OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Doug Fister pitched seven innings and Jose Altuve continued his torrid hitting as the Houston Astros defeated the Oakland Athletics 7-0 on Wednesday.
After losing three of his last four decisions, Fister (10-6) took matters into his own hands, throwing seven innings of four-hit ball in which he struck out five and walked two.
The A’s, who had won four of five since the All-Star break and took their second straight series, failed to advance a runner past second base against Fister.
They moved just three runners into scoring position (one on a two-base error).
Altuve was 2 for 3 with two walks. Baseball’s leading hitter is 12 for his last 17 in his last four games.
The Astros, who had lost three of their previous four, scored two runs in the second with two outs and nobody on base when five batters reached safely against A’s starter Daniel Mengden (1-5).
Mengden struck out five and allowed three runs, five hits and five walks in five innings. He recovered from a shaky start, blanking the Astros over the last three innings.
Fister is 9-3 over his last 15 starts going back to May 1. The Astros are 12-3 over that stretch.
Jake Marisnick and George Springer each had two hits including a double and Jason Castro added a run-scoring triple as the Astros combined for 10 hits.
Josh Reddick had two of Oakland’s four hits and Daniel Coulombe allowed no hits in two shutout innings in relief of Mengden.
The Astros and A’s rank at or near the bottom in virtually every meaningful offensive category out of the designated hitter’s spot. The Astros’ .186 and the A’s .205 batting averages going into Wednesday were the league’s two worst. The A’s DH’s were tied with the Chicago White Sox with the fewest home runs (8) and alone at the bottom with 33 RBIs. Houston’s DH’s ranked third- and fourth-worst in the league with 38 RBIs and 11 home runs.
The A’s recalled utilityman Arismendy Alcantara from Triple-A Nashville before Wednesday’s game and in a corresponding move optioned LHP Dillon Overton to Nashville.
Astros: Marwin Gonzalez was moved from first base to left field so rookie 1B A.J. Reed could get some at-bats, manager A.J. Hinch said.
Athletics: LHP Rich Hill, removed five pitches into his last start on Sunday after a blister on his left middle finger burst, is doubtful for Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays, the next open spot in the A’s rotation with Overton’s demotion, manager Bob Melvin said.
Astros: RHP Lance McCullers pitches a series opener against the Los Angeles Angels on Friday. McCullers has lost three of his last four decisions. He’s 1-1 with a 2.35 ERA in five career starts against the Angels, allowing one run in a 5 2/3 innings in his only start against the Angels this season.
Athletics: RHP Sonny Gray (4-8, 5.12) snapped a career-worst seven-game losing streak in his most recent start and will hope to build on that momentum on Thursday against the Tampa Bay Rays. Gray is 2-1 with a 3.11 ERA in six career starts against the Rays and 2-2 with a 7.01 ERA in five starts against the Eastern Division this year.
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