The A’s dropped the first game of the series against the Astros, falling 5-2 on Thursday evening in Houston.
The starting pitching did its job and kept the game close, but the bullpen let it get away late while the bats didn’t get much going outside of one big hit. The loss clinched Oakland’s 92nd loss of the year. They’ll have to go at least 11-7 the rest of the way to avoid 100 losses.
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It has been an up and down season for starter James Kaprielian in his first full big-league season. He had an up day yesterday, though, as he fired off six strong innings of two-run ball against the first-place rival Astros’ potent lineup.
Houston struck first, scoring on an RBI double in the third. It didn’t take the A’s long to strike back, however. Coming up with the bases loaded in the top of the fourth and down a run, rookie first baseman Dermis Garcia put Oakland on the board with a 2-run single to take the lead:
Garcia stays #DrumTogether pic.twitter.com/E1i5rvfaJb— Oakland A's (@Athletics) September 16, 2022
That was the high point for the offense, though, as Houston kept them from scoring any more runs the rest of the way, collecting just one more hit, a 2-out triple from Sean Murphy. They just had no answer for Lance McCullers Jr. today.
Speaking of Murph’, Kaprielain finished the sixth with a little help from his catcher:
Murph ➡️ TK pic.twitter.com/rKDBzjOOsx— Oakland A's (@Athletics) September 16, 2022
Once Houston was into the Oakland bullpen, it all fell apart. Joel Payamps relieved Kap and allowed a single and 2-run homer, and lefty Sam Moll yielded his own run on a couple singles and HBP. It was a lead Houston didn’t relinquish as Oakland lost on Roberto Clemente Day.
Another day, another loss for the 2022 version of the Oakland Athletics. It’s hard to win games when you only rack up three hits, and it doesn’t help when the team collectively strikes out 16 times, either. On the bright side, Kaprielian bounced back from a couple tougher outings, Dermis Garcia continues to look more and more comfortable in the bigs, and Sean Murphy continues to be one of the best catchers in the league.
These two squads will meet up again tomorrow night for game 2 of this 4-game set. It’ll be a pitching matchup of complete opposites as rookie right-hander Adrian Martinez will be getting the start opposite future Hall-of-Famer and A’s killer Justin Verlander, who will be returning from a short IL stint.