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The fans haven’t forgotten.
A’s fans heartily booed the Astros before and during the teams’ opening matchup of the season, with some having signs featuring trash cans. The Astros’ sign-stealing scandal was revealed in January 2020, but last season was played without fans due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Astros overcame the hate in an 8-1 victory behind six impressive innings from ace Zack Greinke.
Houston’s sign-stealing scandal was brought to light by A’s right-hander Mike Fiers against his former club, and many in the crowd chanted “Cheaters!”
Greinke hopes wins like this might help silence some of the haters.
“Got to hear some boos finally, that wasn’t that fun to listen to,” Greinke said, “but we played good so it ended up being better.”
Among the biggest cheers of the night: when Carlos Correa was drilled by Chris Bassitt’s fastball in the fourth inning with a runner in scoring position.
Backed by a two-run double from Yordan Alvarez, Greinke (1-0) allowed three hits, struck out four and didn’t walk a batter in Houston’s club-record ninth straight win on opening day. It marks the majors’ longest active streak, and the Astros joined only four other teams since 1900 to win nine consecutive season openers, according to the Elias Sports Bureau: Mariners (2007-15), Reds (1983-91), Mets (1975-83) and St. Louis Browns (1937-45).
The game drew a sellout of 10,436, with the ballpark at 20% capacity as baseball fans returned to the Coliseum for the first time since the A’s lost at home to Tampa Bay in the AL wild-card game on Oct. 2, 2019.
Houston lost all but one of eight games in Oakland in 2020, before eliminating the A’s in a four-game Division Series last fall.
Bassitt (0-1), a right-hander who went 5-2 over 11 starts to emerge as the A’s ace last season, allowed three runs and four hits over 5 1/3 innings. He struck out three and walked two.
“When it’s 1-0, you come out of the game, you’ve done your job,” manager Bob Melvin said.
New A’s shortstop Elvis Andrus delivered the first Oakland hit with a ground-rule double in the third. Andrus made his A’s debut after being traded in February from Texas in exchange for designated hitter Khris Davis.
And Oakland Platinum Glove third baseman Matt Chapman’s return to the hot corner meant so much after he played only 37 games in 2020 because of a right hip injury that required surgery in September.
Chapman hit a seventh-inning sacrifice fly — and he hardly cares if people count out these A’s already.
“We like being the underdogs,” Chapman said. “That just means we’re playing with house money. We’re not expected to do anything, so everything we do is great. But I know it’s a different vibe in this clubhouse. We’re expecting to win the division.”
— With AP
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