Last weekend, the Oakland Athletics took three out of four against the Houston Astros, in the process logging a handful of firsts for the 2019 season.
After being beaten nine times in their 11 meetings this season, the Oakland Athletics took three out of four against the Houston Astros, gaining ground in the AL West race (7.5 games back) and putting together some of their cardinal wins this year.
Not only did they win more games in this series than they had all season against the kings of the AL West, but they put up the first series win over the Astros in almost exactly a calendar year (2-1 series win from Aug. 17 to 19 of last season).
The A’s won the first two games of that series, also marking the last three-game winning streak the Green and Gold had over Houston. The first win in that streak came on Jul 12, 2018, the fourth game in a series in Houston that represented the last time the A’s have won three games in a single series against the ‘Stros. (For reference: Ramon Laureano had yet to make his MLB debut and Mike Fiers was still on the Tigers).
Suffice it to say, the Astros have dominated the A’s handily in the calendar year – until last weekend.
Even more dominant against Oakland has been Justin Verlander, who has tortured A’s fans and hitters in the postseason for over a decade.
The A’s withstood another solid start from Verlander – two ER and 10 strikeouts in seven innings on Friday night – and won 3-2 in a 13-inning thriller in what was their first win in a game Verlander has started since another instant classic, game two of the 2013 ALDS, when Sonny Gray outlasted Verlander and Stephen Vogt walked off with a single in the ninth.
Since that game, the Oakland Athletics were 0-7 in games Verlander started, including 0-2 this season.
Two A’s relievers also had season-best showings on Friday night.
Lou Trivino put together a three-inning gem, striking out four and holding Houston to only two baserunners in his longest outing by length or by pitch count since the 2018 AL Wild Card game. Only two other times this season – May 5 at Pittsburgh and July 21 at Minnesota – had Trivino pitched at least two innings, and in all three outings combined he has allowed no runs, two hits, four walks and struck out six. For reference, Trivino had seven outings of two-plus innings in 2018, but only one of three innings, against the Chicago White Sox on April 18 (a 14-inning A’s win).
Blake Treinen worked one scoreless inning on Friday night as well in what was his third consecutive day pitching, his longest streak this season and the longest since Aug 12-14 of last season (also, coincidentally, three A’s victories).