HOUSTON — The A’s beat the Astros, 3-2, on Thursday night to take a 3-1 series win at Minute Maid Park. The A’s are 6-2 in their last eight games against the Astros. Liam Hendriks got his 21st save, stranding the tying run on third in the ninth.
Justin Verlander is a problem for everyone — a probable Cy Young candidate, after all — and the A’s are no exception. Only Khris Davis and Mark Canha have found overall, relative success against the Astros’ powerful right-hander.
Roles switched up on Thursday. Marcus Semien, who’s built a career offensive year on a devastatingly patient approach at the plate, got two first-pitch singles and Matt Olson hit a two-run home run — his second career home run against Verlander — to give the A’s an early lead.
Semien’s aggressive approach contrasted the rest of his teammates, who worked Verlander for two walks and 73 pitches through the first three innings. It was Oakland’s first win over the ace since 2013. Verlander still finished with 11 strikeouts through a six-inning start.
Jose Altuve hit a home run off Yusmeiro Petit in the eighth inning. A.J. Puk came in to face Yordan Alvarez, who hit a broken-bat single away from the shift to put the tying run in scoring position.
Blake Treinen took over and could not find the strike zone. He walked Aledmys Diaz to load the bases and got Kyle Tucker out swinging to strand them.