Jesse Chavez made a little history on Sunday while he continues to make a name for himself as a big-league starter.
Chavez (1-0) became the first player in A’s history to start a season on the Opening Day roster and open with four straight starts of at least six innings and one earned run or fewer, earning his first career victory as a starter as the Oakland Athletics completed a three-game sweep of the Houston Astros with a 4-1 win at O.co Coliseum.
Josh Donaldson swung the big bat for the A’s (13-5), driving in three runs in support of Chavez, who was making just his sixth major-league start. Former A’s pitcher Brad Peacock (0-2) pitched fairly well, also, but was tagged with the loss for Houston (5-14).
The only blemish against Chavez was a solo homer to Marwin Gonzalez with two outs in the fourth inning that cut Oakland’s lead to 2-1.
Chavez went six innings and allowed just the one run on four hits with three walks and six strikeouts. His ERA of 1.38 is fifth in the American League.
Jim Johnson allowed a hit and a walk while retiring two batters in the seventh, Sean Doolittle struck out two in a scoreless 1.1 innings and Luke Gregerson worked a 1-2-3 ninth with a strikeout for his third save.
The A’s got on the board in the first when Donaldson crushed his fourth homer of the season on a line to left field after Jed Lowrie reached on a single.
Oakland got some insurance in the bottom of the seventh. Eric Sogard doubled to right but was caught off second base on Coco Crisp’s comebacker, leaving a runner at first with one out. Lowrie singled and Donaldson smoked a double to left to score Crisp and give the A’s a 3-1 lead. After an intentional walk to Brandon Moss and a strikeout by Craig Gentry, a pitch got away from Astros catcher Jason Castro, allowing Lowrie to score.
Gentry batted after coming into the game in the top of the seventh as a defensive replacement for Yoenis Cespedes in left field. Cespedes came out with a bruised right heel, something that’s been bothering him sporadically most of the season. Manager Bob Melvin told MLB.com Cespedes would be re-evaluated before the A’s open a series with the Texas Rangers at home on Monday.
Donaldson was 3-for-4 and raised his average to .272, while Lowrie and Sogard had two hits apiece. Oakland had 10 hits on the day, including a double by Josh Reddick, who went 7-for-13 in the series and has his average above .200 for the first time all season.
Tags: Oakland Athletics