May 9, 2018 / 10:59 PM / 4 months ago

Cole sharp again as Astros top A's

Gerrit Cole pitched his third straight overpowering game, while teammates Max Stassi and Derek Fisher stunned Daniel Mengden with back-to-back, two-strike home runs with two outs in the seventh inning Wednesday afternoon, sending the Houston Astros to a 4-1 win over the Oakland Athletics and a sweep of their three-game series in Oakland, Calif.

Cole (4-1), a California native who never previously pitched in Oakland, struck out nine in six innings to run his total to 37 in his last three starts covering 21 2/3 innings.

He allowed one run, which put the Astros in a 1-0 hole in the bottom of the sixth.

A one-out single by Matt Joyce and RBI double by Jed Lowrie provided the game’s first scoring.

But the Astros, who completed a 4-2 trip, bounced right back against Mengden, who had shut out Houston on four hits through 6 2/3 innings.

One strike from completing a seventh shutout inning, Mengden served up a game-tying home run to Stassi, followed four pitches later with a go-ahead solo shot to Fisher, watching the Astros take a lead they never relinquished.

Stassi’s homer was his third of the season. Fisher hit his fourth.

Cole was relieved by Joe Smith to start the bottom of the seventh. He allowed four hits and three walks in his six innings.

Cole had struck out 12 in a no-decision against the A’s in Houston on April 29. He then one-hit the Los Angeles Angels, striking out 16, in his last start.

The Astros increased their lead against the Oakland bullpen in the eighth when Yuli Gurriel doubled home George Springer and Jose Altuve, both of whom had singled.

Mengden (2-4) was pulled immediately following Fisher’s homer in the seventh, having allowed two runs and six hits in 6 2/3 innings. He struck out four and did not walk a batter.

The loss was his 11th in 12 decisions in his career in Oakland.

Astros relievers Smith, Will Harris and Ken Giles retired all nine batters they faced in relief of Cole. Giles was credited with his fifth save after a 1-2-3 ninth.

Houston pitchers allowed three or fewer runs for the fourth straight game.

Altuve went 3-for-4 to raise his batting average to .331.

The A’s were out-hit 10-4, with one of the Oakland hits being a double by Stephen Piscotty, who recorded a hit for the second straight game following the death of his mother on Sunday.

The A’s, who were held to two or fewer runs for the fifth straight game, split a six-game homestand after having swept three from the Baltimore Orioles.

—Field Level Media

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