Astros Bullpen Stumbles Twice, Lose Twinbill

Peacock: Not his fault
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Should the Astros find themselves playing Game 7 of the ALCS at Cleveland, they may want to reflect on this weekend in Oakland. Houston pitchers have given up 31 runs in the first three games of this weekend series, largely due to bullpen meltdowns, and lost all three including a doubleheader loss Saturday by scores of 11-1 and 11-4.

The starting pitchers weren't the problem. Charlie Morton gave up three early runs and was charged with one of the two errors that kept the rally alive. But Tyler Clippard allowed three more in the sixth and the game snowballed out of control. Houston set a team record by walking in five runs and tied their team mark issuing 13 free passes.

Third baseman J.D. Davis was brought in for late relief. He was clocked at 93 MPH and might want to be considered as a reliever next year.

Brad Peacock tossed five shutout innings in the nightcap before bowing out in the sixth after allowing a two-run homer. Just as Morton got no help from the pen, neither did Peacock.

Meanwhile, the offense had produced just one run for the first 14 innings until Jose Altuve smoked a two-run homer in the sixth to take the lead. Another run soon followed but the A's bounced right back with three of their own in their half of the inning.

The Astros took a 4-3 lead in the seventh only to see Oakland score twice in their half. Houston trailed by just one in the eighth before Michael Feliz served up a five-run hairball to clinch the sweep for Oakland.

Cleveland, now with 17 consecutive wins, has tied the Astros for the best record in the league. Should they end the season that way, the AL Champs would win the home field tiebreaker with the better head-to-head record.

The Astros try to salvage something from the weekend on Sunday with Dallas Keuchel (12-3) taking on Kendall Graveman (4-4) in the 3:05 Central finale. Keuchel is 5-3 with a 2.39 ERA in 17 games against Oakland in his career.

-Bob Hulsey