Instant Analysis: Olson, Pinder power A's to DH sweep of Astros
A's rally behind Olson, Pinder in win over Astros
OAKLAND — Had you watched only the past two days, you wouldn’t know which team has had the other’s number this year between the A’s and Astros.
The A’s have blitzed the American League West leaders so far this weekend, taking the first three games of this four-game series, including a sweep of Saturday’s doubleheader at the Coliseum. They routed Houston 11-4 in the night cap and outscored the Astros 22-5 combined in the two games.
The A’s trailed in the second game 3-0 entering the bottom of the sixth, but then busted out for 11 runs over a three-inning span that featured one young prospect after another doing the damage. Chad Pinder homered twice and finished with four RBI. Franklin Barreto, drawing the start at shortstop, ignited their go-ahead rally in the seventh with a triple, then beat out an RBI infield single as part of a six-run eighth.
Those were just two of the standouts as the A’s collected 14 hits and, astonishingly, rang up their first doubleheader sweep since 1998.
The Astros, who arrived in Oakland having won seven in a row, have to be wondering what hit them. They were 12-3 against the A’s this season — 6-0 in Oakland — to start the weekend, but now have to win Sunday afternoon to avoid a four-game sweep. In addition, the Cleveland Indians — who have won a franchise-record 16 in a row — have pulled into a tie with the Astros for the best record in the AL.
Matt Olson capped a strong day with a 446-foot two-run homer in the sixth inning. The rookie first baseman went 2-for-3 with two runs in the first game. For the day, he finished 4-for-7 with three runs and two RBI.
In his first big league outing since June 3, Daniel Mengden turned in a very respectable line — 6 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K’s. He sailed through the first five innings. Then his only trouble hit in the sixth, and it all came with two outs. Alex Bregman walked and Jose Altuve followed with a two-run homer. Then Carlos Correa hit a deep fly ball that bounced out of the glove of center fielder Boog Powell for a two-base error, and Correa scored on Josh Reddick’s single to shallow right field.
The A’s had a shot to nail Correa at the plate, but Joey Wendle’s throw short-hopped catcher Bruce Maxwell, and Maxwell couldn’t pick it cleanly. Surely Mengden, starting in place of Chris Smith, earned another opportunity the next time through the rotation.