Miley's gem undone as Astros fall in extras

Left-hander becomes first Astros starter to pitch into the ninth this season

July 24th, 2019

HOUSTON -- The beard, mustache and baseball cap didn’t do much to hide the frustration on the face of . Three outs away from finishing off a shutout on Tuesday night, Miley was left to digest one of the toughest losses of the season a short time later.

Miley allowed the first two batters he faced in the ninth to reach base, setting the stage for Matt Olson to put the A’s ahead with a dramatic three-run homer off closer . The Astros rallied to tie and force extra innings before Ramon Laureano hit an RBI double in the 11th off to send Oakland to a 4-3 win at Minute Maid Park, snapping Houston’s six-game winning streak.

“We knew when [Miley] came out we were going to tie it up and win it,” Laureano said.

Astros manager AJ Hinch didn’t think twice about letting Miley try to finish the game. He had thrown 98 pitches and was in control, having sent down 23 of the 27 batters he faced through eight innings. He was pulled after walking Marcus Semien and allowing a single to Matt Chapman.

“He was outstanding,” Hinch said. “His aggressiveness the first eight innings of the game was spectacular. He lost a little bit of that aggressiveness and was trying to guide the ball a little bit in the ninth. Lost the at-bat with Chapman with two strikes. It doesn’t take away from how well he threw the ball.”

The leadoff walk to Semien is what will keep Miley up at night.

“Pretty frustrating,” he said. “That walk can’t happen there in the ninth. I’ve got to go at him. If he hits a homer, he hits a homer. The walk right there, that’s it for me.”

Miley, who became the first Astros starter to work into the ninth inning this season, worked at a quick pace early in the game and had barely broken a sweat through five perfect innings. He retired the first 16 hitters he faced before Josh Phegley hit a sharp one-out single in the sixth inning to break up the nearly perfect game bid.

“I think my pace kind of kept them a little bit frustrated,” Miley said. “It had them swinging more than they normally do. In the end, it just didn’t work out.”

Osuna, who hadn’t allowed an inherited runner to score this year, threw an 0-2 fastball up in the zone to Olson, who was 0-for-17 this season against the Astros before hitting the homer. Osuna left the clubhouse before talking to reporters.

“Osuna came in and threw it right where we wanted him to throw it to Olson,” Hinch said. “He puts a good swing on it and we’re down. Sometimes baseball will make you sick to your stomach, literally. Tonight’s a night like that.”

The Astros forced extra innings when hit a sacrifice fly to right field to score pinch-runner in the ninth, but Yusmeiro Petit threw two hitless innings in relief to nail down the win for Oakland, which climbed to within 6 1/2 games of the first-place Astros in the American League West.

“We still had an opportunity there at the end,” Hinch said. “When we got back in the dugout in the 10th we had the top of the order coming up. … You play the whole game. There’s no lack of the ability to bounce back from something like that. Didn’t work.”