OAKLAND -- Right-hander Doug Fister strung together seven scoreless innings to help the Astros avoid a three-game sweep at the hands of the A's with a commanding 7-0 win at the Coliseum on Wednesday afternoon.
"Doug was at his best," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "I thought he did a great job of getting through their lineup and continuing to put up zeros while we hung there. We let them hang in there a little bit by not separating in the game, but Doug Fister was really, really good."
George Springer collected a pair of RBI doubles, one of which highlighted a two-run second inning for the Astros, who tagged A's starter Daniel Mengden for three runs in the first two frames, one via walk. Mengden (1-5) issued five free passes total, a career high, and scattered five hits with five strikeouts in five innings.
Houston tacked on two runs in the eighth when Carlos Correa's bases-loaded bloop fell for a two-run single and two more in the ninth on extra-base hits from Springer and Jason Castro. Fister held the A's to just four hits in the win, his 10th of the season. He's allowed only three runs in 27 2/3 innings against them this year for a 0.98 ERA in four starts.
"That's the best we've ever seen him," A's catcher Stephen Vogt said. "All his stuff was moving a lot, staying away from the middle of the plate. He was throwing some really good sequences out there."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
RBIs keep coming for Correa: The shortstop drew a bases-loaded walk in the second and added the two-run bloop single with the bases loaded in the eighth to push the Astros' lead to 5-0. Correa leads the team with 62 RBIs, including 29 since June 20. That's the most in the Majors in that span (Albert Pujols had 27 in that span entering Thursday).
"They're trying to get me to chase and get me to be patient and get my walks," Correa said. "I got three walks today, and I'm pretty happy about that. Just trying to get a good pitch to hit." More >
Mengden labors: Mengden was without his control for much of the day, particularly in the second inning, when he walked three batters, including one with the bases loaded. By the end of that frame, the rookie had already reached the 50-pitch mark, and he needed 101 to get through five. Mengden has a 9.33 ERA over his past four starts after posting a 2.81 ERA in his first four big league outings.
"He's still trying to find his rhythm again, I think," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "It was better the last couple innings. The command's been his issue, basically with all his pitches. I think he's getting behind and trying to jam all four pitches in there as opposed to trying to establish one or two early on. Certainly, when everything's going well, it's easy to do. When it's not, maybe you have to simplify a little bit."
"I knew it was going to be a challenge," Mengden said. "I knew walks would kill me against this lineup, especially when they get things going. I was trying to limit that as much as possible."
Fister deals: Fister became the first Astros pitcher to notch 10 wins by shutting down the A's. It's the fifth time in his career Fister has reached double-digit wins, and first time since he won 16 in 2014 for the Nationals. He leads the team in quality starts (13) and has allowed three earned runs fewer in 16 of his 19 starts, during which the Astros are 13-6.
"Jason and I really sat down today and just say, 'We're really going to attack these guys,'" Fister said. "Seeing them a lot, they know what we do, and we know what they do. It just comes down to execution."
"He absolutely demolished us this series. … Altuve is some kind of special hitter. He's got a magic wand, and there's no way to get him out. He has to get himself out. That's a dangerous hitter to have to play against; it's why he's one of the best, if not the best hitter in the big leagues." -- Vogt, on José Altuve, who went 8-for-12 in the series with two walks and extended his road hitting streak to 19 games
Astros designated hitter Evan Gattis is day to day after suffering a bruised right hand when he was hit by a pitch in the fifth inning. X-rays were negative.
"I'm optimistic, and it feels good," Gattis said. "If you're going to get hit in the hand, I think the day before an off-day is a good day."
Astros: The Astros will take Thursday off before opening a three-game series against the Angels at 7:10 p.m. CT Friday at Minute Maid Park. Starting pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. has lost his past two starts, including one on July 9 to the A's in Houston. He only lasted four innings in that game and he couldn't escape the sixth in his last start Saturday in Seattle despite allowing only one run.
A's: Oakland will open play with the Rays on Thursday for a four-game set at the Coliseum. Right-hander Sonny Gray gets the start in the opener, with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. PT. Gray is 2-1 with a 3.11 ERA in six career starts against Tampa Bay.
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