• Brian L. Barefield

Cold Bats Leads To Another Astros Loss

Photo Credit/Houston Astros

What started out as a great homestand seemed to turn quickly on the Houston Astros. After opening up the three-game series against the Oakland A’s with a 6-2 victory in game one, the big bats for Houston suddenly went cold. Oakland’s 7-3 gives them their third win of the season and evens the series against Houston at one a piece after taking back-to-back games in Minute Maid Park.

“This is the life of baseball,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said about his team dropping consecutive games for the first time this season. “One week you are hot and the next week you are not, and you don’t know why exactly. When you play teams back-to-back, they do make adjustments to you.”

Oakland scored two runs in the top of the fourth inning to lead 2-0 against Astros starter Josè Urquidy (0-1) and pushed the lead to 4-0 the very next inning after a Mark Canha was driven home by Ramon Laureano who hit a home run to left field on the first pitch from Urquidy. Astros manager Dusty Baker brought in reliever Brandon Bielak in the top of the seventh inning to replace Urquidy and it brought the A’s bats back to life as they scored two more runs as the lead increased to 6-0.

Photo Credit/Oakland A's

“We started hitting,” said Oakland pitcher Frankie Montas (1-1) who allowed one run over six innings. “Guys started hitting, starting pitchers are starting to do better, you know so the vibe is changing. We’re the team where we look out for each other and when we do that, we’re going to win ball games and we’re just going to go out there and keep grinding.”

Kyle Tucker would start a rally for the Astros in the bottom of the seventh inning with a solo home run to right field that would end the day for Montas. Jose Altuve’s double would drive in Myles Straw who had reached base on a fielder’s choice and Michael Brantley would bring Altuve home with a triple to cut the lead to 6-3. Oakland would bring in another reliever to get Carlos Correa to fly out to end the inning and any hopes of a comeback as the A’s would get an insurance run in the top of the eighth inning off of reliever Ryne Stanek.

“It’s just two games," Tucker said. “Our season is so long. we’re going to lose games; we’re going win games. It’s just one of those days where they just played better than us."

After scoring 41 runs in the first five games against the A’s this season, the Astros have managed only five runs in the last two games while giving up 13. Houston will start a three-game series against the Detroit Tigers on Monday as they welcome back former manager A.J. Hinch.

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