|Astros. sans Giles, host Athletics|
HOUSTON -- The Astros on Wednesday demoted deposed closer Ken Giles to Triple-A Fresno following yet another blowup, both on the mound and off of it, in the ninth inning Tuesday.
Giles surrendered three runs on three hits without recording an out against the Oakland Athletics, and he appeared to utter an expletive directed at Astros manager A.J. Hinch when he arrived at the mound to lift Giles from the game. Giles continued to blow off steam in the dugout.
Oakland subsequently erased a four-run deficit in the ninth before falling 6-5 in 11 innings.
Giles (0-2, 4.99 ERA) is 12-for-12 in save opportunities, but his performances have been wildly erratic. Hinch downplayed Giles' emotional outburst following the game and Wednesday, instead opting to focus on rehabilitating Giles the pitcher and the recall of left-hander Cionel Perez, ranked by MLB.com as the organization's sixth-best overall prospect.
Perez allowed one run on two hits and two walks with two strikeouts over 1 2/3 innings in his major league debut in the Astros' 8-3 loss Wednesday.
"We're excited about Perez," Hinch said. "He's up here because of the stuff that he has and the moxie that he has and the upside that he has to help us. He went four innings and punched out eight (for Double-A Corpus Christi) the other day so he's got swing-and-miss type stuff. He's got a bright future ahead of himself. We want to see if he can fit into our pen in a little bit of length, a little bit of lefty matchup. The breaking ball really does get righties out. Once we get his feet wet we'll know exactly what he have."
Right-hander Charlie Morton (11-2, 2.83 ERA) will start the series finale for the Astros (62-33). With a win, Morton would become the first Houston pitcher to reach 12 victories prior to the All-Star break since right-hander Roy Oswalt in 2005. Morton has not faced the Athletics this season but is 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA over two career starts against Oakland (52-41).
Right-hander Trevor Cahill (1-2, 2.77 ERA) will be reinstated from the 10-day disabled list and pitch for Oakland on Thursday. Cahill, sidelined with a strained right Achilles since June 14, made one rehab start for Triple-A Nashville on Saturday against Iowa, allowing three hits and one walk with seven strikeouts over four shutout innings. He has been on the DL twice this season.
Cahill is 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA over three career appearances (two starts) against the Astros. That loss came this season at Minute Maid Park on April 29, when Cahill allowed four runs (three earned) on four hits and one walk with five strikeouts over six innings in an 8-4 setback. Cahill has not won on the road since Aug. 20, 2016, at Colorado while with the Cubs.
Prior to landing on the DL and before making one start on June 2, Cahill enjoyed a strong month of May, posting a 1.73 ERA over four starts while allowing opponents to post a .520 OPS.
"That was unfortunate," Athletics manager Bob Melvin said of the injury. "He was pitching as well as he was probably when he was last here. He's come up with some other pitches and different ways to do some things. At the time that hurt us. It's given somebody else an opportunity and the other guys have done a nice job, but it's nice to have him come back, certainly the way he's pitched for us this year. Starting to get guys back as opposed to losing them is a better trend."