Astros at Athletics
The Oakland Athletics hope to cool off the visiting Houston Astros and salvage the finale of their three-game series Thursday afternoon, but they'll need to slow down Evan Gattis in order to have a chance. Gattis has recorded three home runs and 10 RBIs in the first two games of the set after going deep twice in Wednesday's 13-5 victory.
The 31-year-old designated hitter belted a three-run shot during Houston's seven-run second inning and added a solo blast in the seventh as the reigning World Series champion extended its winning streak to a season-high seven games. Gattis enters the series finale as the only player in club history to record back-to-back five-RBI performances. Oakland fell to 3-3 on its 10-game homestand as it suffered its seventh straight loss to the Astros despite a two-home run effort from Khris Davis and a three-run blast by Stephen Piscotty. Davis' 18th career multi-homer performance - and third this season - gave him six shots in his last eight contests.
TV: 3:35 p.m. ET, MLB Network, AT&T SportsNet-Southwest (Houston)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Astros RH Justin Verlander (8-2, 1.45 ERA) vs. Athletics RH Frankie Montas (3-0, 1.25)
Verlander produced an atypical performance Friday but managed to win his fourth consecutive decision after allowing three runs on five hits and three walks over six innings at Texas. The 35-year-old native of Virginia, who will be making his 400th career start, is 6-1 with a sterling 0.96 ERA and 0.88 WHIP in seven turns on the road this season. Verlander has made 17 starts against Oakland, going 10-6 with one complete game and a 2.61 ERA.
Montas continued the superb start to his tenure with Oakland this year Friday, when he gave up two runs and six hits over 7 2/3 innings in a win over Kansas City. The 25-year-old Dominican has yielded three runs and 16 hits while registering 14 strikeouts and issuing only three walks over 21 2/3 frames in his three turns. Montas has made two relief appearances against Houston in his career, surrendering five runs and five hits in two innings.
1. Gattis has collected 53 RBIs in 50 career games versus the Athletics, including 27 in 25 at Oakland Coliseum.
2. Oakland has been outscored 62-17 during its losing streak against the Astros.
3. Houston is 6-0 on a 10-game road trip that concludes with a three-game set in Kansas City over the weekend.