The A’s collected their first sweep of the season, taking down the Houston Astros in three games at the Coliseum capped by today’s 4-2 victory.
Of all the teams to get their first sweep against, it’s extra sweet to get it against the division rival. On top of that, this was the first time they were swept this year, too!
Led by a great starting pitching performance, Oakland played a clean game all around, hitting home runs, stringing together hits to add on insurance, and made all the plays on defense today. The bullpen had two perfect innings to end it, so a great team win from everyone.
Bats do damage
With a chance at their first sweep of the season, the hitters got to work early. A pair of Stephens teamed up for back-to-back home runs to give the A’s the lead in the second against Cristian Javier:
Those home runs were Vogt’s fifth and Piscotty’s fourth of 2022. An interesting note, Vogt has 13 hits and five of those are home runs; he’s not connecting much but when he does he makes it count.
They got another run in the fifth thanks to Tony Kemp. After Jonah Bride singled and stole second, the hot-hitting Kemp continued his sizzling series and drove a ball up the middle to bring in Oakland’s third run.
They added on in the seventh with some help from Houston when Piscotty singled, advanced to second on a wild pitch then came around to score on a Skye Bolt RBI single:
Skye singles and Piscotty bolts home ⚡ pic.twitter.com/2SI3YvKkgo— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) July 27, 2022
That gave Oakland an extra insurance run but they missed out on more when Kemp roped a double into right field that hoped over the fence. That ground-rule double prevented Bolt from easily scoring from first and the A’s eventually stranded him and Kemp in scoring position. That was the final hit of the day for the Green & Gold.
The left-hander had faced the Astros three times entering today and dominated them in all three starts. He continued that this afternoon as he held Houston to just two runs over seven very strong innings. The only damage against him today came off a single and RBI triple in the fifth inning, then a no-doubter solo home run off the prodigious bat of Yordan Alvarez the next inning. He retired 11 in a row at one point and sat down in order the final five batters he faced after the Alvarez bomb
- Cole Irvin: 7 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 4 K, 99 pitches
With today’s outing, Irvin dropped his season ERA to 3.05, comfortably leading the team in that department. A lot of focus in the first half of the season was paid to eventual All-Star Paul Blackburn but Irvin has perhaps been the more consistent pitcher the entire year. His best moment of today came when he got a much-needed strikeout with one out and a runner at third.
Workhorse Domingo Acevedo relieved Irvin and started the eighth inning, making his A.L.-leading 46th appearance. He allowed a 2-out double to Yuli Gurriel and intentionally walked Alvarez to put the tying run on base but stranded both of them when he got Aledmys Diaz to ground out to Elvis Andrus at short.
With regular closer Lou Trivino coming off back-to-back save appearances, Mark Kotsay instead turned to A.J. Puk for his fifth save opportunity of 2022. He’d blown three of his four save chances this year, but he didn’t have any problems today as he sat down Houston 1-2-3 in the ninth to secure his second save of the year, capped by a nice play by Vimael Machin at third to end the series.
How sweep it is! A great series to finish up the homestand, and the A’s have now won 8 of their past 11. The playoffs are out of the question at this point but it would be great if some of the young guys found their footing here over the next couple months and play somewhere close to .500 ball. They’ve gotten off to a good start here in the second half.
They’ll have a day off tomorrow before they head out on the road to begin a two-city road trip. They’ll be back in action Friday night in Chicago to take on the White Sox. Righty James Kaprielian is slated for that start. See you all then!