OAKLAND, Calif. – Adam Oller sat at his locker a nervous wreck as he watched the stressful final few outs on a corner clubhouse TV, elbows on knees and knees bouncing into the air.
Lou Trivino eventually finished it, and Oller finally had his first major league win, more than four months in the making.
“I’m glad it’s over,” the 27-year-old said of the weight off his shoulders, the sheer relief, special game ball ready to be sent to mom.
Tony Kemp homered and hit a two-run double, Skye Bolt added a two-run shot, and the Oakland Athletics held off the red-hot Houston Astros 7-5 on Monday night then celebrated Oller afterward with a beer shower.
Oller (1-3) struck out four over five innings, allowing four runs – three earned – on four hits and earned the victory in his sixth start and fourth stint of the year with Oakland that included some relief appearances.
He arrived in the trade in March that sent ace Chris Bassitt to the Mets. During one return to Triple-A Las Vegas, Oller was told to only throw fastballs until he rediscovered his rhythm.
“It’s unreal,” said Oller, who was born just outside Houston and still lives in the area. “It only took four months but we got it.
“It goes back to all the stuff in between, all the ups and downs in the minor leagues, all the long hours in the offseason working to finally get to this point. It goes to trusting your stuff. That’s kind of been something I’ve dealt with in the past, not being as confident in myself, thinking I don’t deserve to be there.”
Elvis Andrus added an insurance RBI single in the eighth for Oakland before closer Trivino surrendered a solo homer to Chas McCormick, then finished for his ninth save by striking out Jeremy Pena with runners on first and second.
AL West-leading Houston took its first defeat after a 5-0 start since the All-Star break. The Astros are an AL-best 28-10 dating to June 12 and are now 32-17 against the AL West.
“The bottom of their order, 7 and 8, Bolt and Kemp, they beat us by themselves tonight,” manager Dusty Baker said. “We’ve certainly got to do do better against them.”
Pena homered in the first for Houston before Kemp’s tying drive leading off the third against right-hander Jake Odorizzi (4-3), who had been 4-0 over his previous seven starts but dealt with a blister this time that bothered him.
Yordan Alvarez came home on a double-steal in the sixth and Pena doubled and scored on pitcher Domingo Acevedo‘s throwing error on a pickoff attempt as Houston pulled within 6-4.
Oakland’s Chad Pinder made his third career start at first base and first since 2019.
Astros: LF Michael Brantley, sidelined since June 27 with right shoulder discomfort, continues baseball activity but it’s unclear when he will begin swinging again. … All-Star DH Alvarez returned to the lineup after sitting out Sunday’s series finale with a sore right hand. Baker hopes to get him in the outfield again soon.
Athletics: RHP Dany Jimenez, who went on the 15-day injured list June 21 with a strained pitching shoulder, will throw about 20 pitches in live batting practice Tuesday. … INF Jonah Bride came off the 10-day injured list and 1B/OF Seth Brown was placed on the paternity list. … Oakland also recalled LHP Sam Selman from Triple-A Las Vegas and optioned RHP David McKay to Las Vegas.
A’s second-round draft pick Henry Bolte was in uniform and took batting practice a day before reporting to Arizona to begin his minor league career. Manager Mark Kotsay likes his swagger already at just 18.
“As a big A’s guy, Rickey Henderson was stealing bases all the time. I might not be as fast as him, he’s a little special, but playing that type of way, I’m going to run out a hard 90 (feet), I’m going to steal bags,” Bolte said. “Most of the time I’m going back in the locker room with a dirty jersey, that’s how I like to play.”
Astros RHP Luis Garcia (8-5, 3.65 ERA) looks to win his sixth straight decision in the middle game of the series Tuesday.
A’s RHP Frankie Montas (3-9, 3.16) makes what could be his final start in an Oakland uniform ahead of the Aug. 2 trade deadline. Montas should be at full strength after being limited to three innings in his previous start, which came after he missed two outings with inflammation in his pitching shoulder.