A's Blank Astros On Five-Hitter
Lead Shrinks To Three

Peacock: Plucked by Piscotty
(c) Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle
Those bargain-basement A's are keeping things interesting by the Bay this year. They flew into Houston having won 10 of their last 12 and continued riding the momentum Monday night with a 2-0 whitewash of the Champs, allowing just five hits. The Astros slid back to a three-game lead over idle Seattle.

Frankie Montas and Gerrit Cole each spun six frames of three-hit goose eggs. Cole fanned eleven but Mostas was equally effective while striking out only two.

Stephen Piscotty stunned the eager Minute Maid crowd of 28,301 with a homer off Brad Peacock to lead off the seventh. Piscotty returned in the eighth to punch an RBI single to center off Joe Smith that plated Khris Davis with an insurance run.

Oakland countered with two shutout innings from Lou Trivino and the 23rd save from All-Star Blake Treinen to complete the shutout. Houston made it interesting in the ninth with singles by George Springer and Josh Reddick but Evan Gattis swung and missed at a 3-2 pitch from Treinen to end the game, snapping Houston's six-game winning streak and eight straight against Oakland.

It's not impossible for the 51-40 Athletics, who are nine back of Houston and six behind Seattle, to start dreaming about their own surge into the postseason. That continues Tuesday when Sean "No Hit" Manaea (8-6) goes toe-to-toe with Justin Verlander (9-4) in a 7:10 pm Central duel. Verlander hasn't posted a win since June 14th and has allowed 12 runs in his four starts (4.26 ERA) since then.

Before the game, the Astros announced they have extended their lease agreement with Minute Maid Park through the 2050 season which will make it the longest-running home field in franchise history if they stay until the end of their lease. Colt Stadium was the home stadium for the first three years and the Astrodome was their home for the next 35. Minute Maid Park began as Enron Field in 2000.

Also, the team announced that star shortstop Carlos Correa would be held out of the Oakland series while he heals a sore back that has put him on the disabled list. Don't be surprised if he isn't reinstated until after the All-Star Break.

- Bob Hulsey