HOUSTON – Dan Straily had a tough spring, and he probably will pay the price for it by being sent to Sacramento today when the A's activate Bartolo Colon for the second game of Oakland's series with the Houston Astros.
Straily did his best to make a case for retention, however, with a strong showing Friday in Oakland's 8-3 victory over Houston. The right-hander struck out seven of the first 11 batters he faced and didn't allow anyone past first base until the sixth inning.
By the time the fifth inning was complete, he'd tied his career high in strikeouts and the A's had scored eight runs for him.
And while the A's are ready to have Colon activated as his 50-game suspension for performance-enhancing drug use reaches its 51st day, Oakland could surely use more of what Straily showed in his first start of the season – no walks, 11 strikeouts and two runs in 6 2/3 innings.
Former A's first baseman Chris Carter, now the Astros left fielder, singled with two out in the first, dropping a soft line drive into center. Houston didn't get another runner until a two-out single by second baseman Jose Altuve in the third.
Straily never had to worry about having a lead thanks to Coco Crisp, who opened the game with a home run. It was the ninth time in his career he'd done that, the first time in the regular season since Sept. 28.
But the game was in the balance for four innings as former Oakland farmhand Brad Peacock recovered from the homer to set down eight consecutive A's batters before Crisp doubled with one out in the fifth inning. Houston manager Bo Porter immediately yanked Peacock in favor of Xavier Cedeno, and the A's immediately began scoring without pausing to breathe.
Before the inning was over, Oakland would score seven times on a two-run error, a suicide squeeze dropped down by catcher John Jaso, a two-run single by Josh Donaldson and another double by Crisp, this one bringing in two more runs.
Notes – Houston batters struck out 13 times, its fourth game of double-digit strikeouts to start the season, a first for major-league baseball.
A's outfielder Shane Peterson was in the clubhouse – but not on the roster – in case first baseman Brandon Moss needed to go on paternity leave.
The A's picked up catcher Stephen Vogt from Tampa Bay, a deal that eventually will see the club send a player to be named later or cash to the Rays. Vogt, who hit .272 last year in Triple A, reports to Sacramento. The A's made room on the 40-man roster for him by designating right-handed pitcher Dan Otero for assignment. The club has 10 days to trade, release or, if he clears waivers, sign him to a minor-league contract.