On an overcast Sunday afternoon in the Bay Area, the defending World Champion Astros used the long ball, a decent if not vintage pitching performance from Christian Javier, and a strong bullpen to get the better of the struggling Athletics.
The Marine layer over the Oakland Coliseum provided a fittingly gloomy setting. A’s fans have watched with a sense of impending doom as events have unfolded over the past week and the momentum of a potential move to Las Vegas has gathered steam. On Friday the financial details of the deal were revealed and news broke today that the stadium bill is on the agenda of the Nevada legislature for discussion tomorrow.
Amid this atmosphere a crowd of just 8,809 diehards came out on a holiday weekend with the defending champion Astros in town. For those in attendance, there is no waiting in line for concessions, plenty of room to stretch and relax and enjoy the play on the field. In the outfield you can read the banners protesting against owner John Fisher and President Dave Kaval, including one that made A’s fans feelings clear, stating “Empty Seats by design”.
On the field, the Astros got off to a quick start with a solo shot by Yordan Alvarez in the 1st inning off Ken Waldichuck, breaking his 0-5 in the series. The A’s would answer right back with a homer leading off the home half of the first by Ryan Noda. Javier would settle down after that, and although he issued 3 walks and found himself pitching from behind in the count too often, the A’s would not score on him again. He lowered is ERA below 3 with this outing, to 2.97.
The A’s went to Luis Medina in the 2nd, and he started well, giving up just a walk in the inning and getting out of a jam in the 3rd by getting Alvarez to ground back to the mound with the bases loaded. Medina however has struggled with giving up the long ball and Jake Meyers would get to him in the 4th inning for a 3 run home run.
Medina would proceed to give up back to back homers in the 7th to Chas McCormick and Jose Altuve (his first of the year).
Jose Abreu, who was 0-10 in the series to this point, homered off Sam Long in the 8th. In the 9th inning the Astros showed no mercy. Yordan Alvarez (his second) and Jeremy Pena homered off Garrett Acton.
The Astros bullpen backed up Javier with 4 shutout innings, giving up just 2 hits, 2 walks and striking out 4.
The Seven home runs hit by Houston is an Oakland Coliseum record. Houston had more home runs than the A’s had hits (6). Houston is 6-0 against Oakland this season.