On the A's clubhouse atmosphere and the team's unexpectedly strong play
It's as relaxed a clubhouse as I've been in. Two hours before stretch, it's packed. We love being around each other, and that translates. If I'm on the mound and I've got [Alan] Embree's runners on, or I'm trying to protect [Joe] Blanton's win—well, if you're just doing it for a business partner, that's one thing. But if it's for someone that you're invested in as a person, you battle that much harder.
On being one of the longest-serving A's, and a team leader, at age 24
It's weird. This is my fourth year, but I'm the same age as a lot of the guys in their first or second year. I identify with them, and it helps them feel comfortable. It's almost a college feel. Embree [who's 38] jokes about having to babysit us in the bullpen.
On passing time in the bullpen
We're messing with fans, throwing stuff at fans. You're there nine innings; you've got to do something. Brownie [Andrew Brown] and I have a streak going of jinxing the other team. We'll say, "Oh, this guy hasn't given up a run [in weeks]"—and the next pitch, bam, we get a home run. We're connected with the universe somehow.
On how he met his wife, Lacey
She doesn't like me to say that we met on Sixth Street, but we met on Sixth Street, at a bar in Austin. She was 18, I was 20. Then she played hard to get. She didn't return my calls for two months—literally. And I called a lot. Four times a week. Embarrassing, but it worked.
On how the Austin native got his name
My parents wanted a Texas-type name without naming me exactly after a city. There are actual Huston Streets out there. One of my favorite things is when people come up and say, "I live on Huston Street, in Georgia!" I'm like, "Awesome, man. I have nothing to do with it."
"The hidden reason for our success? We're not just trying to win, we're trying to win for each other."
PHOTOGRAPH BY JOHN BURGESS