Lucas Harrell worked two scoreless innings and got two outs in the third inning. Granted he also had runners on first and second, but he only needed one more out to escape the mini-jam. Harrell got that out on a fly out by Stephen Vogt, but seven runs scored in only five batters before that final out of the inning landed in right fielder L.J. Hoes' glove.
Brandon Moss doubled off the left field wall to score two Athletics, Yoenis Cespedes followed with a single to left to score Moss, Alberto Callaspo walked, Daric Barton singled to score Cespedes and Seth Smith capped off Harrell's misery with a three-run bomb to right field.
That five-batter span led to Houston's best pitcher in 2012 being saddled with his MLB-leading 16th loss of the season. Disappointing is an understatement for Harrell's 2013 season and his spot start for Paul Clemens (blister) on Sunday only made things worse.
A pretty easy case could be made that Harrell's reliever in the fourth inning, Erik Bedard, should have gotten the call when Clemens couldn't go. Bedard made it easy for those critics as he followed with four scoreless innings. September recall Jorge De Leon added a clean frame in the eighth.
In the fifth, Bo Porter was ejected for arguing balls and strikes with
outstanding umpire Hunter Wendelstedt. Of course, the jokes flew.
Bo Porter doesn't even want to watch this game— Astros County (@AstrosCounty) September 8, 2013
Even Bo Porter doesn't want to watch the #Astros. #Athletics lead 7-1.— Casey Pratt (@CaseyPrattCSN) September 8, 2013
The Astros did get on the board in the first with Jonathan Villar singling to start the game and Jose Altuve driving him in with a double to the gap in left-center field. Houston would go on to have eight hits on the afternoon, but went a deplorable 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position.
Hoes was the only Astro to have more than one hit as he went 2-for-2 with two walks. He was driven in by a Brandon Barnes' single in the seventh inning to cap the Astros offensive output on Sunday.
Rookie phenoms will face off Monday night in Seattle as Jarred Cosart takes on Taijuan Walker and the Mariners.