HOUSTON -- Sean Manaea continues to blossom into one of the game's best.The A's lefty was at it again Friday, and against the defending World Series champion Astros on the road, no less. Manaea's bid at a second straight no-hitter was squashed in the fourth inning, but not before he
HOUSTON -- Sean Manaea continues to blossom into one of the game's best.
The A's lefty was at it again Friday, and against the defending World Series champion Astros on the road, no less. Manaea's bid at a second straight no-hitter was squashed in the fourth inning, but not before he made more history.
The southpaw spun seven innings in Oakland's 8-1 victory against Dallas Keuchel and Co., holding the Astros to a lone unearned run and four hits in the seven-strikeout display. He has not allowed an earned run in his last 18 innings, bringing his ERA to an American League-best 1.03, and has completed at least seven innings in five of his six starts.
"For him to not have that kind of hangover effect and continue to do what he's doing and stay consistent is extremely impressive," A's outfielder Chad Pinder said. "He's been incredible for us. He's honestly carried us, given us momentum every time he's taken the rubber."
The homer-happy A's did plenty to support Manaea to improve to 9-2 over their last 11 games, launching three long balls against Keuchel: Matt Chapman's one-out solo shot in the fifth marked Oakland's first hit off the lefty, and Pinder and Mark Canha each hit two-run homers.
Manaea, who no-hit the Red Sox six days prior, retired each of his first nine batters to bring his hitless inning streak to 14, an Oakland record. John "Blue Moon" Odom held the previous record, with 13 in June 1968.
"There have been some pretty good pitchers in Oakland history, so that's really something to hang his hat on," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "I mean, we've had some big-time pitchers here.
"After you go through something like that and take the mound again, certainly a lot of water under the bridge between that and your next start, but he was focused right away, and you better be when you're going up against Keuchel. Both guys the first three innings, there wasn't even a hard-hit ball, so you gotta refocus and do your thing and he did exactly that."
Manaea returned to the mound for the fourth readying for more of the same, but his first batter, George Springer, reached on a Marcus Semien throwing error, and advanced to second base on Jose Altuve's fly ball to right field. That put him in scoring position for Carlos Correa, who sent one through the right side for an RBI single and a 1-0 Astros lead.
Chapman's homer quickly tied the game, and Pinder's two-run blast in the sixth gave the A's a lead they wouldn't relinquish, padded by a three-run seventh that featured Canha's fourth homer of the season and an RBI single from Matt Olson. Jed Lowrie chipped in with a two-run triple against his former team in the eighth, giving him 34 hits in April -- tying the franchise record he set in 2013.
"This team is unbelievable," Manaea said. "When the offense can do what they did tonight and we can throw some zeros up on the board, this team is awesome. I'm glad to be a part of it, and we just have to keep this game going."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Pinder was hitless with three strikeouts in 11 career at-bats against Keuchel when he stepped to the plate in the sixth inning and clobbered a first-pitch slider clocked at 76 mph for a two-out, two-run homer.
"Just trying to push him up out over the plate," Pinder said. "I think that's the first pitch he's thrown above the middle of the zone to me. He's had a ton of success against me. I was able to put a good swing on that slider, and I was pretty happy that it went out."
Said Melvin: "For me, the big hit is Pinder. It's 1-1 and it feels like the next run is going to be the most important run. The two-run homer feels like a 10-run homer at the time, the way Keuchel's pitching, the way Sean's pitching."
According to Elias, Manaea is the first pitcher to toss at least 14 consecutive hitless innings since Max Scherzer went 16 straight innings in June 2015 -- a stretch that included a no-hitter against the Pirates on June 20.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Per Statcast™, Chapman's homer left his bat at 112.2 mph, the highest exit velocity on any of his 20 career homers and second hardest by an A's player this year (Olson, 112.6 mph on Opening Day). It was also the hardest homer hit off of Keuchel since the advent of Statcast™.
HE SAID IT
"It's big to keep adding on like that. With a team like that, you have to do that, because no matter how many runs you put up, those guys can hit with the best of them. You've seen it. They've come back from way bigger deficits than six or seven runs." -- Pinder
Right-hander Daniel Mengden, who is 2-0 with a 2.33 ERA over his last three outings, will be back on the mound Saturday for a 4:10 p.m. PT start against the host Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mengden was a fourth-round Draft pick of Houston in 2014. He will be opposed by right-hander Lance McCullers (3-1, 4.67 ERA).
Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010.