A's walk by Astros in Game 1
Daniel Gossett came down hard on himself after a shaky start last weekend at Seattle.
It was a different story Saturday, as the A’s rookie tamed the Houston Astros over six-plus innings in an 11-1 Oakland victory in the opener of a doubleheader at the Coliseum.
Gossett struck out a career-high seven and gave up just one run. He got an assist from Khris Davis, who singled home two runs in the sixth and became the first Athletic with back-to-back 100-RBI seasons since Miguel Tejada (2000-03) and Eric Chavez (2001-03).
In his previous start, Gossett (4-8) issued five walks against the Mariners and told reporters afterward that he needed to find a way to throw more strikes and pitch deeper into games. The right-hander displayed confidence Saturday against the major leagues’ highest-scoring team, scattering five hits with three walks and the seven strikeouts.
His slider looked particularly sharp early on and he spotted his fastball effectively too.
The A’s have flipped the script by taking the first two games of this four-game series against an Astros team that entered Saturday with the best road record in the majors at 45-23. Houston also arrived in Oakland with a 6-0 mark at the Coliseum this season. The A’s have won three in a row after a season-high eight-game losing streak.
PROVIDING THE SPARK
After a game-tying homer in the ninth Friday, center fielder Boog Powell had another big game Saturday afternoon. He singled home a run during the A’s three-run rally in the second, then he led off the sixth with a double to jumpstart another three-run rally and drew a bases-loaded walk in the eighth. With Marcus Semien established as Oakland’s leadoff man for now, Powell is giving the A’s a boost at the bottom of the order after shaking free from a 6-for-32 stretch.
TRIPLE THE FUN
Matt Chapman followed up a three-hit night Friday with an RBI triple in his first at-bat against Astros right-hander Charlie Morton (11-7). He finished with two RBI, including a bases-loaded walk in the eighth that was one of five consecutive free passes issued by Astros reliever Reymin Guduan.
FEELING THE HEAT
The Astros have owned the American League’s best record for much of this season, but the Cleveland Indians are making a major push for the league’s best record — and the top seed for the postseason — with their franchise-record 17-game winning streak. With their loss in Saturday’s doubleheader opener, Houston (86-55) holds just a half-game lead over the Indians in the standings.
It’s not a record one often thinks of, but the A’s tied the Oakland single-game record with five bases-loaded walks handed out by Houston pitching. They previously achieved the mark Sept. 5, 2008 at Baltimore.