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Shea Langeliers, A’s handle Justin Verlander, Astros

Sep 12, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Oakland Athletics left fielder Tony Kemp (5) reacts while rounding the bases after hitting a home run against the Houston Astros in the fifth inning at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Shea Langeliers clubbed a two-run home run in the first inning and the visiting Oakland Athletics claimed a surprising series victory over the Houston Astros with a 6-2 win on Tuesday.

Oakland (46-99) entered the series having lost nine of 10 games against the American League West-leading Astros this season. The Athletics jumped to a 3-0 lead against Houston right-hander Justin Verlander (11-8) and casually pulled away to set the stage for a possible three-game sweep on Wednesday.

After socking three solo homers in their 4-0 win on Monday, the Athletics homered twice off Verlander. Seth Brown hit an RBI double in the third before Tony Kemp smacked a leadoff home run in the fifth inning for his fifth long ball of the year, extending Oakland’s lead to 5-1.

In the first, Oakland’s Zack Gelof hit a one-out double and scored on Ryan Noda’s single. With two outs, Langeliers cranked an 0-1 fastball from Verlander 424 feet to left field for his 19th homer. Langeliers has homered two days in a row and has in three of his past four games and eight over his past 18 games.

Verlander allowed five runs on eight hits with seven strikeouts and no walk over seven innings. It marked the second time in three starts that he surrendered multiple homers. He retired the Athletics in order only twice, doing so in the fourth and sixth innings.

Oakland left-hander JP Sears (5-11) produced a quality start, limiting the Astros (82-64) to two runs on five hits and two walks with three strikeouts over six innings. He surrendered a run-scoring groundout to Kyle Tucker in the bottom of the first and an RBI double to Jeremy Pena that scored Mauricio Dubon in the fifth, but otherwise he was sharp.

Sears improved to 3-0 in three starts this month, having allowed only three earned runs over 17 innings (1.59 ERA).

The Astros had their division lead shaved to one game, as the Texas Rangers (80-64) defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 6-3 earlier Tuesday. Houston fell to 37-37 at home this season.

–Field Level Media