In two seasons under Jim Skaalen the A’s offense ranked ninth and 11th among AL teams in runs scored and yesterday they fired him and hired Gerald Perry as their new hitting coach.
Perry was previously Oakland’s hitting coach in 2006, which is the last time the A’s made the playoffs, but even while winning 93 games they ranked just ninth among AL teams in runs that season. Perry left the A’s for the Cubs, where he served as hitting coach for two-and-half seasons before being fired in mid-2009. He’s also previously served as hitting coach for the Mariners and Pirates.
In addition to replacing Skaalen with Perry the A’s also added Joel Skinner to the Bob Geren’s staff as a bench coach, with Tye Waller moving from bench coach to first base coach. Skinner spent two decades in the Indians organization, first as a player and then coaching at various levels, including a half-season stint as the interim manager when Charlie Manuel was fired in 2002.
The Astros rallied late to keep their winning streak alive, extending it to 11 games with a 7-4 victory over the Royals on Sunday afternoon. The club is now 48-25, leading the Mariners by a full game in the AL West.
The Royals took a 4-2 lead after three innings, but Brian McCann knocked in a run with a single in the top of the fourth to cut the deficit to one run. Carlos Correa hit a game-tying solo home run in the eighth. The Astros kept their foot on the gas, scoring two more runs on RBI singles from Evan Gattis and Marwin Gonzalez in the top of the eighth and another in the top of the ninth on Correa’s sacrifice fly.
Starter Lance McCullers allowed four runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks with nine strikeouts over six innings. Tony Sipp worked a scoreless seventh. Ken Giles did the same in the eighth. Hector Rondon finished off the win in the ninth, working around a one-out walk with a game-ending double play.
After winning all 10 games on their road trip against the Rangers, Athletics, and Royals, the Astros will head home for a nine-game homestand against the Rays, Royals, and Blue Jays. Each club is below .500.