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Home run barrage sinks A’s in 10-1 loss to Astros

Ryan Noda adds spark but its not enough to avoid series sweep

Houston Astros v Oakland Athletics Photo by Kavin Mistry/Getty Images

The Oakland Athletics allowed seven home runs and suffered their 11th straight loss in a 10-1 defeat to the Houston Astros Sunday afternoon.

Manager Mork Kotsay chose to go with Ken Waldichuk as the opener. The move was made to alleviate some the stress the starting rotation has been feeling. Luis Medina was scheduled to replace Waldichuk in the second inning. The Houston Astros sent Christian Javier to the mound. The twenty-six-year-old has won his last three starts.

Waldichuk looked great in the opener role. Earning to first inning punchouts of Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman. However, he gave up a solo homer to Yordan Alvarez that gave the Astros the early 1-0 lead. Waldichuk left the game as planned and his stat line was what Kotsay wanted, minus the homer.

Ryan Noda got the A’s on the scoreboard with a leadoff homer off of Javier. Seth Brown put himself in scoring position with a single and stolen base, but flyouts from Shea Langeliers and JJ Bleday left Brown stranded.

Waldichuk gave way to Luis Medina to start the second. Medina issued a one-out walk to Corey Julks, but then got Yainer Diaz to bounce into an inning-ending double play. He again found himself in trouble in the third as Chas McCormick worked a one-out walk and then moved up to second on a single by Altuve. With Pena at the plate with a 3-1 count, Medina was called for a pitch clock violation to load the bases for Alvarez. However, Medina would once again escape as Alvarez grounded softly back to the mound to start a 1-2-3 double play.

Noda led off the bottom of the third with a double off the wall in right center, but Javier retired the heart of the order in Rooker, Brown and Langeliers in order to leave him stranded.

Medina retired the first two hitters in the fourth, but then allowed a single to Julks. Diaz then reached on an infield single to Jace Peterson. That would come back to haunt Medina as Jake Meyers took him deep to left for a three-run home run to give the Astros a 4-1 lead.

Noda reached again with a two-out walk in the fifth, but Javier got Rooker to ground out to end the inning. The A’s threatened again in the sixth against Astros reliever Parker Mushinski. Langeliers worked a one out walk. After Bleday flew out for the second out, Ramon Laureano was hit by a pitch to put runners at first and second. Pinch hitter Aledmys Diaz then singled to left to load the bases, but Peterson lined out sharply to Pena at short to leave the runners stranded.

Medina came back out for the seventh and struck out Meyers to start the inning. McCormick and Altuve then took him deep for back-to-back home runs to extend the lead to 6-1. Kotsay then summoned Sam Long from the bullpen who struck out Pena and then got Alvarez to pop out to escape with no further damage.

Medina exited having allowed seven hits, three walks and five runs in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out five while throwing 86 pitches.

Long allowed a solo home run to Jose Abreu, his first of the season, in the eighth to push the lead to 7-1. Houston added three more runs in the ninth as Pena and Alvarez took Garrett Acton deep with back-to-back home runs to extend the deficit to 10-1.

The A’s finished the game with six hits and had their chances, but were just 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left eight men on base.

The loss is Oakland’s 11th straight and drops them to 10-45 for the season. They will continue their homestand Monday when they begin a three-game series against the Atlanta Braves.