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Eighth-inning Derek Fisher solo homer carries Astros past A’s

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Derek Fisher led off the eighth inning with a solo homer on the first pitch from Lou Trivino to lift the Houston Astros (38-20) to a 3-2 win over the Oakland A’s (29-28) Friday night.

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Matt Chapman‘s two-run homer in the third inning and Mike Fiers‘ six scoreless innings were not enough. Trivino (L, 2-2, 3.81 ERA) relieved Fiers after 6 2/3 innings — and that is when things all went downhill.

The Astros didn’t plate their first run of the night until the seventh inning when Josh Reddick (5) hit a solo homer into right field just 25 feet over the wall line, the ball didn’t even land in the stands. Fiers kept the Astros scoreless and only gave up four hits.

Fiers on the teams relievers:

“Too many times they have come in and get the job done. We are not worried, but these games we got to lock down. Especially late in the game against a team like that, cant give them too much. It is a tight game but if we want to win the division we have to win those games.”

Fiers finished with just four hits with three walks and strikeouts. Trivino had a bad night.

Trivino on his performance:

“You’re gonna have stretches when you’re struggling, so it’s just about limiting those stretches to hopefully just a couple games and not long stretches.”

Myles Straw pinch-ran for Tyler White after being walked by Fiers as his last batter. The first batter Trivino pitched to was Kemp, who hit the ball deep over Grossman’s head in left, to the edge of where the track and grass meet. The ball bounced to the wall for a standing double, Straw scored from first base to tie the game at 2-2.

Bob Melvin believes it may have been the lights that stopped Grossman to getting to Kemp’s hit deep into left field, though he said he doesn’t know for sure.

The following inning, Nate Fisher lead off the eighth inning with a solo home run to give Houston the lead. The A’s followed in their half with a Laureano standing double down the third base line. Josh Phegley sacrifice bunted to put Laureano on third, and with one out, no one was able to bring him home.

The A’s only runs came in the third. Grossman was able to beat the shift and get a base hit to the left side. Chapman stepped to the plate, and with an 0-2 count, smashed his fifteenth homer of the season to give the A’s a 2-0 early lead.

Chapman is now tied for 6th in the AL in home runs. He crushed his ball deep into left field, 431 feet at an 107-mph velocity. Laureano had a base hit in the fourth, extending his career-high hitting streak to 13. 

Chapman had a great night at the plate, going 2-for-3 with a walk. He had a base hit that bounced off second baseman glove after a diving play that was ruled a hit.

Defensively, it was not Chapman’s best night, making his fifth error of the season at third. A ball got by him and was ruled a hit but normally it would have been an out by the gold glove third baseman. Then in the eighth inning a ground ball bounced to Chapman and he made the throw to first which was called an out but over ruled after the play was reviewed.

Chapman on how he played defensively:

“Just one of those days, I feel confident. I expect the baseball hit to me, I want it hit to me. Kinda misread a couple of those balls today… There is going to be good games and bad games and you kinda just gotta keep pushing forward.”

Brad Peacock (ND, 6 IP, 3.17 ERA) pitched six innings and gave up five hits, three walks and two earned runs. Reliever Héctor Rondón (W, 3-1, 2.70 ERA) did his job, pitching one inning and only allowing one hit. Ryan Pressly also pitched an inning and didn’t allow any hits, walks, strikeouts or runs.

The Astros bullpen has the best ERA (2.93) in majors, and that was the difference Friday night. Both starting pitchers pitched great and each gave up a home run in six innings.

The A’s came into this series hoping to keep the Astros from increasing their lead in the AL West. The A’s are now 8-1/2 games back, and have lost to the Astros five times this season, three times by a single run.

Chapman saw the ball well at the plate tonight and talked about his confidence in his bullpen:

“Our bullpen is our strength and no matter what has been going on lately, every single time we take the mound with a lead I feel confident and that is baseball. Sometimes these things happen, they happen throughout the course of the year. Sometimes it happens consecutively like that, but it’s just one of those things, that’s baseball.”

Up Next

LHP Brett Anderson (6-3, 3.86 ERA) faces Justin Verlander (8-2, 2.38 ERA) in Saturday night’s second game of this three game series at 7:07 p.m. 

Notes

Oakland enters June tied for second in the AL Wild Card. … Mike Fiers has a 2.82 ERA (14 ER in 44.2 IP). … Stephen Piscotty snapped his career-best on-base streak of 25 games.

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