It may only be May, but the Oakland A’s opened a pivotal series against the Houston Astros on Tuesday evening. At the beginning of the three-game series at home, Oakland had a record of 25-17 and the Astros sat only half a game back at 24-17.
Tasked with handling the most important game of the year to date, the A’s sent Sean Manaea to battle Houston’s Christian Javier. Both pitchers lasted six innings and allowed three earned runs apiece. Manaea struggled in the first inning.
A two-run double from Yordan Alvarez drove in Alex Bregman and Yuri Gurriel, but after that Manaea was mostly settled in. The only scratch on Manaea’s record for the remainder of his six innings was a solo homerun from Kyle Tucker in the fourth inning.
Oakland left a lot of runners on base and struggled with runners in scoring position. Before the 9th inning, the A’s left 7 runners on base and were a combined 0-6 with RISP. Hits from Seth Brown, Matt Olson, Jed Lowrie, and Sean Murphy did little to spark the Oakland offense. Even a two-hit performance from third baseman Matt Chapman failed to provide more than one run of support for the A’s pitching staff.
The hit from Olson was however a homerun that was impressive and game-tying in nature.
Ultimately, Ramon Laureano was the savior for the Oakland A’s on a cool Tuesday night. Laureano hit two home runs provided three runs batted in, which matched the rest of the team.
Defensively, Tony Kemp provided the Oakland faithful with a web-gem up the middle.
After a hard fought battle between two of the top teams in the American League, it all came down to the ninth inning. Yusmeiro Petit shut down the Astros in the top of the ninth inning which set up the A’s for their league leading fifth walk-off win of the year.
A walk from Mark Canha followed by a single from Seth Brown put the man of the hour, Ramon Laureano, in position to be the final hero of the night in Oakland. Laureano, of course, delivered with a deep sacrifice fly to center field, and Oakland gave themselves some much needed breathing room in the AL West.
Oakland will send Frankie Montas to the mound tomorrow to match up with Houston Astros starting pitcher Zack Greinke. Both Montas and Greinke will look to rebound from rough starts to the season, with the aces both posting an above 4.00 earned run average.