Oakland – Another walk-off win for the A’s but it wasn’t easy. Justin Verlander was brilliant on the mound forcing a pitchers duel through six frames. But Robbie Grossman was the hero of the night with his first walk-off hit in the thirteenth inning.
Oakland’s 3-2 win over the Houston Astros keeps them at a good pace in this postseason race. They’re now 7 1/2 games behind the Astros who hold first place in the American League and a half game back the Tampa Bay Rays for the top Wild Card spot in the AL.
“It’s just one of those cool memories I can look back on when this whole journey is over and share with my family,” said Grossman.
The game was tied 2-2 through the ninth before heading into extra innings. By the thirteen frame, Cy Sneed replaced Hector Rondon on the mound. Corban Joseph led off the inning with a single. Chris Herrmann followed with a sacrifice bunt and moved Joesph to second. Grossman’s single up the middle scored Joseph for the win.
Verlander pitched seven innings, allowed four hits, two runs and struck out 11. The most impressive was when he struck out seven in three frames. Verlander was a gem through four innings before Marcus Semien led off the fourth with a double. By the fifth the A’s went deep for two home runs.
“Going against Verlander, he knew he had to be on it and get off to a good start,” Oakland’s manager Bob Melvin said. “All the way across the board, to get that kind of pitching effort, everybody had to contribute.”
Mark Canha went yard with a solo shot to make it a 1-0 game. But Houston clapped back scoring two runs in the sixth. Michael Brantley doubled for the second time. And Tanner Roark walked Alex Bregman. Yordan Alvarez singled to load the bases before Carlos Correa’s sacrifice fly tied the game 1-1.
Yuli Gurriel’ RBI single scored in Bregman to make it a 2-1 game. Semien also tied the game 2-2 when he went deep bottom of the inning. He recored his 20th home run of the season. The bullpen took over for Roark and kept the Astros off the board but it was Lou Trivino who pitched an outstanding three innings.
“That’s huge for him,” said Melvin. “You have to go out there and be perfect. If you’re not, you lose the game. I think it was big for his confidence as well. That’s a really tough lineup that he went through. Three innings, he hasn’t done that in quite some time, so that was really impressive.”
Trivino hadn’t pitched since his last start on Aug 7th when he gave up a two-run homer for the the loss. Over three frames he allowed one hit, a walk and struck out four. Trivino has a 5.87 ERA with 19 strikeouts in 13 career games against Houston. Tonight he was a different pitcher.
“These hitters are so good, you can’t sit there and throw one pitch unless you’re Mariano Rivera,” Trivino said. “Unless you have that special pitch. Last year, I thought my cutter was phenomenal, but this year, it’s just not the same, consistency-wise. Once in a while, it’ll back up, where it didn’t really last year. You can’t expect to not get hit unless you have a Josh Hader or Craig Kimbrel fastball. If I can throw four pitches at them, why not?”
Oakland will host the Astros for game 3 of the series tomorrow at 1:05pm.