The Astros humiliated the A’s in the opening series of the 2021 season, taking all four games, outscoring Oakland 35-9.
It was the first time in Astros history that the Astros began their season with four wins on the road.
Today the Astros pulverized the A’s with the long-ball, getting a first-inning solo-shot from Kyle Tucker, his first of the year, a two-run shot by catcher Jason Castro in the second, and a three-run shot by rookie Chas McCormick in the sixth. It was McCormick’s first career homer.
Here’s the McCormick blast.
Yuli Gurriel knocked in two runs in the third with a double off the glove of center fielder Mark Canha which bounced off the wall and then directly back into Canha’s glove. Meanwhile, with two outs Jose Altuve and Yordan Alvarez were in full sprint, scoring easily.
Given the bombastic Astros offense, it is easy to overlook the stingy Astros pitching. For the series, the nine runs allowed by the Astros amount to a 2.25 ERA.
Jose Urquidy started for the Astros today, and like Lance McCullers yesterday, started shaky but escaped serious damage in the first. He did allow an RBI double to Jed Lowrie, but after loading the bases with only one out, managed a strikeout and a ground out to avoid further trouble.
Urquidy was not as sharp as usual but got through the second and third innings unscathed. But a Mark Canha triple in the fourth after 101 pitches sent Urquidy to the showers, followed by Brandon Bielak. Canha scored on a Matt Olson grounder for the last run of the game for the A’s.
Bielak ended up throwing 4.2 perfect innings with four strikeouts, needing only 44 pitches, 30 of them strikes. He also showed velocity we haven’t seen before, reaching 95.7 on the gun.
Many fans were concerned that Yuli Gurriel and Jose Altuve had passed the primes of their careers and were in their declining years. Maybe, but after four games Altuve has a .938 OPS, and Gurriel sits at 1.312 with three hits and two RBI today. And another Astro looking for a bounce-back year, Alex Bregman, is hitting 1.655 OPS. He added two hits today.
In the ultimate act of submission, the A’s finished the game with a position player on the mound, Ka’ai Tom. Apparently, Tom has a terrific changeup, as he got a scoreless ninth, getting meager outs from Jose Altuve, Kyle Tucker, and Yordan Alvarez.
The Astros take on the Angels of Los Angeles tomorrow, Sending rookie Luis Garcia to the mound against veteran Jose Quintana. Garcia is in competition with Brandon Bielak and Bryan Abreu for the final spot on the pitching staff when Jake Odorizzi gets placed on the 26-man roster.
Box score and videos HERE