OAKLAND — The tarps were removed from the Oakland Coliseum on Friday night, but Dallas Keuchel kept the A’s offense under wraps.
Aside from a second inning home run from Khris Davis that tied him with George Springer and Salvador Perez for the American League lead with five, Keuchel was able to keep the A’s hitters in check as he allowed just four hits and one run over seven innings in a 7-2 victory.
Kendall Graveman was pulled from a 1-1 ballgame after five innings despite only throwing 74 pitches. Graveman was seen wincing as he shook his arm, but there was no update on if his removal was because of an injury.
Graveman turned in a workman-like effort in his short outing, highlighted by his ability to escape a tight fourth inning jam. With the bases loaded and one out, Graveman got Brian McCann and Marwin Gonzalez on consecutive pop outs to preserve a 1-0 lead.
For the first time since Sept. 28, 2014, Graveman went through an entire start without recording a strikeout.
Ryan Madson replaced Graveman in the sixth and allowed an infield hit to Nori Aoki that put the Astros ahead 2-1, but Ryan Dull came in and struck out George Springer to limit the damage.
After Jose Altuve doubled with an out in the seventh, the first of two bad throw to first on the night by Trevor Plouffe allowed Carlos Correa to reach base and scored Altuve from second to make it 3-1 Astros, marking the eight consecutive game in which the A’s have committed an error. Houston took full advantage of the mistake as Brian McCann doubled off Dull to bring in two more runs to take a commanding 5-1 lead, which was more than enough.
A combined total of five unearned runs scored for Houston after both errors by Plouffe. He did get one of those runs back in the ninth with a solo home run.
The 5-6 A’s are off to another slow start within the division. Their loss to the 7-4 Astros now puts them at 3-5 against the AL West this season.
Josh Reddick made his first visit back to Oakland since being traded along with Rich hill for Jharel Cotton, Frankie Montas and Grant Holmes at last year’s trade deadline and was greeted with a video package during the starting lineups as well as a nice ovation from A’s fans as he walked to the plate with “Careless Whisper” playing over the speakers. Reddick, who spent his off day in San Francisco yesterday, said that he expects the right field bleachers to engage in some friendly banter with him throughout the series. “I’m sure I’m going to get heckled just like any other right fielder.. I wouldn’t expect anything less,” Reddick said. “I know it’s not going to be anything personal. So I’ll be out there smiling a lot.”
Astros manager A.J. Hinch was glad to see the A’s dedicate their field to Rickey Henderson. Hinch, who was a teammated of Henderson in Oakland during the 1998 season, said Henderson was the epitome of what A’s baseball was all about. “I love that they did this,” Hinch said. “I have a lot of fond memories of him.”
The tarps were lifted from the third deck of the Coliseum for an A’s game for the first time since 2005, increasing capacity by 12,103 seats. For the entire 10-game homestand, half of the proceeds of the $15 seats will be donated to Oakland Promise, an initiative that aims to triple the number of college graduates from Oakland within the next decade. 15,385 was the official attendance at the tarp-less Coliseum.
Friday marked the first of 16 consecutive games that will be played against AL West teams.
Khris Davis hit a home run in his first game against the Astros this year after hitting just one all last season against Houston.
Jose Altuve reached base safely for the tenth consecutive game this season.
Yonder Alonso flied out on a pinch hit appearance in the ninth, snapping his streak of consecuitve games having reached base safely at eight.