It was one bad pitch that Athletics starting pitcher Jared Koenig would want back in the team's 5-0 loss to the Houston Astros on Saturday at Minute Maid Park.
In the second inning, Koenig gave up a grand slam to Astros catcher Martín Maldonado, the only blemish on his start that saw him go seven.
"I think other than really, the one inning where you have a couple hits or two outs and then the walk really is what I think hurt. And obviously, the home run doesn't help, but other than that, I think I threw them all well," Koenig said postgame.
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A's manager Mark Kotsay echoed these sentiments, saying that Koenig had one bad inning where Houston could get to the Oakland starter and tax him for multiple runs. Nonetheless, Kotsay credits Koenig for not letting his outing go off the rails after two innings.
"You know, I mean, obviously, the second inning kind of blew up. You know, one bad inning after that, he settled down, but you know, damage was done," Kotsay said.
"Maldonado got a fastball middle and hitting for a grand slam there. So a lot of momentum that inning. And after that, as I said, he pitched into the game."
Outside of that, the 28-year-old gave up one run while striking out three Astros and giving up only six hits in an outing where he kept his focus and didn't spiral out of control following the Maldonado grand slam.
Koenig credits getting ahead of the batters and timely ground balls that allowed him to go deep in the game despite the rough second inning and saving the A's from going into their bullpen early in the game.
"I got ahead, got the ground balls I needed. I did great defense behind me. Overall, yes. I'd say it was one of my better outings up here to be able to go seven innings and save the bullpen. And I think that was overall positive," Koenig said.
Oakland will look to win the rubber match against the Astros to wrap up the series on Sunday at 11:10 AM PT.