James Falters In Loss To A's

Astros reliever allowed 4 runs in 6th inning

Adam Spolane
September 11, 2019 - 10:33 pm

Photo by Erik Williams/USA Today

HOUSTON (SportsRadio 610)- Josh James entered Wednesday night's game against the Oakland Athletics in the sixth inning with a 2-1 lead, but before another out was recorded the lead was gone and the Astros lost 5-3 at Minute Maid Park.

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Jose Urquidy tossed the first five innings for the Astros striking out 10 while allowing just a Marcus Semien solo homer in the fourth. That came after George Springer sent a 2-2 slider from Brett Anderson over the wall in right-centerfield in the third inning for his 34th homer, and the Astros regained the lead in their half of the fourth when Aledmys Diaz doubled home Yordan Alvarez, but James entered and the first batter he faced, Sean Murphy tied the game with his fourth home run, and James never gained his footing.

Semien singled and Matt Chapman was hit by a pitch. Both moved up on a wild pitch, and Matt Olson broke the tie, ending James' night with a 2-run double. Joe Smith replaced him and allowed the inning's fourth run to score when Khris Davis drove in Olson with a single. 

Martin Maldonado got one of the runs back when he smacked a 3-1 fastball from Jesus Luzardo onto the train tracks for his 12th homer, but while the Astros bullpen held the A's off the board the rest of the night, Luzardo, who was making his Major League debut did the same in the seventh and eighth innings before Liam Hendricks shut the door in the ninth for his 20th save.

The loss drops the Astros to 95-52 on the season and keeps their magic number to clinch the American League West at 8.

Springer, Alvarez and Maldonado finished with two, but the Astros finished just 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position.

Semien had three hits for the A's, who remain .5 games up on Cleveland for the final Wild Card spot in the American League.

Justin Verlander will take the mound for the Astros when they take on the Athletics for the final time in the regular season Thursday night. He'll be opposed by Homer Bailey.