That went about as we should have expected.
The Oakland A’s had a date with Justin Verlander on Saturday, and the result was a 5-0 shutout loss to the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.
Perhaps no other active pitcher in the majors has the A’s number like Verlander does. He usually beats them, and downright dominates them half the time, including some haunting postseason memories. This summer he’s been as good as ever at age 39, and in his first matchup against Oakland in June he carried a no-hitter into the 7th inning.
Today was another vintage performance from the two-time Cy Young. Verlander breezed through six innings of scoreless ball, striking out 10 batters and walking none. The A’s did manage six hits against him, but only once did they string two of those runners together in the same inning, and that threat quickly ended with a double play and a popout.
Houston’s bullpen finished off the final three frames, with only brief drama in the 9th. Oakland put a pair of runners on base again, this time with a single and a walk, but nobody else put the ball in play as the game ended on one last strikeout, their 16th of the afternoon.
On the other side of the ball, A’s starter Jared Koenig held his own for seven solid innings but couldn’t quite match all the zeroes. The big blow came early — with two outs in the 2nd inning, the Astros suddenly loaded the bases and then blasted a grand slam. Another rally in the 4th inning added one more run, but otherwise Koenig kept Houston almost entirely off the bases.
- Koenig: 7 ip, 5 runs, 3 Ks, 2 BB, 6 hits, 86 pitches
Four of his innings were perfect 1-2-3 jobs, and in his final inning he allowed just a single. There were lots of loud outs along the way, but other than one awful mistake pitch he didn’t give up much else.
The pitch Maldonado hit for a grand slam: pic.twitter.com/xN19LVDkyn— Matt Kawahara (@matthewkawahara) July 16, 2022
Unfortunately there wasn’t any room for error at all against Verlander, as there so often isn’t, and the result was the A’s 10th shutout loss of the season.
Justin Verlander has struck out six of his first 12 batters and just tied Bob Gibson in career strikeouts at 3,117.— Matt Kawahara (@matthewkawahara) July 16, 2022
Gibson career innings: 3,884 1/3.
Verlander career innings (so far): 3,094 1/3