OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Mark Kotsay will continue to look for the little bright spots as his Oakland Athletics stumble day in and day out, making sure they keep their fight going. He will celebrate a defensive play here, a hit at bat there, a big catch or a hard throw.
Hunter Brown hit a career-high 10 in seven innings and struck out 16 in a row during a streak, Corey Julks drove in three runs and the Houston Astros rebounded from being shut out the previous two games to beat the A’s. 5-2 Friday night. .
Oakland (10-43) now has the most losses in the first 53 games since 1900. The 1932 Red Sox won their 53rd game to move to 11-42, then lost the next eight and 13 of 14.
“This start can test your character, that’s for sure,” said Kotsay, Oakland’s second-year manager. “If we sit here and dwell on the negatives, we have no chance of reversing the situation. Focusing on the positives through a tough time is not wrong because there are positives. The more we can continue in this direction, the more we can build on these positives, for me this is the right way of thinking instead of the negative thinking.
The Astros have been shut out in consecutive games in Milwaukee after an eight-game winning streak. After Esteury Ruiz singled to lead the first of the A’s, Brown (5-1) didn’t allow another base runner until Nick Allen walked one out in the sixth. .
Jose Altuve returned to the lineup after quitting Tuesday against the Brewers feeling ill, playing only his fifth game since finishing a season-opening stint on the injured list with a fractured right thumb.
After Hector Neris struck out two in the eighth, Ryan Pressly threw in the ninth for his ninth save in as many chances.
The A’s lost their ninth in a row and season-high 12th of 13 and scored two or fewer runs in eight straight games, the second-longest such streak in eight straight in the league. May 10 to 18, 1979.
“Hitting can definitely get contagious and we just don’t have enough guys in the lineup right now who can put back-to-back hits together to build that momentum,” Kotsay said.
Seth Brown hit a two-run homer in the seventh for Oakland, just 4-20 in May. James Kaprielian (0-5) has inflicted 12 straight losses on the A’s starters in the last 19 games since their only two wins May 5-6 at Kansas City.
” It’s a challenge. It’s hard. I’ve never experienced anything like that, I don’t think anyone has,” Kaprielian said. “We are historically losing games right now, unfortunately. But we are not going to be guided by that. I think we have the ability to show up every day, have a positive attitude, try to be a good teammate and keep helping the guys around us and trying to improve every day.
THE NOSTALGIA OF A
Astros manager Dusty Baker sat in a photo long before batting practice thinking about his time playing for career-ending Oakland in 1985-86 and how the A’s plan of moving to Las Vegas – saying it was already “kind of hit home” when he went to Las Vegas a few years ago for a Raiders game.
“I can understand it commercially, but sentimentally you hope it didn’t come to this,” he said.
Still thinking, Baker mentioned the music.
“I remember this stadium had the best sound system in America and they still have it,” Baker said. “They were always jamming here. They are still jamming now.
Steelers running back Najee Harris, from nearby Antioch, threw the ceremonial first pitch on a night the A’s drew a crowd of 13,345 for their first fireworks display of the year .
Astros: LF Michael Brantley, recovering from inflammation in his surgically repaired right shoulder, swings again but doesn’t strike yet. … SS Jeremy Peña had a day off that Baker had originally planned to do on Wednesday, but had to switch gears when Altuve was unavailable. … RHP José Urquidy (right shoulder discomfort) threw on flat ground for the first time. … RHP Lance McCullers Jr. (right elbow strain) was going to meet the team in Oakland, but will join the Astros in Houston instead.
Athletics: RHP Paul Blackburn is set to start Monday against the Braves after returning from a blister and a fingernail injury in the middle finger of his throwing hand. … RHP reliever Dany Jiménez is still rehabilitating his strained pitching shoulder in the coaching room and has yet to advance to a pitching program.
Astros LHP Framber Valdez (4-4, 2.45 ERA) is coming off a shutout and is looking to earn back-to-back starts for the first time this season and his third straight decision.
LHP Hogan Harris (0-0, 162.00) is at Oakland ready to start as a fly-half or trail a fly-half with multiple innings, manager Mark Kotsay said.
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