Heading into game three of the Houston series, the A’s looked to play spoilers, sweep the reigning World Series champions and end their six game road trip with a winning record.
Oakland RHP Paul Blackburn retired the top of the Houston lineup to end the first. This snapped his dubious streak of allowing at least one run in the first inning in his last three starts.
Alex Bregman walked to start the second and Yainer Diaz moved him into scoring position with a single to left field but that is all Houston could do against Paul Blackburn. Jon Singleton ended the inning with a groundout to Zack Gelof.
Heading into the top of the third inning, Blackburn found himself in real trouble. After walking Jose Altuve and Jeremy Pena, Blackburn served up back-to-back homers to Yordan Alvarez and Alex Bregman. The Alvarez shot came on a 3-1 count and drove in three runs, while Bregman’s was a solo shot. The Astros took a 4-0 lead.
Air Yordan said it's time to take flight. pic.twitter.com/KvixqzKhqd— Houston Astros (@astros) September 14, 2023
After cruising through three innings of dominant pitching, Hunter Brown inexplicably walked Ryan Noda and Seth Brown in the fourth. The Astros pitcher had five strikeouts and overpowered the A’s with his four-seam fastball. Shea Langeliers struck out to end the inning.
Mark Kotsay replaced Blackburn with Devin Sweet to start the fourth. Sweet allowed a single and a walk, but got Pena to pop out and then struck out Alvarez to end the inning.
Hunter Brown remained hitless through five innings. The only blemishes for Brown were two walks and a hit batter. Kyle Muller entered the game in the bottom of the fifth and walked Michael Brantley before giving up an RBI double to Yainer Diaz.
Houston manager Dusty Baker made a pitching change heading onto the top of the sixth. Astros reliever Rafael Montero replaced Hunter Brown. The Houston righty retired the side and kept the no-hitter intact with the Astros leading 5-0.
Muller came back out for the sixth and issued a two-out walk to Pena, but picked him off first to end the inning.
Hector Neris entered in the seventh and retired the side in order. Easton Lucas replaced Muller in the home half of the seventh. After striking out Alvarez and getting Bregman to groundout, Lucas gave up a solo homer to Kyle Tucker to push the lead to 6-0.
The A’s remained hitless against Bryan Abreu in the eighth. Francisco Perez allowed a one out single to Singleton but retired Jake Meyers and Jose Altuve to send the game to the ninth.
Ryan Presley entered the game for Houston in the ninth looking to seal the no-hit bid. He got Tony Kemp to ground out for the first out, but then walked Zack Gelof on a close 3-1 pitch. Ryan Noda then stepped to the plate and singled to center to break up the no-hitter.
You can breathe A's fans ... There will be no no-hitter today pic.twitter.com/Gr9a0C3eSA— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) September 14, 2023
Seth Brown followed with another single to center that scored Gelof to give the A’s their first run of the game. Langeliers then delivered a sacrifice fly that scored Noda to make it 6-2. The rally would end there as Brent Rooker went down looking to end the game.
Pitching was the story for this game. Houston rookie Hunter Brown had an incredible five inning performance against the as with seven strikeouts, two walks and one hit batter. The Astros bullpen came in and were just as masterful against an Oakland line up that tagged them for ten hits the night before.
The A’s suffer their 100th loss of the season, but end their road trip with a 3-3 mark. They will enjoy an off day Thursday before returning to Oakland for a three-game series against the San Diego Padres.