Hahn lifts A’s to fourth straight home win

One day after Sean Manaea captured Oakland’s undivided attention, Jesse Hahn emphatically reminded the Athletics of his own presence.

Hahn, who was officially called up prior to the game, dazzled the Houston Astros (7-17) with 6-2/3 innings of three-hit shut-out ball, and was rewarded with the decision in the 2-0 victory.

A two-run single by A’s (13-12) center fielder Billy Burns in the second was all the Astros and starter Chris Devenski, who finished five frames, would give up but it was enough to saddle the former reliever with a loss.

This story has been updated with quotes and post-game material from the A’s clubhouse at the Oakland Coliseum.

The Oakland starter allowed just one fly ball through his first six innings, using a mid-90s sinker and good changeup to keep the ball on the ground. A’s manager Bob Melvin said after the game that he wasn’t surprised by the flyball-groundball ratio:

“I don’t think we’ve ever seen him better than that … I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a better touch on his curveball than we saw today.”

Hahn (W, 1-0, 0.00 ERA), making his 2016 debut after four starts with Triple-A Nashville, faced the minimum through five. A first-inning walk of George Springer was followed immediately by a first-pitch double-play grounder, as was a Preston Tucker single leading off the third.

The only other hits Hahn allowed came in the form of a two-out single by Jason Castro in the sixth, and a booming double off the center field wall from Carlos Correa, who was the first of the double play victims, in the seventh.

After being optioned to Triple-A following a spring in which he went 0-1 with a 11.15 ERA, Hahn said he wasn’t surprised by his successful outing, adding:

“I felt really comfortable out there. Everything was working for me. It was exciting to be back out there and have a good one. Just overall it was a great team win.”

The 26-year-old right-hander departed after throwing just 81 pitches (48 for strikes) picking up four strikeouts, after walking Evan Gattis — his second free pass issued — on four pitches, creating a two-on, one-out situation in the seventh.

John Axford (2-0, 0.73 ERA) coaxed a weak pop out from Tyler White to end the threat, though, and followed with a perfect eighth.

Closer Ryan Madson (8 saves, 1.42 ERA) was able to induce a third Astro double play to end a bases-loaded threat, created by a pair of walks and a bloop single from Astros home run leader Colby Rasmus, and the game.

The A’s offense created its only scoring rally when Yonder Alonso lined a 3-2 fastball from Devenski (0-1, 1.45 ERA) off the glove of White at first, and into the right field corner for a two-out double.

Of Alonso, who was the hero with a three-run walk-off homer on Friday, Melvin said it was a matter of time before hits started to come:

“He looks more confident at the plate, he looks aggressive. The swing is getting through the zone quicker. It all comes with a hit or two.”

Both Josh Phegley and Marcus Semien followed with walks ahead of a Burns single to left for his second and third RBIs of the season. The line drive was one of two hits — the other coming from Semien in the fourth — in five at-bats with runners in scoring position.

With the win, the A’s have now won four in a row at the Coliseum, boosting their home record to 5-7. Oakland now looks for their first home sweep of three games or more in 38 such series.

Oakland will go for that divisional sweep Sunday when Rich Hill (3-2, 2.42 ERA) will look to bring his road success home to the Coliseum. The Astros will counter with Doug Fister (1-3, 5.56 ERA) in the afternoon tilt.


Kalama Hines is SFBay’s Oakland Athletics beat writer. Follow @SFBay and @HineSight_2020 on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of A’s baseball.