On Thursday, the Astros crashed into a pitching wall named Frankie Montás. In a good pitching duel between Lance McCullers Jr. and Montás, the Athletics avoided the sweep and got the better part of a 2-1 score.
Oakland ambushed the Astros’ starter with two runs in the first, brought in by a Matt Olson ground-rule double and an RBI single by Jed Lowrie. That was enough for the A’s to cut Houston’s six-game winning streak and close a little bit the gap between them and the ‘Stros in the AL West.
After the 2 run first inning, McCullers Jr. —whose record is now 6-2 with a 2.94 ERA— looked great with 6.0 more episodes of four hits and zero runs, but the Astros couldn’t decode Montás’ pitches for most of the game. He struck out 10 hitters across 6 2/3 frames.
With two outs in the bottom seventh, Kyle Tucker made it interesting with his 18th double of the campaign and Chas McCormick followed with a double of his own (6) to drive in Tucker and leave things 2-1.
Thw Astros faced righty Lou Trivino and lefty Jake Diekman in the eighth and ninth. In both innings, the lead-off guy got on base, but Houston wasn’t able to score in either inning.
In the ninth, Yordan Álvarez beat the shift to open the inning with a single. He was replaced with pinch runner Myles Straw, but the next batter Yuli Gurriel immediately went after the first pitch and hit a grounder into a double play erasing the leadoff hit.
The bullpen had a good performance once again, with Andre Scrubb and Joe Smith throwing two scoreless innings combined.
After losing two out of three in New York from May 4 to 6, the Astros will begin a three-game series against the Yankees tomorrow at Minute Maid Park. This Friday (7:10 pm CT), Jake Odorizzi will get the ball and try to keep his momentum going — since June 15, he’s 2-0 with an 0.45 ERA across 20 innings of eight hits and one earned run.