Athletics Fail to Cash in Early, Allowing Astros Roar Back for a 10-5 Lead in Game 1

Oakland let back-to-back chances for big innings slip away in their ALDS opener against Houston, and the Astros went on to make the A's pay, claiming a 10-5 win in the opener.
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Game 1 of the American League Division Series playoff didn’t go the A’s way, not even when Oakland jumped out to a couple of early leads.

The A’s, who would go on to drop a bitter 10-5 decision to the Astros in Dodger Stadium, opened the third and fourth innings Monday with solo homers, then added on back-to-back hits after each of the homers.

In the third, Seam Murphy’s solo blast saw Tommy La Stella and Marcus Semien keep things going with single. But a Jake Lamb double play grounder and a Mark Canha strikeout meant the A’s couldn’t add on, leaving the A’s up 3-0 when it could have been much more.

The Astros would come back to tie the game at 3-all on homers by Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa.

In the fourth, a leadoff A’s homer from Matt Olson broke the tie and came in front of a single by Khris Davis and a double from Robbie Grossman.

The Olson homer pushed the Oakland lead to 4-3, but with runners on second and third and no one out, again the A’s couldn’t add on with Houston starter Lance McCullers getting a couple of strikeouts and a grounder.

That would prove to be fatal once Houston scored four unearned runs with two out in the sixth inning to steal a win the A’s probably felt should have been theirs.

Houston got three consecutive two-out hits with runners in scoring position in what proved to be a nightmare of a sixth inning for A’s pitching. Compare that to the zero hits the A’s got with RISP on the day, going 0-for-6, although the A’s did see Mark Canha deliver a sacrifice fly in the fifth that pushed the A’s lead to 5-3. That would be the Oakland high point of the day.

Reliever J.B. Wendelken took over in the sixth, got two quick outs and thought he’d gotten a third. With two out, former A’s outfielder Josh Reddick hit a routine grounder toward short. Marcus Semien bobbled the pickup, and his throw was barely late. It proved to be the break the Astros needed. Catcher Martin Maldonado singled, then George Springer, who had singled in his first three at-bats, doubled home a run.

Jose Altuve followed with a double that pushed Houston into a 6-5 lead, and after lefty Jake Diekman came out of the A’s bullpen, Michael Brantley singled to cap a four-run inning, with all the runs unearned but still good for a 7-4 Houston lead.

An inning later, Carlos Correa would hit his second homer of the game for 8-5, and the A’s were essentially finished, although Correa would add an RBI hit in the ninth for 9-5.

Follow Athletics insider John Hickey on Twitter: @JHickey3

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