Chad Qualls Blows Lead To Oakland A’s; Houston Astros Lose 4-3


Say it isn’t so…

Not again.  I thought the Houston Astros were done with inserting Chad Qualls in the lineup to close against the Oakland A’s.  This is in no disrepect to Qualls because he’s still one of the more talented closers in the league but there’s just something about the A’s where he has a hex on him.

I’m sure his ERA for the season against the A’s is somewhere around 27.  That’s right — double-digits.

Tom Lawless gambled big time with the pitching substitution; but hey, sometimes long shots pay off big.

This time, it didn’t work and Lawless gets his first loss since taking over last week and Qualls gets his fifth blown save of the season.

I just can’t believe it, the team was up 3-1 when Scott Feldman was sent to the showers and it was shortly thereafter the game slipped through their hands.

Let’s get to it…

The first few innings were like a game a chess where each team had their opportunity to make their move but would be blocked from advancing forward.  Just about every out you could think of took place.

Until the bottom of the 3rd inning…

The A’s struck first this time and Brandon Moss sac-flied to left scoring Sam Fuld A’s 1, Astros 0

The defense turned up for the next few innings until the top of the 6th.

The Astros answered starting with Carlos Corporan singling to left and Jonathan Villar singling on a bunt grounder to third advancing Corporan to 2nd base.

Robbie Grossman then sac-bunted advancing Villar to 2nd and Corporan to 3rd base.

September 6, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve (27) hits a two-RBI double scoring catcher Carlos Corporan (22, not pictured) and shortstop Jonathan Villar (2, not pictured) against the Oakland Athletics during the sixth inning at Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Next up?

The great Jose Altuve!  He doubled to left scoring Corporan and Villar!  Astros 2, A’s 1

At the top of the 7th, the team struck again when Grossman sac-flied to right scoring Jake Marisnick and advancing Jesus Guzman to 3rd.  Astros 3, A’s 1

Feldman held it together until the bottom of the 9th inning when things got tricky for him and he appeared to be tiring out after long surpassing the century mark with his pitch count.

He got himself into a jam with Josh Donaldson singling to right and Derek Norris singling to center putting Donaldson in scoring position at 3rd base.

You could see the expression on Lawless’ face that he was ready to yank him as his demeanor was calm and cool on the way to the mound.

He made the call to the bullpen for Qualls and that’s when all hell broke loose.

Shortly after he started, Josh Reddick then doubled to left scoring Donaldson and Billy Burns who pinch-ran for Norris tying the game at three-all.  Astros 3, A’s 3

Jed Lowrie was the next batter up and put the nail in the coffin by singling to left through the 5-6 hole scoring Reddick in exclaimed walk-off fashion.  Final Score:  A’s 4, Astros 3

Qualls should’ve stayed with the slider, he had better success with it.  He instead opted for the 93 miles-per-hour sinker which Lowrie swung and missed on the second pitch but totally nailed for the walk-off which was the fourth pitch.

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And there you have it, Qualls gave up three runs in just two opposing at-bats.  That was fast!

Altuve did shine a bit going 1-for-4 — the Astros only had four hits yesterday — with two RBIs and one double.

Feldman allowed seven hits, two earned runs, with no walks, striking out six while going the distance in 8.1 innings of work.

Anyway, onto the next one…

The Astros do it again one last time against the A’s this season.  First pitch is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. CDT.

Dallas Keuchel will get the start and he’ll duel with Jason Hammel.  Both pitchers are red-hot at the moment.

Go ‘Stros!