Coco Crisp and Jed Lowrie both homered for the second straight day to help the Oakland Athletics finish a 3-game sweep of the Houston Astros. Lucas Harrell had possibly his worst outing as an Astro, lasting only 4 & 1/3 innings while giving up eight runs on seven hits and five walks. On the offensive side, Astros hitters continued to struggle to make contact, striking out 14 times on the afternoon. The result — a 9-3 blowout.
Harrell just wasn’t himself today, giving up three homers and struggling to find the strike zone. But the Astros offense was pretty much what we’ve come to expect. The Astros had the bases loaded with no outs in the sixth inning but subsequent strikeouts by Wallace and Corporan helped Brett Anderson avoid a big inning. The Astros plated two runs in the frame thanks to a throwing error by Lowrie, but Chris Carter was thrown out trying to advance to third.
Justin Maxwell was also thrown out trying to take an extra base earlier in the game. The physical errors weren’t there today but the Astros proved that mental errors are just as costly. This team simply isn’t good enough to get away with any fundamental lapses.
Maxwell was the only starter who didn’t strike out today and Carter had the only extra-base hit. The former A’s eighth inning triple was only his second hit of the season and the first to go for extra bases. Brett Wallace looked so lost at the plate that Bo Porter sent Ronny Cedeno in to pinch hit for him and play the final inning at first base.
The bullpen was less than stellar, although Xavier Cedeno was able to lower his ERA to 12.00 with 2 & 2/3 scoreless innings. Jose Veras, who is tabbed as the Astros closer should they ever have a late lead to protect, gave up a run on three hits in the ninth inning.
The fifth straight loss gives the Astros a 1-5 record for their season opening homestand. Now its off to the West Coast for nine games in the next ten days, starting with a 3-game set in Seattle.
Jed Lowrie came back to haunt his former team (Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)