Houston, Tx– —Even though the Houston Astros clinched the AL West Division, they still want to finish the season out strongly.
Houston will open the AL Division Series on Oct. 7 against the Chicago White Sox — home field for that best-of-five matchup is still to be determined. Astros also own the tiebreaker after going 5-2 against AL Central champion White Sox this season.
But on Friday night, Matt Olson and Chad Pinder each homered for the Oakland Athletics to beat Houston 8-6 at Minute Aid Park in Houston, Tx, cutting the Astros’ edge for home-field advantage in the playoffs.
Aledmys Díaz gave the Houston a 1-0 lead with an RBI single in the first. Outfielder Jose Siri, who led off with a triple and scored on the single, left the game in the second with a right hand injury.
Pinder hit a solo blast in the fourth and Olson also hit a two-run shot in the sixth to increase Oakland’s lead to 4-1.
“We wanted to win today,” said Jake Meyers, who had two hits and drove in two runs for Houston. “We had an opportunity to win today. That’s something we want to do. That’s the next goal in the next few games is to hopefully get both of those Ws.”
Left-handed Sean Manaea (11-10) gave up two runs on seven hits with six K’s in 5 2/3 innings as the A’s ended a three-game losing streak.
Manaea became the fifth pitcher in Oakland history with at least five consecutive winning seasons, joining Tim Hudson, Catfish Hunter, Dave Stewart, and Dennis Eckersley.
The Astros scored four times in the eighth. Meyers hit an RBI single and Jason Castro followed with a three-run homer for an 8-2 lead.
“We still have games to play,” Olson said. “When we’re out there, we’re going to compete. That’s what we do. It’s all we know really. To push those runs across, we got a couple big hits. A pretty solid win against a good team.”
Lou Trivino got four outs for his 22nd save of the season. He allowed a lead off double in the ninth inning to Yordan Alvarez and walked Carlos Correa, but regained his composure to strike out Jose Altuve and induce ground outs by Michael Brantley and Meyers to end the game.
Astro Framber Valdez (11-6) yielded four runs on four hits with seven K’s in five innings struggled with his control.
Valdez said through a translator that he through he did not use his curveball as much as he should have, and that might have been why he gave up four runs.
“We were trying to take him as far as we could but not overstretch him, so he can be ready for the playoffs,” Baker said. “He was good. He had a really good curveball early.”
RHP Jake Odorizzi (6-7, 4.14) will start Saturday opposite Oakland RHP Paul Blackburn (1-3, 4.71) in the second of the three-game series.