MLB Baseball

Final 1 2 3   4 5 6   7 8 9   R H E
Oakland0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 031
Houston6 5 0 0 0 1 3 0 x 15171
  W: Z. Greinke (5-1)   L: M. Fiers (14-4)
5:10 PM PT6:10 PM MT7:10 PM CT8:10 PM ET20:10 ET0:10 GMT8:10 5:10 PM MST7:10 PM EST7:40 PM VEN4:10 UAE (+1)7:10 PM CT, September 9, 2019
Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas  Attendance: 38,289

Red-hot Astros face just-as-hot A's pitcher Fiers

According to STATS
According to STATS

Oakland Athletics at Houston Astros

  1. Houston took eight of the first nine matchups with Oakland this season but the A's have won four of the last six. The Astros are 46-15 against the AL West this season, the best record by any team against its own division.
  2. Oakland's starting pitchers have posted a 3.18 ERA over the last 35 games, second best in the AL dating back to July 29 (Houston is third at 3.57). The A's starters have walked just 2.05 batters per nine innings in that span, best in MLB.
  3. The Astros defeated the Mariners by 20 runs yesterday after beating the Orioles by 21 runs on Aug. 10. They're the first team to win two games by 20+ runs in the same season since the 1939 Yankees (three).
  4. Marcus Semien has hit for the cycle in his last five games, totaling three singles, three doubles, one triple and one home run. This is the second time this season he has matched each of those totals in a five-game span -- the only other player in the AL with multiple such spans is Detroit's JaCoby Jones.
  5. Yordan Alvarez hit three doubles yesterday in his 70th career game, bringing him to 22 doubles and 22 home runs on the season. That is the fastest a player has ever reached 20 doubles and 20 home runs in MLB history, surpassing Ronald Acuna Jr.'s record set last season (77 games).
  6. Mike Fiers has made 21 straight starts without a loss, tied for the third-longest streak in the live-ball era (since 1920). Zack Greinke is one win away from his eighth 15-win season in the last nine years -- in the last 35 years, only Greg Maddux and Randy Johnson have had eight 15-win seasons in a nine-year span.
Notes Applicable For Series Dates: 9/9/2019 thru 9/12/2019
(AP Photo/Ben Margot)

By mid-August, the Astros opened such a sizable lead in the American League West that even after losing three of four in Oakland, they escaped the Bay Area with a seven-game division lead.

In the four weeks since, Houston has inched further ahead in pursuit of its third consecutive division title. With their four-game series sweep of the visiting Seattle Mariners, completed Sunday with a 21-1 victory, the Astros reduced their magic number to clinch the AL West to 10 games.

With the Athletics paying a visit for a four-game set starting Monday, the Astros can essentially achieve that goal should they continue with their winning ways.

The Astros enter the series 16-4 over their last 20 games and 27-4 over their last 31 games at Minute Maid Park. Houston is 27-2 at home against divisional foes, and by maintaining that momentum against Oakland, the Astros can turn their attention to home-field advantage in the postseason.

"We put up a lot of wins, and I like the way we're playing," Astros manager AJ Hinch said. "We have a one-game mentality, which is good. We know it's a four-game series, we know what's at stake.

"I think the mentality that served us well is just to win today's game and get to the next one. We have (Zack) Greinke going tomorrow, that's the game to focus on. If we can build a closer and closer chance to win the division, that is our first goal. And the sooner that we can do that, the better."

Greinke (14-5, 3.09 ERA) will start the series opener for the Astros on Monday. He took his first loss in six starts with the Astros in his previous outing, allowing four runs on eight hits with four strikeouts over six innings in a 4-2 setback against the Milwaukee Brewers on Sept. 3.

Greinke has surrendered nine earned runs on 14 hits over 11 2/3 innings in his last two starts, with the Astros losing both of those contests.

He is 7-2 with a 2.97 ERA over 17 career appearances (13 starts) against the Athletics. Greinke limited Oakland to one run on four hits and three walks with six strikeouts over seven innings in a 4-1 win on Aug. 18, his third start after he joined the Astros.

Right-hander Mike Fiers (14-3, 3.51 ERA) gets the ball for Oakland to open the four-game series.

Fiers is 12-0 with a 2.59 ERA over his last 21 starts, a streak that began with his no-hitter against the Cincinnati Reds on May 7. He has allowed a .639 OPS during his winning streak, with the Athletics going 17-4 in those starts.

Fiers, who went 21-19 with a 4.59 ERA over parts of three seasons (2015-17) with the Astros, is 1-2 with a 5.63 ERA over seven career starts against Houston.

In four starts against the Astros this season, Fiers has not recorded a decision while posting a 6.14 ERA. Oakland has won Fiers' previous two starts against the Astros.

Oakland, 12-6 since dropping the finale of that series with Houston last month, kept pace with a 3-1 win over Detroit on Sunday and maintained its 1 1/2-game lead over the Cleveland Indians for the second AL wild card.

The Athletics saddled Houston with one of its two home losses against AL West opponents, rallying in the ninth inning on July 23 before winning 4-3 in 11.

First baseman Matt Olson went 5 for 12 in the A's three-game series with the Tigers, and also tied his season high with his 29th homer of the season.

Olson had a 10-game hitting streak snapped Sunday, but he talked about gaining consistency at the plate and losing streakiness.

"I just feel like I'm becoming more aware of my swing," Olson told "When something feels off, I feel like I'm addressing it sooner than I have in the past and getting back on track. That's been big for me this year."

--Field Level Media

Updated September 9, 2019

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