After getting plenty of production to win their AL debut, the Houston Astros have struggled to generate any kind of offense.
The Oakland Athletics ' bats have awaken after a quiet start.
In danger of being shut out in three straight games for the first time in almost 28 years, the Astros look to avoid a third consecutive loss while trying to prevent the visiting A's from winning their third in a row Friday night.
Houston (1-2) had nine hits in an 8-2 season-opening victory over Texas on Sunday but was held to seven while being outscored 11-0 in the final two games of the set. Yu Darvish came within one out of pitching a perfect game before the Astros mustered two hits in Tuesday's 7-0 loss.
The Astros, who last failed to score in three straight games July 14-19, 1985, struck out a remarkable 43 times and managed four walks against the Rangers.
"Just a couple of rough games. You just leave it at that," said veteran Carlos Pena , who is 2 for 11 with six strikeouts. "We weren't facing easy ... pitchers."
Pena had one of the Astros' five hits in Wednesday's 4-0 loss.
Houston has dropped five of six all-time meetings with Oakland (2-2), but the new AL West rivals have not met since 2007. However, they have some recent history.
The A's traded first baseman Chris Carter , Friday's scheduled starter Brad Peacock and a minor leaguer to Houston for shortstop Jed Lowrie and pitcher Fernando Rodriguez during the offseason. On Thursday, the Astros acquired left-hander Travis Blackley from Oakland for minor league outfielder Jake Goebbert .
Carter, who had 19 homers and 46 RBIs in 106 games with the A's the past three seasons, is 0 for 11 with seven strikeouts for Houston.
Peacock, who was acquired from Washington as part of the Gio Gonzalez deal in 2011, spent all of last season with the A's Triple-A affiliate in Sacramento. The right-hander won both career starts for the Nationals in 2011, allowing three hits over 10 2-3 scoreless innings.
"I've been waiting for this day for a long time, and I'm ready to get going," Peacock told the Astros' official website. "I felt like it's been forever since I've been out there. Just getting back on the mound - I want to have a good game - and I get to see all my buddies from Oakland. It should be fun."
He'll face an Oakland lineup that recorded 14 runs and 21 hits in winning two straight over Seattle after producing one run and six hits in the first two of the series.
"I feel like we weren't the team we know we can be," said right fielder Josh Reddick , who went 0 for 10 in the first three games before going 2 for 3 with a homer and four RBIs in the finale. "We kind of really woke up (Wednesday) and (Thursday). To split the series is good for us, and just have a happy flight going to Houston with a little bit of confidence on our side."
Lowrie, who hit .244 with 16 homers and 42 RBIs in 97 games with Houston in 2012, went 6 for 13 with a home run and three RBIs against the Mariners.
The A's hand the ball to Dan Straily, who went 2-1 with a 3.89 ERA last season. The right-hander, though, allowed 11 home runs in seven starts after making his major league debut Aug. 3.
|March 27, 2013||Hiroyuki Nakajima||15-Day DL||Strained left hamstring|
|March 26, 2013||Adam Rosales||15-Day DL||Strained left intercostal|
|March 23, 2013||Fernando Rodriguez||60-Day DL||Right elbow surgery - out for season|
|March 14, 2013||Fernando Rodriguez||Day-to-Day||Right elbow surgery - out for season|
|February 14, 2013||Grant Balfour||Day-to-Day||Right knee surgery - out 4-6 weeks|
|March 30, 2013||Alex White||60-Day DL||Right elbow strain|
|March 27, 2013||Fernando Martinez||15-Day DL||Strained left oblique|
HOUSTON (AP) -- Though no one had told him officially, Oakland's Dan Straily knew after Friday night's start he'd be sent down to Triple-A.
The rookie didn't let that bother him, allowing five hits and striking out a career-high 11 in 6 2-3 solid innings of an 8-3 win over the Houston Astros .
Straily (1-0) was sent down to make room on the roster for Bartolo Colon , who will face the A's Saturday in his first start since receiving a 50-game suspension for a positive testosterone test last Aug. 22.
"It was something I've thought about," Straily said moments after receiving the news. "I kept trying not to, but I can do basic math, there's six of us for five spots. I'm the least experienced and youngest guy, so I just take it in stride."
Manager Bob Melvin was impressed with Straily's work.
"That might have been the best we've seen him pitch," Melvin said. "A strong performance for a guy that obviously we just sent down and had that weighing on his mind going out to pitch, too. So that was doubly impressive to give us that kind of outing."
Coco Crisp hit a leadoff homer and added two doubles in Oakland's big fifth inning to back Straily.
Crisp sent the fourth pitch of the night over the wall in the corner of right field for his ninth career leadoff homer.
The Athletics were up 1-0 when Crisp doubled with one out in the fifth to chase Houston starter Brad Peacock (0-1). His second double of the inning drove in two runs in Oakland's seven-run outburst.
"It's a little shocking when you hit around," Crisp said. "It doesn't happen that often in the big leagues or just period - Little League. It's always exciting as a team when that happens."
Crisp was dealing with a tight back Friday night after attempting to make a diving catch in the bottom of the first inning.
"It kind of loosened up as the game went on," he said. "They were thinking about taking me out ... but I just got some work done on it throughout the course of the game and I was OK."
He iced it after the game and thinks he'll be fine to play on Saturday.
Josh Donaldson added a two-run single in that inning as the Athletics visited the Astros for just the second time and the first since 2007.
They'll get plenty acquainted with Minute Maid Park this season. Oakland makes two more trips to Houston with the Astros joining the AL West.
Houston set a major league record for the most strikeouts in the first three games of the season with 43.
This team, which has the league's lowest payroll and is coming off consecutive 100-loss seasons, continued its torrid strikeout pace Friday by adding 13. Each of the four starters the Astros have faced this season have either set or tied career highs in strikeouts.
Straily is the first Oakland pitcher to strike out 11 since Gio Gonzalez did it on Sept. 28, 2011.
"In the major leagues you're going to get at least one pitch to hit, and when you get it you've got to put it in play hard," Houston manager Bo Porter said. "And if you don't put it in play hard you're going to find yourself chasing the pitcher's pitch, and that's what happened tonight."
Straily allowed a single to Chris Carter with two outs in the first inning before retiring 13 of the next 14 batters. Houston's next hit came when Marwin Gonzalez doubled down the right field line to start Houston's sixth. The Astros scored for the first time in 24 1-3 innings when Jose Altuve drove in Gonzalez with a single to make it 8-1.
Justin Maxwell doubled off Straily with no outs in the seventh. He was replaced by Pat Neshek , who allowed an RBI single to Matt Dominguez .
Peacock allowed three hits and two runs with five strikeouts in 4 1-3 innings in his first major league appearance since 2011. It was his debut with the Astros after being traded from the Athletics with Carter for Jed Lowrie just before spring training.
Peacock, who spent last season in Triple-A, had retired eight in a row before he was chased by Crisp's double with one out in the fifth inning.
"It was the first time I'd been out there in a while," Peacock said. "I wasn't nervous, but I was over-amped, trying to throw a little too hard, maybe."
He was replaced by Xavier Cedeno , who struggled with command from the beginning. He walked the first two batters he faced to load the bases before an error by shortstop Gonzalez allowed Yoenis Cespedes to reach and two runs scored.
A sacrifice bunt by John Jaso drove home another run before Chris Young walked to load the bases again. Donaldson singled in a pair of runs on a line drive to right field to push the lead to 6-0.
Cedeno then plunked Eric Sogard before being replaced by Rhiner Cruz without recording an out.
Cruz retired one batter before Crisp hit his second double of the inning, this one to drive in two runs and make it 8-0.
Lowrie walked before the Astros finally got out of that inning when Maxwell grabbed a long fly from Josh Reddick , the 13th batter of the inning.
NOTES: A's starters have earned a decision in each of their first five games for the first time since 1991. ... Oakland 1B Brandon Moss was not with the team on Friday after leaving to be with his pregnant wife a day before. Manager Bob Melvin said the baby hadn't yet been born Friday afternoon, and that he had not placed Moss on the paternity list. ... The series continues on Saturday when Houston's Bud Norris opposes Colon. ... Houston long reliever Alex White will have Tommy John surgery on his right elbow next week and is out for the season. .... Houston designated right-hander Edgar Gonzalez for assignment to make room on the roster for pitcher Travis Blackley , who was acquired from Oakland on Thursday. ... The A's acquired minor league catcher Stephen Vogt from Tampa Bay for a player to be named or cash on Friday.