Instant Replay: A's score seven in first, rout Astros 11-3

Instant Replay: A's score seven in first, rout Astros 11-3
April 18, 2014, 8:45 pm
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Alberto Callaspo and Yoenis Cespedes combined for four hits, two home runs and six RBI in Friday night's 11-3 win. (AP)


ANAHEIM – After a road trip that provided plenty of dramatic theatre, the A’s did away with the suspense Friday night.

They made quick work of the Houston Astros with an 11-3 victory to open a six-game homestand. The A’s pounced for seven runs in the first off Houston starter Jarred Cosart, forcing the Astros to dip into their bullpen after just one out.

It was a welcome break for A’s manager Bob Melvin, whose team had seven of its first 15 games decided in the winning team’s last at-bat. Oakland entered the night tied for the major league lead with four extra-inning games already.

No such drama Friday night. The A’s got homers from Alberto Callaspo, Yoenis Cespedes, Coco Crisp and Josh Reddick. They also benefited from 10 walks issued by the Astros, who are 5-12 and already seem destined for another long season.

The biggest fireworks in this one actually came between innings. Jed Lowrie and Astros manager Bo Porter exchanged heated words after Lowrie appeared ticked off when he was nearly hit in his at-bat that inning. The Astros might not have taken kindly to Lowrie laying down a bunt with two outs in the first and the score already 7-0.

When Lowrie came up in the third, Houston reliever Paul Clemens threw an inside pitch that went between Lowrie’s legs, and Lowrie glared out at the mound for a long time. Porter gestured and yelled at Lowrie after the inning, as Lowrie was talking to Astros second baseman Jose Altuve. Nothing more came of the incident.

Starting pitching report
Sonny Gray wasn’t his sharpest, perhaps no surprise after he sat through the extraordinary long first inning. He actually went down to the bullpen and warmed up again as the A’s were batting that inning. Gray improved to 3-0 but allowed nine hits and three runs over six innings.

Bullpen report
Fernando Abad and Ryan Cook closed out the game in routine fashion.

At the plate
The good times rolled for the A’s in their seven-run first, but chances are Reddick was the happiest of the bunch. Not only was his towering two-run homer to right-center his first long ball of the season, it was his first extra-base hit of the season. He came in with four singles in 41 at-bats for a .098 batting average. He followed with a hard-hit infield single in his second at-bat and notched his first multi-hit game of 2014.

Cespedes got the A’s on the board with a two-run single to center in the first. In the second, he homered to left off Clemens, a solo shot that gives him three homers in his past five games. He had three hits as did Reddick. Callaspo connected for a three-run homer as part of the A’s seven-run first that would chase Cosart after just one-third of an inning. Callaspo entered the night a career .295 hitter in April – his best out of any month – but it’s his work with runners on base that stands out this year. He came in with an American League-best .563 mark with runners on.

Crisp announced his return to the leadoff spot with a two-run homer in the fifth. He was out of the lineup for the previous three games with a sore left hamstring.

Oakland’s four homers were its most since swatting four on Sept. 4 of last season.

In the field
the A’s committed two more errors that didn’t affect the outcome.

The announced turnout was 18,234, and those that wandered in late still probably saw a good portion of Oakland’s looong first-inning rally.

Up next
After leaving his last start with triceps tightness, Scott Kazmir (2-0, 1.40) is scheduled to take his regular turn Saturday with Brett Oberholtzer (0-3, 3.50) on the hill for Houston. First pitch is 1:05 p.m.