Two pitchers who have experienced opposite ends of the spectrum in offensive run support go head-to-head Tuesday night when the Oakland Athletics seek to make it two straight over the visiting Houston Astros.
Tony Kemp, Skye Bolt and Elvis Andrus combined for seven hits and seven RBIs in a 7-5 victory in the series opener, paving the way for rookie Adam Oller’s first major league win.
Winning for a fourth time in their last five games had the A’s in a celebratory mood afterward, especially when this one provided Oller with a lifetime memory.
“I know that felt good to him, especially against the Astros. That’s a good team over there,” Kemp said. “He pitched well. He did what he needed to do and our offense came alive tonight.”
A’s ace Frankie Montas (3-9, 3.16 ERA) hopes for the same kind of run support for Tuesday’s rematch. The A’s have totaled nine runs in the right-hander’s last five starts.
Montas began the week as one of the majors’ eight pitchers with nine or more losses this season. His 3.16 ERA was more than a half-point better than any of the other seven, with Madison Bumgarner (6-9, 3.71) coming the closest.
Popular in trade talks, Montas returned from pain in his right shoulder to pitch three shutout innings, allowing two hits, in a 5-0 win over the Detroit Tigers last Thursday. He hadn’t pitched in 18 days.
The 29-year-old pitched well in an earlier 3-1 home loss to the Astros in May, allowing two runs in seven-plus innings. He served up an inning-opening homer to Chas McCormick in the eighth before getting pulled.
He’s gone 7-5 with a 3.39 ERA in 14 games (12 starts) against the Astros in his career.
McCormick belted his 10th homer of the season in Monday’s loss, which was Houston’s first since the All-Star break. They had come out firing on all cylinders in a home doubleheader sweep of the New York Yankees before flying to Seattle and taking three straight from the Mariners.
The Houston offense often has been at its best when right-hander Luis Garcia (8-5, 3.65) has been on the mound. He’s gone 5-0 with a 3.74 ERA in his last six starts, with the Astros having won all six of those games, scoring a total of 38 runs.
Garcia has started against the A’s three times in his career, going 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA. The 25-year-old has allowed just two runs on four hits over 10 innings in two career starts in Oakland.
Astros manager Dusty Baker announced Monday that Jose Altuve, who went 1-for-5 in the series opener, will get Tuesday off. He will be joined on the sidelines by Michael Brantley, who hasn’t played in almost a month because of a sore right shoulder.
Baker noted before Monday’s game that Brantley is pacing his recovery well.
“Michael would be out there if he could, but he’s being smart about this,” he said. “I’ve never seen a guy work harder.”
–Field Level Media