Game 1: Astros 7 Athletics 2
Keuchel (2-0) has continued his bounce back after last season, limiting the Athletics offense to just four hits and one run while striking out seven in seven innings pitched.
This was the first game Keuchel has allowed more than two hits. This outing brings Keuchel’s season stats to 21 innings pitched, 15 K’s, and a 0.62 WHIP. Keuchel sits fourth in the American League in ERA at 0.86.
Nori Aoki and Brian McCann led the way for the offense in the fifth inning and it did not slow down. Aoki had a 404 ft Homerun in the fifth and McCann hit a bases loaded two-run double in the seventh that opened the door for the rest of the offense and bullpen to finish this game off.
Chris Devenski and Michael Feliz combined to pitch two innings of relief allowing three hits and one run while striking out four.
Game 2: Astros 10 Athletics 6
Arguably one of Lance McCullers worst outings of his young career, again the offense and bullpen were able to salvage a win for the Astros.
McCullers was only able to last four and a third innings against an Athletics offense that rocked him early. McCullers allowed five runs, including two homeruns, on eight hits while striking out six. MCullers will seek to redeem himself on Friday In Tampa Bay against the Rays.
The Bullpen had their work cut out for them. Tony Sipp, Jandel Gustave, Will Harris, Ken Giles, and Luke Gregerson combined to pitch four and two thirds, allowing only one run on two hits while striking out five.
The offense heated up in the sixth inning where they scored at least two runs in every inning thereafter including four in the eighth inning. George Springer hit his league leading sixth homerun of the season in the eighth inning as well.
The Astros fans watched in terror in the ninth as Oakland right hander Frankie Montas hit Carlos Correa in the hand with a 94-mile per hour fastball that forced Correa to leave the game. Because the bench had already been used up earlier in the game, Mike Fiers had to pinch run for Correa.
This made the bottom of the ninth inning’s defensive alignment interesting, Marwin Gozalez would shift from first to third and Alex Bregman from third to shortstop, leaving outfielder Josh Reddick to man first base.
X-rays would come back negative and show Correa only suffered a hand contusion, and with that all of “Astros Nation” simultaneously exhaled hard enough that is could have been felt on the east coast.
Call it an implosion of the Athletics for blowing a five run lead; I will call it a continued display of an extremely good offensive lineup that picks their pitchers up when they need to.
The Astros come home for a four game set against the Los Angeles Angels who currently sit two and half games behind Houston for the lead in the American League West. In this series the Astros will send Charlie Morton, Joe Musgrove, Mike Fiers, and Dallas Keuchel to the hill to face their West coast rivals.
Over the last four games the Astros offense has strung together 34 runs on 48 hits; or they are averaging eight and a half runs on 12 hits per game.