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Rough homecoming for Mengden as A’s fall in Houston

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A’s starter Daniel Mengden failed to escape the third inning in Oakland’s 11-0 loss to the Houston Astros on Saturday. (Courtesy photo)

Saturday night was one to forget for Daniel Mengden, in his hometown of Houston, as he failed to make it out of the third inning and the Oakland Athletics lost to the host Astros, 11-0.

Mengden loaded the bases before recording an out in the bottom of the first, and Houston (18-10) brought all three runners home. The first two scored on sacrifice flies by Yuli Gurriel and Josh Reddick, and the third scored on an Alex Bregman double. An unearned run scored in the bottom of the second after a Marcus Semien error, his second in as many nights and his sixth of the season. The error let Derek Fisher on base, and he scored on Jose Altuve’s two-out double.

The Houston native and Texas A&M product failed to make it out of the third inning, replaced by Danny Coulombe after a Reddick single and a Bregman infield hit. Coulombe allowed an inherited run to score on a Marwin Gonzalez sac fly, Houston’s third of the night.

After the Astros had their fill of sac flies, they turned to home runs. Fisher took Coulombe deep with a line drive for a two-run shot in the fourth inning, a concerning sign for the lone left-handed reliever on the Oakland roster.

Coulombe will need to pull some weight with Ryan Buchter on the disabled list with a shoulder strain.

Lou Trivino took care of the rest of the fourth inning, and Chris Hatcher managed to escape the fifth unscathed despite allowing three walks. Newly-acquired long reliever Wilmer Font struggled in his Athletics debut, allowing three home runs. The first two batters he faced, George Springer and Altuve, both took him deep to left field, and Gonzalez added on in the seventh for the Astros’ 10th run.

Offensively, Oakland (14-13) struggled to solve Lance McCullers Jr., who was perfect for his first five innings. He threw 74 pitches to record those 15 outs, which would have put manager A.J. Hinch in a bind had he continued to roll.

Mark Canha made sure those problems wouldn’t occur for the Astros manager, leading off the sixth with a single up the middle. Stephen Piscotty followed with a hit of his own, but Bruce Maxwell grounded into a double play on the first pitch he saw.

Emilio Pagan allowed a run on a bases-loaded walk in the eighth, raising his ERA to 5.93.

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