Brent Rooker, Shea Langeliers and Ryan Noda homered and Ken Waldichuk delivered an exceptional relief performance as the Oakland Athletics silenced the host Houston Astros 4-0 on Monday.
Waldichuk (3-7) twirled six no-hit innings as the bulk reliever who piggybacked rookie right-hander Mason Miller. He entered in the bottom of the third inning and faced the minimum over his first three frames, benefitting from his inning-ending pickoff of Kyle Tucker in the fourth.
Waldichuk walked Jose Altuve with one out in the sixth but breezed the rest of the way. He issued that lone walk and recorded three strikeouts while shackling the Astros (82-63), who had won 10 of their last 14 games by bludgeoning opposing pitching and averaging 11 runs per game during that stretch of wins.
Athletics right-hander Trevor May surrendered consecutive singles to Altuve and Jeremy Pena to open the ninth but preserved the shutout, the fifth of the season for Oakland.
Rooker was the first to strike against Astros left-hander Framber Valdez (11-10), bashing a 3-1 sinker 442 feet to left-center field in the top of the second for his 24th home run of the season. Valdez needed only eight pitches to complete the first and, aside from the long ball, pitched effectively.
The Athletics (45-99) touched up Valdez again in the fifth when Nick Allen followed a Kevin Smith double with an RBI single to left that doubled the lead to 2-0. Langeliers added his 18th homer, a solo shot, with two outs in the seventh for a 3-0 advantage.
Valdez had not allowed a home run in his three previous starts. He allowed three runs on four hits with one walk and 10 strikeouts in seven innings, marking his third double-digit strikeout effort this season.
Miller, making his fifth career start and first since being reinstated from the 60-day injured list on Wednesday, faced a 50-pitch limit. He met a spot of trouble in the first inning when he issued a walk to Yordan Alvarez after Pena reached on a one-out single, but Miller responded by retiring Alex Bregman on an infield popout before getting a called third strike on Tucker.
Miller departed after two innings with 45 pitches on his ledger. He recorded three strikeouts against one walk.
Noda added his 15th home run in the ninth off Astros reliever Rafael Montero.