Colby Rasmus took the wind out of the A’s sails in more ways than one Sunday.
The Astros left fielder homered twice to do in Oakland in a 5-1 Houston victory. His second shot, a two-run homer in the eighth, came off Barry Zito in the lefty's first big league appearance since Sept. 29, 2013.
The former Cy Young winner, called up by the A’s on Wednesday, relieved Aaron Brooks to start the eighth. He retired Carlos Correa on a grounder to short, then walked Jed Lowrie. Zito dropped one of his patented rainbow curves that Rasmus swung through to begin his at-bat. But when Zito went back to the curve on his next pitch, Rasmus belted it over the right field wall to extend Houston’s lead to 5-1.
Zito then allowed an Evan Gattis infield single before retiring Matt Duffy and Max Stassi to end his inning.
Rasmus tied the game 1-1 in the second with his first homer off Brooks.
The A’s finished 4-6 on their three-city 10-game trip.
Starting pitching report
It was a strong effort from Brooks, who turned in seven innings and gave up three runs on seven hits. George Springer hurt him in the fifth with a two-run homer that broke a 1-1 tie. But Brooks turned in his longest start since going seven innings against the Astros on Aug. 6.
It was a welcome sight for A’s fans, as Zito trotted in from the bullpen to begin the bottom of the eighth. He mixed in some good curves and changeups to go with a mid-80s fastball, but probably didn’t have his sharpest stuff after a long layoff from his most recent outing for Triple-A Nashville, which came on Sept. 6.
At the plate
The A’s had Stephen Vogt back in their lineup. He served as DH and went 0-for-2 with a walk. But there wasn’t enough offense against Collin McHugh (17-7), who gave up just four hits over eight innings. Marcus Semien’s two-out RBI single in the second accounted for the A’s only run.
In the field
Neither team committed an error.
The A’s open their final homestand of the season with three games against the AL West-leading Texas Rangers. Sean Nolin (1-1, 3.24) and Martin Perez (3-5, 4.96) match up in Tuesday’s opener at 7:05 p.m. On Wednesday, Felix Doubront (3-2, 4.95) goes up against Colby Lewis (16-8, 4.41) at 7:05 p.m. The A’s have yet to announce their starter for Thursday’s 12:35 p.m. finale. Yovani Gallardo (12-11, 3.41) will start for Texas.