Oakland, CA – It’s not where they want to be yet they still continue their journey. Adam Dunn continued his hitting streak, Coco Crisp returned to the lineup and Jeff Samardzija pitched his third game with nine strikeouts or more. But that wasn’t enough to snap the A’s losing streak as they fell 4-3 to the Houston Astros.
“Jeff’s last three starts have been good,” said Oakland’s manager Bob Melvin. “Unfortunately, we don’t do enough offensively to give him some help.”
The A’s found their missing at-bats in the third. They scored three runs giving them lead. Alberto Callaspo leadoff the frame with a hit off Brett Oberholtzer who was late throwing him out at first. Crisp struck out and Oberholtzer walked the next two batters to load the bases.
Derek Norris hit a single to right field scoring in one run, an error on right fielder Jake Marisnick allowed the second runner to score making it a 2-1 game. Jonny Gomes popped out and Dunn’s RBI single extended Oakland’s lead 3-1. This is Dunn’s fourth game hitting consecutively and driving in a run in each of his four games.
“I was just trying to relax, get a good pitch to hit and not chase,” Chris Carter said. “I’m always looking for a fastball, then try to adjust off-speed and go from there. I got a good pitch middle way.”
The Astros responded in the fourth with a RBI single from Carter who trimmed the lead down to one run. Carter then went deep to center field in the sixth with a two-run homer giving Houston back the lead, making it a 4-3 game. Carter has 7 home runs, 20 RBI’s in 16 games against his former team this season.
“I threw a pitch he could handle, he got extended on it, and he hit out of the park,” said Samardzija. “If there’s one I could have back, it would be that one, for sure. But we’d thrown some fastballs by him earlier in the game, so I thought it was a good choice.”
Samardzija gave up his second home run of the game, his first went to Jon Singleton who blasted a solo shot on the first pitch in the third. Houston’s defense stifled the A’s offense in the fourth when they failed to score after loading the bases.
“We had many opportunities to put that game out of reach,” Norris said. “You let teams hang around long enough, they’re going to come through and they’re going to beat you, and I think that’s more the focal point for me than the pitch to Carter.”
Oakland loss tonight puts them two games ahead of the Seattle Mariners in the Wild Card race. The Mariners beat the Texas Rangers. With 22 games left in the season, every game becomes crucial for the A’s to keep a good position if they’re unable to catch the Angels. There’s a lot of baseball left and Oakland will take it one day at a time.
Notes – Adam Dunn has homered twice in four games since joining the A’s via trade from the Chicago White Sox last Sunday. Dunn has also hit safely in his last four games and driven in a run in each of those games. He feels confident about his at-bats and excited to be on a team that is in contention. Despite the struggles as of lately, Dunn continues to keep a positive attitude.
“We’ve played quite a few games here and I feel fine,” said Dunn. “It’s a lot easier when you know a few of these guys like I do. So, it’s been a very easy adjustment. The makeup that this team has is pretty loose and they realize they’re good despite what’s happened in the past month.”
“He’s playing with a lot of confidence,” said A’s manager Bob Melvin. “He’s invigorating! He comes from a team that’s not in the pennant race and feels good about being here.”
Oakland has dropped from the leading the American League West to trailing six games behind the Anaheim Angels. The A’s have lost three straight, seven of the last eight and nine of the last twelve games. The moral is a bit low yet, Dunn feels as though he’s on top of the world.
“There’s a lot of games left, can’t sit here and worry about teams coming in two weeks,” explained Dunn. “We just have to take care of business and let everything else play itself out. This is what the goal is, to play meaningful games in September and then the postseason. They’ve done that and I’ve actually reaped the benefits of it by coming over here late.”
“You see his at-bats, he invigorates himself and a lot of the other guys,” Melvin said. “We do have some guys who are still struggling a bit but this is time we need to come out of this. Having him in the lineup gets other guys in there swinging the bats well.”