A’s come out swinging to beat Astros 11-3
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Jed Lowrie insisted he calmly asked Houston second baseman Jose Altuve why the Astros were trying to hit him with a pitch in the third inning. Lowrie had tried to bunt in the first with his Oakland Athletics already leading by seven runs, yet said it was because the defense had shifted.
Oh, the debates of baseball’s unwritten rules.
Alberto Callaspo hit a three-run homer and the A’s went deep four times Friday night to back Sonny Gray in an 11-3 rout of the Astros.
In an unusual move, Houston manager Bo Porter left the dugout in the third to yell at Lowrie moments after the No. 2 hitter flied out following two inside pitches.
”Nothing happened,” Porter said. ”The game takes care of itself.”
Lowrie said the situation dictated that he try to put a bunt down, and the first inning is far too early not to look to add on runs.
”I’ve seen crazier things happen than a team come back from seven runs. I don’t know what the big deal is. If they want to hold a grudge, that’s their decision,” he said. ”I just asked Altuve a question in about this tone and Bo came running out of the dugout yelling at me. I just don’t understand why he came out in such a rage. … I just don’t get it. I don’t know what it shows, but not a lot of confidence in his own team. Point blank.”
Josh Reddick and Coco Crisp each added a two-run shot for Oakland. Yoenis Cespedes hit a solo homer in the second inning to follow up his two-run single in the first against Jarred Cosart (1-2).
Cespedes’ single came one batter before Callaspo connected for his second home run of the season. John Jaso drew Cosart’s fourth walk of the first inning before Reddick hit his first homer with his own towering drive to right field.
That chased Cosart, who retired only one batter before being replaced by Paul Clemens.
Gray (3-0) gave up more than one earned run for the first time this season. He allowed RBI singles to Dexter Fowler and George Springer in the fifth along with Chris Carter’s sacrifice fly before Crisp homered in the bottom half.
Oakland won its ninth in 11 games after going 7-2 on the club’s first road trip. The A’s had their four-game winning streak snapped Wednesday at the Angels, but are the only team in the majors yet to lose back-to-back games.
Cosart received a mound visit in the first after consecutive one-out walks to Josh Donaldson and Brandon Moss loaded the bases. After a high pitch near Cespedes’ head, the Cuban slugger lined a single into center field.
Cosart’s quick exit ended a solid stretch in which Astros starters posted a 3.00 ERA over the previous seven games.
Gray allowed nine hits, struck out four and walked two in six innings as the A’s handed Houston its fifth straight loss and sixth in seven games.
Springer went 2 for 5 while batting cleanup for the first time, two days after making his major league debut. Porter said he would have preferred to avoid putting the prized prospect in that position in his third game, but the manager wanted to shake up the lineup to get the Astros going.
Oakland’s eight runs in the first two innings were more than the seven Houston totaled in its previous four.
”More than anything for us it was the early runs,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. ”We hadn’t been doing that lately.”
Astros left fielder Alex Presley was a late scratch with flu-like symptoms and was replaced by L.J. Hoes.
NOTES: Reddick homered for the first time in 87 at-bats since Sept. 15. It was his fifth hit of the year. ”Actually helping the team for once felt really good,” he said. … A’s LHP Scott Kazmir (2-0) is set to start Saturday after experiencing arm trouble in his last outing. … Springer got his first stolen base. … The Astros went 3-7 at the Coliseum last season and 4-15 overall against the A’s. … Oakland pitcher A.J. Griffin, sidelined since the start of the season with an elbow injury, is yet to begin a throwing program and Melvin isn’t sure when that will happen. … Gray is 5-1 in nine career games against AL West teams.