The Oakland Athletics defeated the Houston Astros 4-1 on Saturday on their way to escaping the possibility of losing 10 consecutive games to the visiting ballclub in a skid that spanned past this year and into the final games of the 2022 season.
One of the reasons for the A's to put together such a monster feat (seriously, beating the Astros felt impossible) was freshman Zack Gelof bagging his first major-league homer when he tagged Ryne Stanek in the bottom of the seventh inning to put the A's up 3-1.
Gelof and fellow rookie Tyler Soderstrom recently joined the Athletics in the MLB and they have gone through some growin pains in their short time playing among men.
That said, they are going nowhere considering the rebuilding process the A's find themselves at so they will have ample time to come to grips with MLB pitching and to try and master it for the next few years while getting ready to play baseball in Las Vegas once the Athletics relocate to Nevada in a few years.
It took the Astros five full frames and one out into the sixth inning to finally put a run on the scoreboard, the leading one at that time, but they did so courtesy of an Alex Bregman homer off A's starter Paul Blackburn.
Blackburn, one of the best players in the organization right now, could have played his final game inside the Coliseum as a member of the Athletics as they won't be back home in time before the trade deadline arrives. While not in the hottest regions of the rumor mill, it'd make sense for a contender to trade for Blackburn.
The starter didn't earn the decision so he missed on banking the win, which was instead awarded to Austin Pruitt (2-6) after he entered the game in the sixth in relief of Blackburn and dealt with two batters before giving way to Lucas Erceg in the seventh.
Blackburn retired 16 batters allowing just one run on five hits while walking three batters and striking out five. He might have called it a season with the A's, and if that's the case he'd be leaving Oakland boasting a rather awful 5.06 ERA.
Veteran Jace Peterson got the A's on the scoreboard in the bottom of the sixth inning with a quick reply to Houston's homer half a frame earlier. It was a two-run single with the bases loaded bringing Gelof and Seth Brown home to put the A's on top.
The Athletics will keep churning some offensive production soon after that with Gelof's homer making it 3-1 in the seventh inning, and one stanza later it'd be Seth Brown bagging his 10th homer of the year to put the final 4-1 run on the scoreboard.
The winning probability at that stage was 97.5% in favor of Oakland. Miraculously, they were able to dodge that 2.5-percent bullet on Saturday, something they surely had not done in the nine attempts before this one while facing the Houston Astros.
It sounds absolutely ridiculous, but Oakland has a chance to split this series against the reigning, defending, undisputed World Series Champs on Sunday if they can defeat them in the last game played in Oakland until Aug. 5th when the A's will host the San Francisco Giants.