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Athletics vs. Astros – Game Recap – September 10, 2019

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HOUSTON — The Oakland Athletics could think of no better way to erase the memory of a blowout loss to the Houston Astros than to turn things around on the AL West leaders on Tuesday night.

Matt Olson and Sean Murphy each homered twice, and the Athletics tagged Wade Miley for seven runs in the first inning and scored a season high in a 21-7 rout of the Astros.

After being blanked in a lopsided loss on Monday, Oakland recovered to win its seventh of nine and remained a half-game ahead of Cleveland for the second AL wild-card spot.

“It’s awesome to respond to — there’s no other way to put it — the [butt]-kicking that we got yesterday,” Olson said. “To be able to come back. We always know we can compete against these guys, and to do it in the fashion that we did today was nice.”

The Astros were coming off a 21-1 win over Seattle on Sunday and a 15-0 thrashing of Oakland on Monday in which they hit seven homers.

But on Tuesday, the A’s tied a franchise record with 25 hits and built a 7-0 lead in the first inning without an extra-base knock. They still ended up tying a season high with six homers after not hitting any in their previous two games. Their 25 hits were the most they’d hit since 1969.

Khris Davis hit Oakland’s first long ball in the second inning. Olson went deep in the third and added another homer in a six-run fourth that also featured blasts by Sean Murphy and Marcus Semien to push the lead to 17-2. The A’s set a franchise record for runs scored through the first four innings.

Murphy homered again in the fifth, and Semien added an RBI double.

“They executed pretty flawlessly, and they crushed the ball later in the game,” Houston manager AJ Hinch said.

All nine Oakland starters had at least two hits, and six players finished with three each. Olson and Murphy had three hits and four RBIs apiece and Davis and Semien drove in three runs each.

Olson has a career-high 31 homers this season, joining Mark McGwire (eight times) and Jason Giambi (twice) as the only Oakland third basemen to top 30.

The Astros got two homers each from George Springer and Martin Maldonado to give them a franchise-record 252 this season as their five-game winning streak ended.

Houston became the first team in the majors to score 20 or more runs in a game and allow 20 or more runs in a different game in a three-game span since Aug. 6-7, 1894, when the Brooklyn Bridegrooms did it, according to STATS.

The Astros are the third MLB team to have three straight games decided by 14 or more runs and the first since the 1800s when in 1876 the Chicago White Stockings had a streak of four such games and the Cleveland Spiders had three in a row in 1893.

Tanner Roark (10-8) yielded eight hits and five runs in 5 2/3 innings for his third straight win.

After Miley (13-5) had allowed five runs without getting an out in his last start against Seattle, Hinch was asked before the game what he’d like to see from his left-hander this time.

“I want him to get an out,” Hinch joked.

Hinch certainly wasn’t laughing when one out was all Miley managed before he was pulled with the Athletics leading 6-0. Miley allowed seven singles and walked one before he was replaced by Cy Sneed. He was charged with seven earned runs, which tied a season worst. The eight hits Oakland piled up in the first inning tied a season high.

“A lot of cutters in and you can either beat it on the ground or you can try to stay inside it and hit it the other way,” Melvin said of his team’s approach against Miley. “Just not trying to do too much and the hole’s open at second and just trying to pass the baton on to the next guy.”

Miley took his first loss since June 17. In his previous tough start, Houston rallied to win in 13 innings.

He was at a loss as to why things have gone so awry after he pitched so well all season.

“I’d be lying if I said I’m not thinking, ‘What the hell is going on,'” Miley said. “[But] it’s just baseball, it’s a humbling game, I’ve just got to get back to work and try to get after it.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Astros: SS Carlos Correa (sore lower back) is progressing, and if his next two days of rehabilitation go well, he will join Triple-A Round Rock for a rehabilitation game on Friday.

MARKING HIS SPOT

A day after Yordan Alvarez became the first Astro to hit a home run to the third deck at Minute Maid Park the Astros marked where it landed by painting the seat in the first row of section 337 orange.

It was the second of two homers he hit on Monday night to pass Carlos Correa for most home runs by a rookie in franchise history with 24.

ODDS AND ENDS

Davis hit his 20th homer on Tuesday to become the first Athletic with four straight 20-homer seasons since Eric Chavez had seven in a row from 2000-06. … Semien scored two runs to give him 107 this season, which are the most since Miguel Tejada scored 108 in 2002. … It was the third multi-homer game of Maldonado’s career and his first since 2017.

UP NEXT

Oakland LHP Brett Anderson (11-9, 4.19 ERA) will pitch Wednesday against Houston’s Jose Urquidy (1-1, 5.33). Anderson allowed eight hits and five runs in five innings of a 10-6 win over the Angels in his last start but did not factor in the decision.

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The Phillie Phanatic makeover has been revealed

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The Philadelphia Phillies played their spring training home opener on Sunday, and unveiled the new-look Phillie Phanatic.

Here’s a full breakdown of the Phanatic’s makeover, and the reason for the changes.

The Phillies defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates, 4-3, by the way. And the Phanatic proved that some things never change.

See? We told you so.



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MLB tells court attempts at cheating are part of sports

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NEW YORK — Attempts at cheating are a part of sports, Major League Baseball said in urging a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit by fantasy contestants.

Five men sued MLB, MLB Advanced Media, the Houston Astros and the Boston Red Sox in federal court in Manhattan, claiming fraud, violation of consumer protection laws, negligence, unjust enrichment and deceptive trade practices by teams that violated MLB’s rules against the use of electronics to steal catchers’ signs. The five said they participated in DraftKings fantasy baseball contests.

“Rules violations — large and small, intentional and unintentional, technical and game-changing — are a never-ending source of sports television, talk radio, web and elevator commentary by sports pundits and fans alike,” MLB said Friday in papers submitted to U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff. “And fans’ general awareness of the potential for infractions is underscored in this case by the fact that clubs were publicly disciplined for electronic sign-stealing violations during the 2017 regular season.”

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred ruled last month that the Astros violated sign-stealing rules during home games en route to their World Series title in 2017 and again in 2018. He suspended manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow for one season each, and both were fired by the team. Manfred fined the Astros $5 million, the maximum under MLB rules, and stripped the team of its next two first- and second-round draft picks.

He also is investigating allegations against the Red Sox.

In its papers, MLB cited a 2010 opinion by Judge Robert Cowen for a 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel that upheld the dismissal of a suit by a New York Jets season-ticket holder against the NFL, New England coach Bill Belichick and the Patriots over the Spygate scandal.

“It appears uncontested that players often commit intentional rule infractions in order to obtain an advantage over the course of the game,” Cowen wrote.

MLB maintained that “plaintiffs got exactly what they bargained for: contests determined by baseball players’ actual performance on the field, whatever the contributing factors, predictable or unpredictable, may have been” and added “not one plaintiff claims to have lost any fantasy baseball contest as a result of sign-stealing or otherwise.”

Houston submitted papers to dismiss, citing the Astros’ better performance on the road in 2017: The Astros hit .279 at home with 395 runs and 115 homers at home vs. road stats of .284, 501 runs and 123 homers.

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Marlins’ Derek Jeter calls Astros scandal a ‘black eye’ for baseball

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JUPITER, Fla. — Derek Jeter wishes baseball could change the subject.

The Miami Marlins CEO, who masterfully steered clear of controversy throughout his Hall of Fame playing career, has watched with dismay each new headline in the Houston Astros‘ sign-stealing scandal.

“It’s like a slow drip of responses coming out from everyone,” Jeter said Monday at the Marlins’ spring training camp. “You hope at some point people can just move on. But look, it’s unfortunate. It’s a black eye for the sport.”

Jeter spoke publicly for the first time since commissioner Rob Manfred concluded the Astros violated rules by using a TV camera to steal catchers’ signs during their run to the 2017 World Series title and again in the 2018 season.

Manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow were suspended for one season and then fired by the team. The commissioner’s punishment has been widely criticized because players were not disciplined.

“When you talk about people trying to get an edge in baseball, I don’t think that’s anything new. People have been trying to do it for years,” Jeter said. “But, obviously, people took it way too far. And there are penalties for it. They’re paying the price.

“Regardless of what the penalties are, others are going to have their opinions on what they think should happen. You hope that over time it passes. But I’m sure this is going to sting for a while.”

Last month, Jeter came within one vote of being a unanimous pick for the Hall of Fame. As the New York Yankees‘ shortstop he was all about winning, but in his two seasons with the Marlins they’ve gone 120-203.

Miami’s farm system is much improved, however, and while Jeter declines to predict when the Marlins might become playoff contenders, he believes the depth of young talent will begin to pay dividends in 2020.

“This organization is in a lot better shape than when we took over,” he said. “We should be a lot better this year than we were last year. I’ve always preached competition. We have an organization that is layered with talent. Guys are going to start pushing, and that’s a good thing.”

Miami went 57-105 in 2019, the worst record in the National League. Many projections have the Marlins winning around 70 games this year.

Another challenge for Jeter is to put more fans in the seats. Last season the Marlins finished last in the NL in attendance for the 14th time in the past 15 years.

“From the interactions I’ve had, people are starting to get excited,” Jeter said. “We’re trying to earn the trust of the fan base. It takes a little time. We’re hoping more people are starting to trust us, and they come out and give us a chance.”

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