengden, and a Toro ground out kept him with scoreless innings.
While the A’s quieted down a bit in the 7th and 8th, Profar walked to lead off the 9th, and after being moved up to third on a pair of ground outs, Barretto scored Profar with an RBI single.
The Astros snuck in one more solo shot, as Maldonado got his second homer of the night off of Mengden. Reddick hit a double to follow up the dinger, and was driven home by Marisnick, who was initially called out on a slide to second, and after a replay review, the call stood. Retiring Stubbs on a pop out finished up the game, and earned Mengden a save for three innings of relief pitching.
The offence was definitely the story today, with all Athletics starters having a multi-hit game. Murphy and Olson both ended with four RBI a piece, and all starters aside from Chapman, Olson, and Profar had three hits.
While a double digit lead by the 3rd inning is usually a sign of an easy game for a starter, Tanner Roark still put in a solid start. Aside from three solo homers, he worked through the Astros without a whole lot of trouble. Right around cresting the 100 pitch mark was when Roark’s 6th inning troubles started. Tanner’s best innings were the 2nd here he turned around from a leadoff walk to get two strike outs, and the 4th where he had a 3-up-3-down inning on only 7 pitches.
Buchter’s appearance was short and sweet, getting the last out of the 6th with a 3 pitch K, Exactly what you want to see.
With two scoreless innings and being tagged for a few runs in the 9th, Mengden did well enough to carry the A’s though the back third of the game and avoid exhausting the bullpen. While Daniel’s control got him in trouble a couple times, he cleared three innings and earned a save.
With today’s win, the A’s move to 84 and 60. Tomorrow the series continues with Brett Anderson taking an as of yet unannounced Astros pitcher.