The A's extended their winning streak to an MLB-best eight games with Saturday's 3-1 win over the Houston Astros at the Oakland Coliseum, and Marcus Semien made sure there would be no extra innings after a very lengthy game the night before.
Semien gave the A's the lead with a leadoff home run, Frankie Montas dazzled on the mound and Matt Chapman started looking like his old self. The A's (11-4) now are 4 1/2 games up on the Astros (6-8) in the AL West.
Here’s what you might have missed in Saturday’s win.
Semien milking it
Semien didn’t take long to make an impact, working a 3-2 count in his first at-bat before hitting a solo homer to left.
Walk-off hit in Game 1 ✅— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) August 8, 2020
Leadoff homer in Game 2 ✅ pic.twitter.com/SrGgbT4C9K
After hitting a walk-off single in Friday night's win, Semien said he's seeing more difficult pitches this season after finishing third in AL MVP voting in 2019.
Now, he's starting to get into a groove. His homer also gave the A's a bit of breathing room, ensuring they didn't need to repeat Friday's comeback.
Although we do love the drama of a walk-off.
In seven innings, Montas gave up two hits, struck out five and didn't allow any runs. The Astros, even when making contact, weren’t hitting the ball hard off of him at all.
Montas used his splitter about 12.5 percent of the time heading into Saturday, and you can expect that percentage to increase as time goes on. Especially with how successful it has proven to be this season.
In the bottom of the eighth, Matt Chapman gave the A's an insurance run with an opposite-field dinger. The solo shot had an exit velocity of 104.4 mph.
Insurance dinger by Chappy 💪 pic.twitter.com/JrO41KhfN3— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) August 8, 2020
Chapman's power is showing, and his work from the first spring training is paying off. His patience at the plate also was apparent Friday night.
The third baseman now has hit safely in five of his last six games. He’s not quite yet where he was offensively in previous seasons, but his defense still is Platinum Glove-worthy.