The Oakland Athletics offense opened the 2021 season in predictable style, nonexistent.
Houston Astros started Zach Greinke pitched six solid innings scattering three hits, striking out four while walking none and he did not give up a run. The only blemish for him was a two out double given up to Elvis Andrus who was making his Athletics debut. He got to third on a wild pitch, yet Mark Canha ended up striking out on an offspeed pitch to end the inning.
For Oakland starter Chris Bassitt pitched decently, yet didn’t get help from his bullpen. He also got help from Chad Pinder’s defense as he made a running catch in deep right field and then made a diving catch later on.
Still Bassitt’s troubles came in the sixth. He gave up a one out double to Alex Bregman and then walked Kyle Tucker. Since it’s early in the season Bob Melvin took him out after throwing only 68 pitches. His choice Yusmeiro Petit who was solid in 2020 with a 1.66 ERA in 21.2 innings of work. He did end up struggling towards the end of the season and in the playoff in his appearances he registered a 12.46 ERA. In the spring he didn’t do any better with a 9.53 ERA.
Petit did get Carlos Correa to pop out. Unfortunately he fell behind to Yordan Alvarez who brought to runs in with a double. He then got Yuli Gurriel to end the inning. Which meant Bassitt’s line was 5.1 innings, he gave up four hits, three runs and struck out three while walking two.
Houston added two additional runs in the eighth off left-handed reliever Adam Kolarek who was making his A’s debut. Michael Brantley and Bregman hit back-to-back solo home runs. The inning didn’t go well for the Athletics, yet J.B. Wendelken got out the jam by striking out Myles Straw and Martin Maldonado.
Then it got even better in the ninth as Reymin Guduan allowed a single to Jose Altuve, walked Brantley and Bregman, gave up a sacrifice fly to Tucker, then gave up a bloop single to Carlos Correa to load the bases again, wild pitch scored Brantley and the two runners moved up, Alvarez hit a sacrifice fly increasing the lead to 8-1, fortunately the inning ended on a ground out by Gurriel.
As for Oakland’s offense once Dusty Baker went to his bullpen in the seventh that’s when the scoring chances started to take shape. Ramon Laureano doubled, then stole third. Matt Olson walked, Matt Chapman then hit a sacrifice fly. Mitch Moreland walked and then was pinch ran for, yet it was all for naught as Jed Lowrie and Sean Murphy struck out.
In the bottom of the eighth Pinder reached on an infield single and then got to second on an error by Bregman, Andrus struck out, Canha reached on an infield single, Laureano flew out to center and Olson struck out looking.
Oakland did get two runners on in the ninth. Lowrie walked and Murphy got hit by a pitch on the hand and was taken out of the game. Pinder ended the game by striking out.
Houston has now won nine straight opening day games and will send out Christian Javier for game two. Oakland will counter with Jesus Luzardo.