Montas pitches five strong innings in possible last A's start

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If his start against the Houston Astros on Tuesday was Frankie Montas' last with the Athletics, his teammates ensured he receive run support.

After the 29-year-old kept the Astros bats quiet through three innings, the A's lineup went work providing the offense in a 5-3 win over Houston at the Oakland Coliseum. First baseman Chad Pinder walked into the box with the bases loaded in the bottom of the third inning, and with one swing of the bat, it was 4-0 Oakland. 

Manager Mark Kotsay discussed that he's more than happy for Pinder's recent success, which includes two grand slams this month, one coming on July 12 against the Texas Rangers and the other Tuesday night against Houston. 

"You know, I've grown up with [Pinder]," Kotsay told reporters. "And to have him in the lineup, to have some success, to be a big part of this ball club, it's great, and tonight to see the reward of a grand slam.  

"I think it was brought to my attention it's a second grand slam this month. I think he's got four grand slams, so he's got almost as many grand slams as I did homers in my career. So that's pretty impressive."

Despite being down four runs, the Astros weren't planning on going without a fight. Houston started chipping away at the deficit, scoring three total in the fourth and fifth inning.

Montas would limit the damage to three runs, two of which were earned, and left the game after five innings while keeping the lead intact for Oakland. 

The bullpen then did its part holding down the advantage to ensure that the A's starter got the win, and the lineup added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth inning. 

Afterward, Montas was happy to see his teammates provide some run support, something the pitcher understands the squad has been trying to do when he takes the mound. 

"I said it all year long," Montas told reporters. "Like the boys, they're trying to get runs, you know. They're not trying to say, like, go out there and not produce runs. They're trying, and then to see things finally going their way, our way, it feels pretty good."

As the MLB trade deadline approaches on Aug. 2, Montas' name has surfaced in rumors about a possible move out of Oakland. In what could be his final start, the A's starter admitted to soaking in this particular outing against Houston. 

"I ain't gonna lie, of course, I've been thinking about especially, like the deadline coming up very soon," Montas said. "I thought, like, 'Hey, this might be my last start here.' But I'm not trying to think about that.

"I'm trying to think of the good moments that I've been here, that I've been part of, and I'm here right now. So whatever happens, I'm still an Oakland A."

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Oakland will go for the sweep of their AL West rival in a Wednesday afternoon affair at the Coliseum, with the A's sending Cole Irvin (5-7) to the mound. Meanwhile, the Astros will tap Cristian Javier (9-5) to help the team avoid losing three in a row.

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