The A’s couldn’t make a strong outing from Frankie Montas stand up Tuesday night at the Coliseum in a 3-1 loss to the Astros.
Montas had allowed just one run in seven innings but allowed a leadoff home run in the eighth to Chas McCormick, breaking a 1-1 tie and chasing him from the game. He fell to 2-5 with the loss, Oakland’s fifth in the first six games of an ongoing 10-game homestand.
The A’s have lost 12 of 17 to fall 12 games under .500 for the first time since finishing the 2017 season at 75-87. They’re now 7-19 at home on the season.
McCormick was in a 2-for-23 funk but snapped out of it with his second three-hit game of the season. He also had an RBI single in the fifth to tie the game at 1.
The second-year outfielder’s contributions were enough on a night when five Houston relievers combined for five scoreless innings of four-hit ball after starter Cristian Javier departed after throwing 85 pitches in four innings.
Phil Maton, Ryne Stanek, Rafael Montero (3-0) and Héctor Neris retired three batters each. Ryan Pressly pitched the ninth for his ninth save.
The Astros entered the night with a 2.48 bullpen ERA, lowest in the majors.
After McCormick hit a 2-2 pitch from Montas to deep center to put Houston ahead 2-1, the Astros drew four consecutive walks off Zach Jackson to force in another run.
Montas struck out five in seven innings but remained winless since April 18. He allowed seven hits and two runs.
Cristian Pache’s RBI single in the fourth inning was the only run the A’s scored on the night. They were 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position and left 11 runners on base.
WHAT’S THE COUNT
Umpires were forced to call for a replay review on the count in the first inning following the fourth pitch to Houston No. 2 hitter Michael Brantley. Confusion apparently arose around the second pitch of the game, a 96 mph sinker on the outside which home plate umpire Manny González called a ball before using his right hand to slightly adjust his facemask, which some mistook for a strike call. When the count got to 3-1, A’s manager Mark Kotsay came out and questioned González. After a brief conversation with crew chief CB Bucknor, the New York replay center was notified and the 3-1 count was confirmed.