Frankie Montas' trust in secondary pitches pays off vs. Astros

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Montas' trust in secondary pitches pays off vs. Astros originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The Athletics finally got a win on Thursday with a 2-1 victory over the Houston Astros to stave off a series sweep.

Starter Frankie Montas dazzled on the mound, striking out 10 with only one earned run and one walk in 6 2/3 innings. 

He said it was his best start of the season with his best stuff, including the splitter reporters continued to ask him about after the game.

“I was able to throw my splitter when I wanted,” Montas said. 

The swings-and-misses for the Astros against Montas more than doubled what opposing pitcher Lance McCullers was throwing. Montas generated an impressive 22 swings and misses in Thursday's outing.

“I feel like the main thing was they were swinging, and I was throwing strikes. That opened the door for me to be able to spin it a little more, especially on my splitter,” Montas said.

Montas said the confidence and trust behind that splitter helped. 

You easily could see that confidence manifest in his postgame interview.

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The Astros were swinging early as well, and Montas took advantage of that.

“To be honest, it was just the sequence I was using today,” he added. 

That’s what kept him in as long as he did. The way he executed his splitter and his slider, especially against a guy like Jose Altuve who has a tendency to be relentless, ultimately proved effective. 

“Not only was it needed, but we needed him to get deep in the game as he did,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said following the game.

“Every pitch meant something,” he added. 

Melvin appeared to have a sense of relief on his face after earning the victory.

Heading into Thursday’s contest, in their last 17 games, the A’s had only won five.

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A’s catcher Aramis Garcia, who also said he saw Montas’ best stuff of the season, was happy to leave Minute Maid Park with a victory. 

“The first two games were tough, but hats off to Frankie, he really stepped up today and we were able to score a couple runs early,” Garcia said. “I think this was a must-win and we got the job done today.”