Bats can't back Morton in Game 1 loss to A's

Bats can't back Morton in Game 1 loss to A's

OAKLAND -- Daniel Gossett threw six innings of one-run ball and the A's offense provided plenty of support en route to an 11-1 win over the Astros in the first game of Saturday's doubleheader at the Coliseum.

The rookie right-hander struck out a career-high seven, picking up his fourth win. He gave up five hits and walked three, with the only run coming on a double by Alex Bregman in the fifth.

"Maybe not his best command at times, he got behind some guys, but he made some big pitches when he had to," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "There were a lot of 2-1, 2-0 counts, but he was able to recover, which is not easy to do."

Gossett's terrific outing

Oakland scored three in the second, highlighted by rookie Matt Chapman's RBI triple to right field. The A's capitalized on two Houston errors in the inning.

Gossett said he was encouraged by the strong outing, but knows he needs to be more consistent, instead of posting a rough start then bouncing back -- like he did Saturday.

"We were able to work together -- me and [catcher Josh Phegley]," Gossett said. "I beat him up early. I felt like I beat him up the whole game. He stuck with me and stayed in the fight. We put together a pretty decent performance."

In the sixth, the A's added three runs when Jed Lowrie drew a bases-loaded walk and Khris Davis followed with a two-run single, upping his RBI total to 101. After setting a career high with 102 RBIs last year, Davis is the first Oakland player to have back-to-back 100-RBI seasons since Miguel Tejada (2000-03) and Eric Chavez (2001-03).

Davis' two-run single

The A's blew the game wide open with a five-run eighth on four bases-loaded walks and an RBI single by rookie Joey Wendle.

Wendle adds to the lead

Astros starter Charlie Morton took the loss as he gave up three runs (two earned) in five innings, allowing six hits and two walks while striking out eight. He said fastball command was his biggest issue.

"Luckily the curveball was there for strikes. It was spinning well," Morton said. "Just not efficient. That's really frustrating, especially with what happened [Friday] night and a doubleheader today. I wish I could go deeper."

Morton's eight K's

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Powell pounces on basepaths: After Boog Powell knocked in Chapman for the second run in the second, Powell used his speed to take advantage of some misplays by the Astros. Powell raced to third when first baseman Tyler White missed a pickoff throw, then dashed home safely when Morton bobbled a dribbler in front of the mound.

Powell beats the tag, pads lead

"To score on a bouncer back to the pitcher where he bobbled it just for a second enough to score -- he's an aggressive player," Melvin said. "It's part of his game. It's what he does."

Gossett tiptoes through third: Gossett responded to his team's early offense by walking the first two batters of the third, bringing the potential tying run to the plate. But after a deep flyout moved the runners to second and third, the rookie retired Jose Altuve on a comebacker and struck out Carlos Correa looking to escape the inning unscathed.

"They're a couple of the best hitters in the game of baseball," Gossett said. "To be able to make my pitches when I needed to, it was gratifying. I felt excited about it. But in the same sense, try and stick with not having runners in scoring position -- that would be great."

Gossett strikes out Correa

"That was probably key in the game," Melvin said. "You walk the No. 9 guy who was just coming in the game. You have the top of their order coming up. You know they can do some damage. It gave him some confidence to get out of that inning."

QUOTABLE
"This is a team you have to stay on top of it. You can't take any innings off. Next thing you know, they're going to be right back in the game. It was good we were able to add on some runs and give ourselves some distance." -- Melvin, on adding three runs in the sixth and five in the eighth

"It wasn't a good game for us. Certainly, it probably looks a lot worse than it was for most of the game. Quick recovery, we'll get back out there and play another game, but it wasn't a good game." -- Astros manager A.J. Hinch

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Astros walked 13, tying a franchise record. The only other time they walked 13 was May 4, 1975, in San Francisco.

The five bases-loaded walks drawn by the A's tied an Oakland single-game record. The A's set the mark Sept. 5, 2008, in Baltimore.

ASTROS' DAVIS WHIFFS TWO
Houston infielder J.D. Davis came in to pitch with one out in the eighth and got the final two outs. In his second Major League pitching appearance, J.D Davis struck out Marcus Semien and Khris Davis, both swinging.

Davis retires Semien on strikes

WHAT'S NEXT
Astros: Left-hander Dallas Keuchel (12-3, 2.88 ERA) will take the mound for Sunday's 3:05 p.m. CT series finale. Keuchel was solid his last time out, allowing two runs in 7 2/3 innings to beat the Mariners on Monday. He's won three starts against the A's this year, allowing two runs in 21 2/3 innings (0.82 ERA).

Athletics: Kendall Graveman will look to lower his 3.17 ERA at the Coliseum in Sunday's 1:05 p.m. PT contest. In three starts since defeating Houston on Aug. 18, Graveman has posted a 5.29 ERA.

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Alex Simon is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter at @alexsimon99.

Jonathan Hawthorne is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.