A’s collapse tries to slow Astros’ race to division title

Even Chris Bassitt’s return wasn’t enough to spark the Oakland Athletics.

Bassitt made his first appearance on Thursday since taking a 100 mph liner in the face on August 17.

The right-hander pitched three scoreless innings and came away with a three-point lead, but the A’s couldn’t hang on and lost 6-5 to the visiting Seattle Mariners, who swept the streak of four. matches.

It won’t be any easier for the As, as the Western American League leader Houston Astros come to town for a three-game series starting Friday.

Oakland (82-71) now has four games back in the race for the second and final playoff spot in the AL, with nine games to go.

“We’re so far behind 8-ball right now in the standings it’s hard to watch,” Bassitt said. “Obviously the last month has been terrible for us.”

Bassitt was leading the league with 12 wins and the A’s were in the playoff position when he was hit by a ball hit by Brian Goodwin of the Chicago White Sox. Bassitt needed stitches and surgery to repair a fractured cheekbone.

Oakland went 14-18 in his absence, relinquishing its position in the playoffs.

“It is what it is,” Bassitt said. “We haven’t done a good enough job winning games. But I’m still very happy to be in this squad.”

The A’s have totaled just 10 points in the four games against Seattle, half of which via solo homers.

“Very disappointing,” said Oakland manager Bob Melvin. “Four-game sweeps are tough to do. We’re at home and we’ve got a lot to play. They got some big hits when they had to. (The Mariners are one) a team that doesn’t score a ton of points. . You would think that when you score five points, you have a chance of winning this game. “

The Astros (91-62) still have plenty to play, as they are three games away from the Tampa Bay Rays (94-59) for the league’s best record.

Houston ended a four-game winning streak with a 3-2 loss Thursday night to the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim, Calif.

The Astros’ magic number to win the division title remained at three after the loss blamed on Lance McCullers Jr. The right-hander allowed three runs on two hits in six innings, injuring himself with a four walks.

Manager Dusty Baker said of McCullers: “He’s one of the league leaders in ERA and one of the toughest to hit in the league. “

Astros right-hander Zack Greinke (11-6, 4.11 ERA) is set to start on Friday. Greinke is 11-3 with a 2.66 ERA in 23 career appearances against Oakland, including 19 starts. He’s 2-0 against the As this season, winning two 8-1 starts. In 14 innings, he allowed one run on seven hits, no walks and 12 strikeouts.

In his last three outings, Greinke has failed to go past five innings or allow less than five earned runs – and those starts have come against the Texas Cellar Rangers (twice) and Arizona Diamondbacks.

The A’s plan to counter with right-hander Frankie Montas (12-9, 3.57 mph). Montas is 6-4 with a 3.75 ERA in 12 career appearances against Houston, with 10 starts. He’s 2-1 against the Astros this season, allowing just four runs on 18 hits in 17 2/3 innings, with four walks and 21 strikeouts.

In his last outing against host Angels on Sunday, Montas pitched seven white innings with a hit in a game Oakland won 3-2 in 10 innings.

– Field level media

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