Lucas Harrell sailed through the top of the first and his battery mate staked the Astros starter to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the inning. And then, the wheels came off. Leading off in the second, Seth Smith took advantage of the Astros defensive overshift by bunting down the third base line for a base hit.
Harrell, who has already voiced his displeasure with the Astros shifting their defense behind him, responded by coughing up six runs and failing to get out of the inning. I’m not sure if the defensive shift upset Harrell — but it sure seemed that way. When Lucas is on his game, he throws mostly cutters and sinkers and gets a ton of ground balls. Today Harrell was throwing an abnormally high percentage of curveballs — and he hung a few of them.
Astro-killer Chris Young put Oakland on top 2-1 by drilling a hanging curveball off the leftfield wall and the A’s never looked back. Edgar Gonzalez came out of the Astros bullpen and stopped the bleeding… temporarily. The Athletics added four more runs off Gonzalez in the fourth inning and the rout was on.
The silver lining for the Astros was the fact that their two hottest hitters continued to flex their muscles at the plate. Jason Castro and Matt Dominguez clubbed two homers apiece. Castro drove in another run with a single in the 11-5 blowout.