Have you been in a game that seems to never end? If you haven’t, then take a look at the rough contest the Astros lost 14-2 against the Athletics on Friday night to begin the series. The ‘Stros bullpen just plummeted in one of the most difficult, painful games to watch this season.
The contest was close and interesting through the first six innings. At the end of the day, the score was 3-2 to begin the seventh —thanks in part to José Altuve’s 30th homer of the season—, but everything fell off the Earth in the final third of the game in which the A’s ambushed Yimi García, Brooks Raley, and Seth Martínez.
With that home run, Altuve reached the 30th plateau for the second time in his career and is now just one more long ball to tie his personal best (31, set in 2019).
The day began with bad news for the Astros. For the second time during this month, Zack Greinke was placed on the injured list, now with a sore neck. That’s why Brandon Bielak ended up starting in Greinke’s place. Despite all the rush, Peter Solomon and Bielak combined for six innings of six hits and three earned runs, along with seven strikeouts.
But that was it. The Astros couldn’t capitalize when they have a few chances to score and the Athletics did just that. They scored 11 times between innings seven and eight with, for example, a two-run double by Starling Marté, a grand slam from Chad Pinder’s bat, and Matt Olson connected a bases-clearing double.
This is the first time the Astros surrender 14 runs in a game this year.
On the pitching side, Frankie Montas was almost untouchable for the A’s to prove he’s got the Astros’ number. This was their fourth face-off of the 2021 campaign, and he’s gone 24 2/3 innings with 20 hits and six earned runs (3-1 record) plus 29 strikeouts.
With the Astros closing to securing a playoff berth, both teams will meet up again on Saturday (3:07 pm CT) with Framber Valdez on the mound. Also left-hander Sean Manaea gets the ball for Oakland.