A’s, Cole Irvin beat Astros 4-2 for 1st series sweep of season

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OAKLAND, Calif. — Cole Irvin allowed four hits over seven innings and the Oakland Athletics beat the Houston Astros 4-2 for their first winning sweep in 32 series this season.

Oakland, an AL-worst 38-63, won three in a row from AL West-leading Houston (64-35) and has won six of its last eight against the Astros.

Houston was swept in a series for the first time since last Sept. 24-26, also at Oakland. Yordan Alvarez hit his 29th homer.

“Any time you can sweep a team at this level, it’s always a good thing,” Irvin said.

Stephen Vogt and Stephen Piscotty homered on back-to-back fastballs in the second from Cristian Javier (6-6). Tony Kemp had three hits, including an RBI double.

Javier allowed three runs and five hits in five innings. He is 0-3 with a 5.79 ERA in four starts since pitching seven hitless innings at Yankee Stadium on June 25 and allowing one hit over seven innings against the Los Angeles Angels six days later. His season ERA has risen from 2.57 to 3.26 during the four-game span.

Irvin (6-7) struck out four and walked one, retiring 12 in a row. He was 4-1 with a 1.85 ERA in five starts during July. While Irvin is 4-2 with a 1.73 ERA at home, he is 2-5 with a 4.79 ERA on the road.

“You just can’t say enough about the way he’s been pitching,” Vogt said. “He does such a good job keeping everybody off balance. He works quick, and hitters don’t like that.”

A.J. Puk pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his second save, finishing a five-hitter.

Jake Meyers cut Houston’s deficit with an RBI triple in the fifth, but Kemp doubled in a run in the bottom half.

Alvarez closed the Astros to 3-2 with his home run in the sixth. Skye Bolt greeted Phil Maton with an RBI single in the seventh.

“You’ve got to be ready to play,” Astros third baseman Alex Bregman said. “We didn’t play our best baseball the last three days, but we’ll go home and look forward to doing that tomorrow.”

AT THE CAGE

NBA Finals MVP Stephen Curry of Golden State took batting practice and threw ceremonial first pitches with his wife, Ayesha. Curry’s Eat. Learn. Play. Foundation teamed with the A’s to host roughly 1,000 children from local community organizations at the game. Batting against Oakland manager Mark Kotsay, the right-handed hitting Curry swung through a few pitches but then made regular contact, hitting several fly balls and grounders to left field.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Astros: RHP Lance McCullers Jr. (right flexor tendon strain) was scheduled to make his second rehab start Wednesday, pitching for Triple-A Sugar Land at Oklahoma City.

Athletics: INF Jed Lowrie (sprained left shoulder) played five innings at first base Tuesday for Triple-A Las Vegas and was scheduled to serve as DH for the entire game Wednesday. . RHP Dany Jimenez (strained right shoulder) is to begin a rehab assignment Friday. . 1B Seth Brown (paternity leave) is expected to rejoin the team Friday in Chicago against the White Sox. His wife, Brittaney, gave birth to a son on Tuesday.

UP NEXT

Astros: RHP Jose Urquidy (9-4, 3.93 ERA) is to start Thursday’s opener of a four-game series against visiting Seattle, which goes with RHP Logan Gilbert (10-4, 2.77)

Athletics: RHP James Kaprielian (1-5, 4.74) starts Friday at the White Sox, who are slated to pitch RHP Lance Lynn (1-3, 6.43).

Yankees star Judge hits 62nd homer to break Maris’ AL record

New York Yankees v Texas Rangers - Game Two
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ARLINGTON, Texas – Aaron Judge hit his 62nd home run of the season Tuesday night, breaking Roger Maris’ American League record and setting what some fans consider baseball’s “clean” standard.

The 30-year-old Yankees slugger drove a 1-1 slider from Texas right-hander Jesus Tinoco into the first couple of rows of seats in left field when leading off the second game of New York’s day-night doubleheader.

Maris’ 61 for the Yankees in 1961 had been exceeded six times previously, but all were tainted by the stench of steroids. Mark McGwire hit 70 for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1998 and 65 the following year. Barry Bonds hit an MLB-record 73 for the San Francisco Giants in 2001, and the Chicago Cubs’ Sammy Sosa had 66, 65 and 63 during a four-season span starting in 1998.

McGwire admitted using banned steroids, while Bonds and Sosa denied knowingly using performing-enhancing drugs. Major League Baseball started testing with penalties for PEDs in 2004, and some fans – perhaps many – until now have considered Maris as holder of the legitimate record.

A Ruthian figure with a smile as outsized as his body, the 6-foot-7 Judge has rocked the major leagues with a series of deep drives that hearken to the sepia tone movie reels of his legendary pinstriped predecessors.

“He should be revered for being the actual single-season home run champ,” Roger Maris Jr. said Wednesday night after his father’s mark was matched by Judge. “I think baseball needs to look at the records and I think baseball should do something.”

Judge had homered only once in the past 13 games, and that was when he hit No. 61 last Wednesday in Toronto. The doubleheader nightcap in Texas was his 55th game in row played since Aug. 5.

After a single in five at-bats in the first game Tuesday, Judge was 3 for 17 with five walks and a hit by pitch since moving past the 60 home runs Babe Ruth hit in 1927, which had stood as the major league record for 34 years. Maris hit his 61st off Boston’s Tracy Stallard at old Yankee Stadium on Oct. 1, 1961.

Judge has a chance to become the first AL Triple Crown winner since Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera in 2012. He leads the AL with 131 RBIs and began the day trailing Minnesota’s Luis Arraez, who was hitting .315.

The home run in his first at-bat put him back to .311, where he had started the day before dropping a point in the opener.

Judge’s accomplishment will cause endless debate.

“To me, the holder of the record for home runs in a season is Roger Maris,” author George Will said earlier this month. “There’s no hint of suspicion that we’re seeing better baseball than better chemistry in the case of Judge. He’s clean. He’s not doing something that forces other players to jeopardize their health.”