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Game #93: A’s rally past Astros 4-3, enter ASG break with a series win

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Houston Astros Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

A big rally in the 6th and a liner up the foul line pushed the A’s ahead of Houston to secure the first series win against the Astros since last September.

Making a spot start, Adam Oller outdid expectations from his previous appearances in the A’s rotation. The bullpen carried a tie game for

*** Click here to revisit today’s Game Thread ***

There was some early grief in the game from the umpiring team. A clear strike three to Jeremy Peña was called a ball, then on the next pitch Peña was called safe at first, supposedly beating out the throw after Vimael Machin dropped an easy bouncing grounder. Thankfully, an incredibly short call to New York reversed the obviously incorrect call, and the A’s didn’t have to spend nearly the entire game without a challenge.

Adam Oller had a solid first four innings in his appearance today, managing to right the ship compared to the majority of his previous A’s starts this season. The Tucker home run in the 1st was the only major damage until the 5th when Jose Altuve singled on a tough grounder to short, then Peña mashed a two-run dinger that ended Oller’s day. While he got taken for the 3 runs on two homers, Oller seemed much more settled in on the mound. There were a few risky warning track fly-outs, but thankfully they stayed within the fences and the score didn’t get too tilted towards Houston. Despite the dingers this is more of what we want to see from Oller, who’s start was his first appearance with the A’s this month.

The A’s big inning was fuelled by poor Astros defence. Ramon Laureano got the A’s on the board with a solo shot to the left-field boxes in the 6th. The run spurred an A’s rally as Sean Murphy followed with a liner that was dropped by Chas McCormick, then Seth Brown knocked a comebacker that wasn’t fielded cleanly by Odorizzi who then fumbled the toss to 1B, allowing Brown to reach base safely and Murphy to get to third. Chad Pinder scored Murphy with a lofted double that Jake Meyers was unable to field on a dive in centre field, and a Stephen Vogt pinch-hit sac fly tied the game up with Brown crossing the plate.

Another dropped ball by Machin almost let the Astros retake the lead in the 6th, as what should have been out number two in the inning instead moved a runner to second. But Machin was redeemed by another fielding opportunity in the next at-bat, a following grounder to Elvis Andrus ended the inning without disrupting the tie.

Pinder tapped his third hit of the afternoon in the top of the 8th off Rafael Montero, lining the ball over the right-side infield. Chad was then able to take second base on a wild pitch, which was the game’s difference-maker as Vogt followed by driving a barely-fair single up the right foul line and scoring Pinder to take the lead.

Sam Moll took over and was able to clear the rest of the 5th inning after the Peña homer. Domingo Acevedo carried the 6th, A.J. Puk the 7th, and Zach Jackson the 8th. All three avoided major incident, as Machin’s error led to the only base runner that managed to make it into scoring position across any of their innings. Aledmys Diaz almost drove a ball to centre to tie the game against Jackson, but it died on the track.

It came down to the bottom of the 9th, with Lou Trivino and a one-run lead. While the first at-bat against Meyers ran full, Lou was able to strike out Meyers and Matijevic, then induced an Altuve pop-up for the save and ended the A’s first half on a high note. The bullpen combined for 4.2 scoreless innings of work and suppressed the Astros bats after Peña’s homer in the 5th.

Skye Bolt was removed from the game in 4th inning, after getting hit by a pitch in the hand in the 2nd. Bolt stayed in the game following the HBP, playing centre field, but was subbed out for Dermis Garcia the next time Bolt was up to bat. This spot in the order ended up falling to Vogt, who hit the RBI single for the go-ahead run.

The A’s now head to a four day break, except for Paul Blackburn who is headed to the All-Star Game. A’s baseball will resume on Thursday July 21 with a double-header in Oakland against the Detroit Tigers. Don’t forget that the 2022 MLB Draft starts at 4:00pm PST, and we will keep you updated with the A’s first and second round picks!