A's hold off Astros after six-run sixth
OAKLAND -- The A's offense spoiled Mike Fiers' Labor Day, exploding for six runs in the sixth inning, and Felix Doubront pitched into the seventh as Oakland defeated the first-place Astros, 10-9, Monday afternoon at the Coliseum.
"I don't think that's the way you draw up a one-run victory, 10-9," said Josh Phegley, who contributed a two-run homer. "But we stuck with it. Our offense responded and our pitchers hit some bumps in the road there but managed to keep us in the game."
Coco Crisp delivered a tie-breaking double to right field and Billy Burns pulled a two-run single through the right side of a drawn-in infield to help the A's jump out to a six-run lead. Doubront allowed two runs through the first five innings, but could not make it out of the seventh.
The Houston offense did its best to pick up Fiers, clubbing three home runs. Fiers suffered his first loss with his new club. He allowed four runs on five hits and four walks over five-plus innings for the Astros, who had their lead shrunk to two games over Texas -- 3-0 winners over Seattle on Monday night -- atop the American League West.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Pinch me: Crisp has been limited in action of late because of myriad injuries, but he's also been insistent on his availability off the bench, and he's delivered a hit in the pinch in each of his last four games -- the latest a two-run double to get the scoring going in the sixth inning. Crisp is now 4-for-7 as a pinch hitter this season and 11-for-32 in his career.
"That's been one of his trademarks since he's been here," said Sean Doolittle, who notched his first save of the season. "He has a knack for coming up with that big hit late and in clutch situations. I'm really happy for him, and it's definitely a good sign for us." More >
Brand-new ballgame: Carlos Correa continued his brilliant rookie season with a monster home run. After the A's six-run sixth inning, the Astros responded with four runs of their own in the seventh. Jonathan Villar got the rally started with a pinch-hit leadoff homer, and Correa added a three-run shot for his 17th homer. The blast was projected by Statcast™ to land 434 feet from home plate and left Correa's bat at 112 mph.
The A's added two more runs in the seventh, but the Astros refused to go away quietly. In the eighth, Villar hit a run-scoring groundout and Jake Marisnick hit a two-run homer to cut the deficit to one.
"We're going to play hard until the last out and that's what we did," said Correa. "We battled until the end." More >
How's the view?: Following a walk to Danny Valencia in the fourth, Brett Lawrie poked a liner to left-center in between Jake Marisnick and Carlos Gomez. Marisnick ran over to the gap in attempt to cut the ball off, but whiffed. Marisnick accidentally blocked the view of Gomez, who was backing up on the play, which caused the ball to sneak by both defenders and give Lawrie an RBI triple.
Youth gone wild: Amid a mostly disappointing season, the A's have watched a handful of their young players flourish -- among them, Rule 5 pick Mark Canha, who notched his 13th home run and 56th RBI in the first inning with a solo shot to left. Fellow rookie Burns chipped in with two hits, including a first-pitch two-run single in the sixth, his 50th hit when putting the first pitch in play -- most first-pitch hits by an Athletic since Carney Lansford had 55 in 1988. In the seventh, another youngster, Phegley, collected his ninth homer.
"This is where you really take stock on what we're looking for for next year," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "There are a couple young guys that are really making a mark for themselves and creating next year's situation for themselves."
"Falling behind in counts, giving away free bases isn't how I'm supposed to pitch and [isn't] how to succeed, especially at this level. I just wish I could go back there and redo that one inning." -- Fiers, on the A's six-run sixth inning.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Jose Altuve entered Monday with a 20-game hit streak at the Coliseum, which was tied for the third longest in the stadium's history, but went hitless in four at-bats to end the streak.
Astros: Scott Kazmir gets the ball for Houston on Tuesday night at 9:05 p.m. CT in his first start against his former A's team since the non-waiver Trade Deadline. The left-hander is 2-4 with a 2.77 ERA in eight starts with the Astros this year.
A's: Sonny Gray takes a 2.36 ERA -- second best in the American League -- into Tuesday's 7:05 p.m. PT matchup against the Astros in the middle matchup of a three-game set at the Coliseum. The right-hander is 1-1 with a 2.57 ERA in two starts versus Houston this season. .
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