Athletics 8, Astros 3: Dan Straily posted a career-high 11 strikeouts and visiting Oakland exploded for seven runs in the fifth to cruise past Houston in the first meeting between the new American League West rivals.
Straily (1-0), making only his eighth career start, saw no more than four batters in any of his first five innings and struck out six of the first nine hitters he faced. The right-hander allowed two runs on five hits and did not walk a batter over 6 2/3 innings.
Coco Crisp went 3-for-5 with a homer and three RBIs, igniting the offense with a lead-off home run off former Oakland prospect Brad Peacock (0-1). The 25-year-old, acquired along with two other players in a trade with the Athletics for Jed Lowrie in the off-season, suffered his first loss in four career appearances after giving up two runs and three hits after throwing 89 pitches over 4 1/3 innings.
Once Peacock left the game following a one-out double from Crisp, Oakland opened up the floodgates against reliever Xavier Cedeno, who was charged with six runs – three earned – and three walks without recording an out. Lowrie and Josh Reddick each drew a walk before Houston shortstop Marwin Gonzalez was unable to handle Yoenis Cespedes’ hard-hit grounder, allowing Crisp and Lowrie to score.
John Jaso plated Reddick on a squeeze bunt that made it only a few feet in front of catcher Jason Castro and Josh Donaldson followed a walk by Chris Young with a sinking line-drive single to right that scored two more runs. Rhiner Cruz relieved Cedeno and retired Nate Freiman, but Crisp extended the Astros’ misery with a two-run double that fell in front of right fielder Rick Ankiel to make it 8-0
GAME NOTEBOOK: Straily, who led the minors with 190 strikeouts last season, has fanned at least eight batters in three of his last five starts. … Houston batters have struck out a major-league record 56 times through four games, recording at least 12 in each of their first four games. … After managing only one run and six hits in its first two games (both losses), Oakland has compiled 22 runs and 31 hits over its next three games (all wins).