The Oakland Athletics continued their offensive struggles and the pitching hasn’t been much help either.
It didn’t take long for the Houston Astros to take an early 1-0 lead off starter Cole Irvin. Michael Brantley got on after being hit by a pitch, yet did leave the game. Aledmys Diaz doubled to put runners on second and third, and Kyle Tucker then singled to score Brantley.
Irvin was able to escape further damage by inducing an inning ending double play off the bat of Carlos Correa.
Oakland in the bottom of the first failed to capitalize on Lance McCullers’ wildness. He walked the first two hitters of the game and couldn’t throw a strike. The struggling Matt Chapman worked the count in his favor before swinging at two pitches that weren’t even close to being a strike for the first out of the inning. Mitch Moreland worked the count to full and was able to pick up his first hit with the A’s while also driving in a run.
McCullers struck Chad Pinder out on three pitches and Stephen Piscotty struck out looking to end the A’s threat.
Houston got the run right back in the second. The inning was adventurous for Irvin was well as Yordan Alvarez singled and then reached second on a wild pitch, Yuli Gurriel walked, and Myles Straw singled to load the bases
Fortunately Irvin he got to face the struggling Martin Maldonado and he got him to strike out, Jose Altuve then singled to bring in the run. Yet Chas McCormick who replaced Brantley struck out looking and Diaz then flew out for no further damage.
It unfortunately fell apart for Irvin in the fifth. He hit McCormick with a pitch and Diaz singled. He then got Tucker to pop out. That though was enough for Bob Melvin who went to the bullpen and brought in Lou Trivino.
His first batter was Correa and he struck him out after getting ahead in the count early. He painted the outside corner with a 97-miles-per-hour fastball.
Interestingly enough Melvin elected to have Trivino pitch to Alvarez instead of intentionally walking him with a base open. Alvarez has seen the ball well all series long took advantage after taking the first pitch for a ball he didn’t miss on the second pitch he saw for a three-run home run.
That home run sealed the win for Houston.
The A’s did get their leadoff hitter on in the bottom of the seventh inning has Piscotty got hit by a pitch, yet Elvis Andrus hit the ball right back to the pitcher for an easy double play. Tony Kemp then fouled out and that took only three pitches.
Canha walked with one out in the eighth and Olson singled him to third off of Enoli Paredes. Chapman then walked to load the bases and Astros manager Dusty Baker went to the bullpen and brought in Brooks Raley who then faced pinch-hitter Jed Lowrie who struck out. Pinder then flew out to deep center to end the threat.
Melvin once again went with Reymin Guduan who pitched terribly. He gave up a single to Maldonando, then walked Altuve, gave up the first major league hit to McCormick an RBI double, Diaz singled, Gudaun then threw a wild pitch scoring McCormick, another wild pitch got Diaz to third, Tucker then hit a sacrifice fly.
It didn’t get any better after recording the first out. Correa singled, a third wild pitch then got thrown. Melvin finally elected to get the bullpen going, yet Guduan did get Alvarez to ground out. The inning finally came to an end with a lineout to left field by Gurriel and the score 9-1.
The only noteworthy A’s highlight in the game was by Andrus defensively as he robbed Maldonado of a single.
Note: It’s the first time Oakland has started a season 0-3 since 1996. The A’s so far are 2-22 with runners in scoring position. When including the playoffs it’s the fourth consecutive game that A’s pitching has allowed 8 or more runs to Houston.
Year 13 and Elvis Andrus is still making plays like this. 😳 pic.twitter.com/JtttHUrU0m
— MLB (@MLB) April 3, 2021