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Astros move away from A to kick off in the pivot series






Foto: Steve Gonzales, Staff Photographer
                                                    

Der Houston Astros lässt den Bregman nach dem dritten Basser Alex Bregman (Mitte) einen Drei-Run Homer schlagen, um am Montag gegen Oakland bei Minute Maid Park aufzubrechen.

Die Houston Astros geben dem Bregman Blick nach dem dritten Baseman Alex Bregman (Mitte) traf einen Drei-Run-Homer, um das Spiel am Montag gegen Oakland im Minute Maid Park aufzubrechen.



Foto: Steve Gonzales, Staff Photographer
                                                    


Nach vier Runs zum Athletics, nachdem Starter Gerrit Cole zwei Paar Runs zu Hause erlaubt hatte, übernahm der Astros mit fünf Läufen nach sechs Treffern die Führung 3. Inning am Montag

Scoring vertrocknete, nachdem Houston's Sintflut und Spannung mit jedem Inning den One-run-Rand unverändert stiegen.

In der ersten von drei Spielen zwischen den Astros und A's wird die American League West schwingen, eine Führung nach drei Innings schien als könnte es nicht lange genug dauern, um das Endergebnis zu werden.

Der führende Baseball der A läuft nach dem siebenten Inning und ist 56-0, wenn er nach sieben Innings führt. Sie machen die Möglichkeit eines Comebacks zu einer höheren Wahrscheinlichkeit.


Aber die Astros erwiesen sich als der gnadenlosere Bullpen- und Late-Innings-Angriff. Ein Paar von drei Run-Home-Runs von Alex Bregman und Tyler White in der unteren Acht begrub die A's 11-4 vor einer ausverkauften Menge in Minute Maid Park.


Nachdem Bregman seinen 25. Homer nach rechts-Zentrum gesprengt hat field, White needed to step out of the box mid-at-bat for several minutes of medical attention to clear something from his eyes.

Now the first-place Astros clearly can see the A's trailing them by 2.5 games in the division .

Cole (12-5, 2.85 ERA) ceded four earned runs and struck out eight in six innings. His 234 strikeouts are the seventh-most by an Astros pitcher in a single season. Don Wilson struck out 235 in 1969.

High strikes have guided Cole's dominance this season. They have set up or sealed his new single-season high in strikeouts. They have held hitters to the lowest batting average by any starter on the Astros. Teammate Justin Verlander is the only pitcher in baseball to have thrown more of them.

But Cole's most reliable pitch led to his costliest mistakes Monday. After pitching 51 consecutive innings without allowing a home run, Cole surrendered homers in the second and third innings on high fastballs.

Cole seemed not to mind the first one. He left his slowest fastball of the night up and in the middle of the zone. Marcus Semien connected for a two-run shot so solidly that Cole offered a brief glance over his right shoulder. Left fielder Marwin Gonzalez did not bother to step back or watch the ball soar deep over his head and into the left field stands.

The second two-run home run to left field perturbed Cole. Matt Chapman skied the ball for a parabola that usually results in a fly ball out: a 46-degree launch angle, a peak height of 105 feet and a 6.5-second hang time. Similar balls are outs 94 percent of the time. At Minute Maid Park, Chapman's 21st home run traveled far enough to land in the Crawford Boxes.


Cole craned over with his hands on his hips and, keeping his pose still for several seconds, stared out at left field in disbelief.

Martin Maldonado started the Astros' third-inning rally with a single. George Springer hit a high chopper toward third base. Usually, no matter its angle or speed, a ball hit in this direction winds up snuffed by Chapman, the Athletics' superstar third baseman and presumptive recipient of a Gold Glove Award at the end of the season.

Instead, Springer's chopper deflected off Chapman's wrist and sailed to the left field corner, where it rattled around long enough for the hefty Maldonado to pedal home and Springer to coast into second.

Consecutive doubles by Bregman and Jose Altuve set up Gonzalez for a two-out single. Altuve scored the tying run and Gonzalez advanced to second on the late throw toward home.

The rally chased lefty starter Brett Anderson, who headed for the visitor's dugout with his mitt concealing his mouth and whatever came out of it.

White continued his recent tear with a go-ahead single. Gonzalez scored from second and crossed home plate shaking his fists, feeling the momentum of the game back in Houston's grasp.

Both Bregman, who went 4-for-5, and Gonzalez, who went 3-for-4, extended eight-game hitting streaks.

The A's called up mustachioed righthander Daniel Mengden, a Westside High School graduate, to abet their exhausted bullpen. He entered in the fourth inning and pitched for three more.

For the second of his two strikeouts in the seventh, Collin McHugh dispatched Ramon Loreano with three vicious sliders to end the inning and unleashed a demonstrative roar on his march to the dugout.

Ryan Pressley, who Hinch had called "analytical dream" because of the righthander's elite spin-rate, retired the side in the eighth on eight pitches.

Bregman upended Lou Trivino and White attacked Emilio Pagan.

After Bregman set the home crowd at ease, the sellout crowd of 43,171 started an "M-V-P" chant for Altuve. It did not matter that Altuve walked, that at least five more outs remained in the game or that White had yet to put the contest out of reach, fans were ready to celebrate a commanding lead in the game and the A.L. West.


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