Perhaps you were wondering why the Oakland Athletics had their ups and downs. Because I know I did. Daniel Mengden wasn’t the issue last night. Rich Hill should’ve entered the game instead of Ryan Madson. But let’s focus on today’s game.
The Oakland Athletics got on the board 1-0 in the top of the second, as Stephen Vogt hit a homer to left. The A’s left three runners stranded, however, Kendall Graveman made things look easy with a six up, six down inning.
Josh Reddick became the third left-handed batter to hit the opposite field today. The A’s had a huge third inning. Vogt’s RBI single gave the A’s a 2-0 lead in the top of the third. Vogt was now 2-2 with two RBIs. Afterward, Marcus Semien walked with the bases loaded and Vogt scored to make it 3-0 A’s.
Graveman was on fire, throwing a perfect game through the first four innings. Furthermore, Vogt hit a leadoff double and became 3-3. Vogt was a triple away from achieving the cycle. Maybe it was time to believe in Vogt (or maybe not).
The Astros finally got their first hit of the game in the fifth inning, but didn’t score. There were also a couple of quick groundouts for Astros starter Scott Feldman. Reddick tripled and Khris Davis grounded out to end the top of the sixth. Maybe if the center field hill wasn’t there, Reddick would’ve had a home run to extend the A’s lead.
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There was a possibility that Vogt would complete the cycle, but the A’s had to keep getting hits, so he could hit in the ninth inning. Graveman kept dealing, tying his career high with eight innings pitched. According to A’s insider Joe Stiglich of CSN California, Graveman was in good shape at 90 pitches to shoot for the first nine inning complete game and shutout.
Unfortunately, Vogt couldn’t complete the cycle because Davis struck out on a bad pitch out of the zone. Davis was the definition of inconsistent. He was 0-for-5 today. The same goes for A’s utility man Tyler Ladendorf, who was 0-for-4. Also, Graveman had two earned runs, but still had a good outing today.
Ryan Dull came in to save the game after Graveman gave up back-to-back singles in the bottom of the ninth. But the ideal of the A’s shutout diminished when Jose Altuve grounded into a forceout. Dull had his first save opportunity with the A’s. He got the save, struck the Astros out to end the inning and helped Graveman (5-6) and the A’s (37-50) to a 3-2 win at Minute Maid Park.
The A’s have gone 15 straight games without an error. The Astros (47-40) continued to sit at second place of the AL West, winning seven of their last 10 games. Astros starter Lance McCullers (4-3) took the loss.
How did you feel about Graveman’s performance? Let me know in the comments section.