Athletics

Last-place A's complete four-game sweep of first-place Astros

Last-place A's complete four-game sweep of first-place Astros

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND  — Astros ace Dallas Keuchel walked in two runs and hit a batter to force in another during a shaky sixth inning, and the Oakland Athletics completed a four-game sweep of Houston with a 10-2 victory on Sunday.

The Astros entered the day tied with Cleveland for the best record in the AL, but their pitching has fallen apart at the Coliseum. Oakland rallied from behind in each of the first three games of the series, including one in which Houston's bullpen brought in five runs with bases-loaded walks.

Keuchel (12-4) never had a lead in the finale. He had allowed only two runs over 21 2/3 innings in three games against the A's this season and was doing well again until the sixth, when he lost control and labored through a 40-pitch inning.

The left-hander gave up a leadoff single to Jed Lowrie, then walked three of the next four to push in the go-ahead run. Two batters after hitting Mark Canha with a bases-loaded pitch, Keuchel walked home another to extend Oakland's lead to 4-1 and end his day. Keuchel allowed four runs over 5 2/3 innings.

Oakland piled on against the bullpen with two runs in the seventh and four in the eighth.

Jose Altuve had two hits and J.D. Davis added a pinch-hit home run for the Astros. Houston was outscored in the four-game series 41-15.

The Astros frustrations boiled over in the fifth when Jake Marisnick was ejected for arguing balls and strikes. Marisnick struck out looking twice and was upset the second time, angrily slamming his bat and helmet to the ground before getting thrown out by home plate umpire Ramon De Jesus.

Kendall Graveman (5-4) pitched five-hit ball over six innings and allowed one run for Oakland.

Matt Chapman, Ryon Healy, Boog Powell and Matt Olson homered as the A's completed their second four-game sweep this year. It's the second time in Oakland history that the team has swept a pair of four-game series in the same season.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Astros: Right-hander Collin McHugh will skip his scheduled start Thursday because of a lingering fingernail issue on his pitching hand. Brad Peacock will pitch in McHugh's place. ... Juan Centeno is expected to miss a few days with a mild concussion after being hit in the facemask by Lowrie's swing Saturday.

UP NEXT

Astros: RHP Justin Verlander (11-8) faces the Angels on Tuesday in his second start with Houston since being acquired from Detroit. Verlander is 6-8 lifetime against the Angels.

Athletics: Following a day off Monday, LHP Sean Manaea (10-9, 4.33 ERA) pitches against Boston in the opener of a three-game series on Tuesday.

Matt Olson breaks Oakland rookie record by homering in fifth consecutive game

Matt Olson breaks Oakland rookie record by homering in fifth consecutive game

The beat goes on for Matt Olson, who set an Oakland rookie record Tuesday by homering for the fifth consecutive game.

That makes it 23 in just 55 games this season for the A’s first baseman, and an astonishing 15 homers in his past 21 games. In his first plate appearance Tuesday, Olson pounded a hanging 0-1 curve from Tigers lefty Chad Bell deep into the right field seats at Comerica Park.

Since Aug. 11, Olson leads all of major league baseball with 19 homers. And his 23 homers are the most in franchise history over the first 66 games of a career.

According to baseball statistician Doug Kern, just three others in Oakland history have ever gone deep five games in a row: Dave Kingman in 1986, Matt Stairs in 1998 and Frank Thomas in 2006.

A by-the-numbers look at Matt Olson's home run tear

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USATI

A by-the-numbers look at Matt Olson's home run tear

When it comes to power hitting, rookie first baseman Matt Olson has enjoyed one of the most impressive career-opening stretches in A’s history.

He went deep again in Monday night’s 8-3 victory over Detroit. Although he’s only played in roughly one-third of Oakland’s games this year, Olson has vaulted into a tie for fourth on the team with 22 homers this season.

Here’s a glance inside some of the numbers behind the rookie’s home run tear:

22 — Olson’s 2017 —and career — home run total. Those 22 homers tie Mark McGwire for most in franchise history over a player’s first 65 games.

18: The number of times Olson has gone deep since Aug. 11, which leads the American League.

19 — The number of major league games Olson appeared in before connecting for his first homer. That came June 24. Since then, he hasn’t gone more than eight games in the majors without clearing the fence.

47 — Olson was the 47th overall pick of the 2012 draft, a compensation choice between the first and second rounds. He was one of a trio of high school infielders Oakland took with its first three picks that year. The others were two shortstops — Addison Russell (11th overall) and Daniel Robertson (34th).

At the time the A’s said perhaps they had drafted three-fourths of their future infield. But Russell and Robertson eventually got dealt. Now, Olson is part of a different young infield core that could include third baseman Matt Chapman and second baseman Franklin Barreto along with veteran shortstop Marcus Semien.

2: The number of players in the past 30 years to hit 20 homers in both the minors and majors in the same season. Olson has done it this year. Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton, who’s generating his share of headlines with his own power hitting, did it back in 2010.

103 The number of homers Olson hit over five minor league seasons leading into this year. That included a whopping 37 for Single-A Stockton in the homer-happy California League in 2014. In comparison, the 17 homers he hit each of the next two seasons at Double-A Midland and Triple-A Nashville looked paltry. Olson says he struggled for a while to trust his natural power stroke and not try to alter his approach too much to boost those power numbers.

4: The total number of major leaguers produced by Olson’s alma mater of Parkview High School in Lilburn, Ga. The others were outfielder Jeff Francoeur, infielder Jeff Keppinger and catcher Clint Sammons.

4 (Part II): Number of consecutive games Olson has homered in. That ties the Oakland rookie record for most games in a row with a homer. Dan Johnson also homered in four straight from Aug. 3-6, 2005. Extend it out farther, and Olson has gone deep 14 times over his past 20 games. And speaking of that …

14: Olson is tied with a couple of legends when it comes to most homers in a 20-game span in Oakland history. McGwire (1987) and Reggie Jackson (1969) also had 14 over their own 20-game stretches, and Jackson did it twice that season. (Hat tip to A’s P.R. stats guru Mike Selleck for several of these factoids, by the way).

23: Remember that Olson is just 23 years old. His 22 homers are the most in a single season by an Athletic 23 or younger since Eric Chavez swatted 32 back in 2001. Chavez also was 23 at the time.