OAKLAND -- The A's schedule isn't so kind this month, and the starting point of a challenging 19-game stretch proved to be a doozy.
Lefty Brett Anderson's second start was the stuff of nightmares, and the A's stumbled to a 16-2 series-opening loss to the Astros at the Coliseum on Monday night.
Anderson was roughed up for 10 hits and nine runs (seven earned) in three-plus innings, taking the loss opposite Astros lefty Dallas Keuchel. Anderson yielded three hits to George Springer, including a three-run homer in the second inning, and the Houston outfielder finished with a career-high six hits in all.
"There were some good pitches that were hit for hits, and bad pitches that were hit for extra-base hits, and I don't think Bob [Melvin] gives up that many hits in BP," Anderson said. "It's just a testament to their lineup from one through nine. I still gotta grind and make pitches and do better."
Just five days prior, Anderson held the host Mariners to two runs and five hits across 6 1/3 innings in his season debut.
"Just different than the last game obviously," Melvin said. "Didn't look like there was much life on his fastball, breaking ball wasn't as good, but you chalk it up to one of those games."
Chad Pinder doubled and later scored on Khris Davis' RBI groundout in the sixth, and Mark Canha and Jonathan Lucroy teamed up for back-to-back doubles with two outs in the ninth. Otherwise, it was all Astros all the time.
Houston also got homers from Marwin Gonzalez, who launched a two-run shot off Chris Hatcher in the fourth, and Derek Fisher, who took Wilmer Font deep in the eighth. Font yielded five runs on seven hits in 2 2/3 innings, and the Astros walked away with a season-high 20 hits.
"Six, seven, eight years ago, I dwell on every second of that, but it's one of those things where my stuff wasn't good, my command within the zone wasn't good, so you kind of just wash it and go back to what you know how to do and hopefully it comes back the next time," Anderson said. "It wasn't fun to be a part of, but you take that as motivation going into the next one."
Upon the conclusion of this series, the A's will hit the road to take on the Yankees, Red Sox and Blue Jays, before returning home for meetings with the Mariners and D-backs. Including the Astros, these teams are a combined 132-75.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Trouble starts early: Anderson was in trouble from the get-go, but he had a chance to exit the first inning unscathed. Instead, he issued a two-out walk to Alex Bregman -- his second free pass of the frame -- and surrendered a bases-loaded single to Gonzalez to hand the Astros a 2-0 lead that only kept escalating. Gonzalez finished with three hits and a career-high five RBIs.
PINDER PLAYS THIRD
The A's do-it-all man Pinder made his first career appearance at third base to open the sixth inning, taking over for regular Matt Chapman, who was offered a breather. Naturally, the ball found him twice in the inning, with Pinder recording two ground-ball outs. He has now played six positions in the field in his 128-game career.
HE SAID IT
"No one should feel comfortable enough in there to get six hits, not if they're Tony Gwynn with Billy Hamilton's speed." -- Anderson, on Springer's big night
Left-hander Sean Manaea will lead the A's in Tuesday's 7:05 p.m. PT matchup against the Astros, who will counter with right-hander Lance McCullers (4-1, 3.73 ERA). Manaea allowed four runs in his last start against the Mariners after yielding a total of six runs (five earned) over his first six starts.