The A's added a welcome twist to the storyline Saturday, providing the home fans reason for celebration rather than disappointment.
They rallied for three runs in the bottom of the ninth to pull out a 4-3 victory over the Houston Astros. After Josh Reddick’s two-run double tied the game, Jed Lowrie singled through the hole on the left side and Reddick scored the game winner ahead of the throw of left fielder Alex Presley.
With that, a team that’s struggled mightily to end its recent slump provided a temporary break from the hard times. It was much needed, as the A’s won for just the fourth time in the past 13 games.
Not surprisingly, their winning rally came against Astros reliever Chad Qualls, who they’ve mounted late-inning comebacks against more than once this season.
Astros right-hander Scott Feldman began the bottom of the ninth with a 3-1 lead.
After singles from Josh Donaldson and Derek Norris, Qualls relieved him and gave up Reddick’s double off the center field wall that tied it.
Then Lowrie grounded a single into left field. Presley fielded the ball in very shallow territory, but A’s third–base coach Mike Gallego was waving Reddick around the entire time. Reddick slid in ahead of Presley's poor throw, and the A’s rushed out of the dugout in celebration.
Starting pitching report
A’s lefty Scott Kazmir was much improved over his last two starts. He didn’t allow a hit through five innings and struck out seven over that span. He took a 1-0 lead into the sixth, but Carlos Corporan led off the inning with a bloop single to break up the no-hitter. Then Jonathan Villar dropped a bunt single and Robbie Grossman sacrificed both into scoring position. Jose Altuve then grounded a two-run double just inside the third-base bag and the A’s found themselves trailing 2-1.
Altuve ran his hitting streak against the A’s to 22 games, breaking his tie with Lance Berkman for longest hitting streak by an Astros player against any one team in franchise history.
Before the game, A’s manager Bob Melvin said if Altuve played on a team that was contending for a postseason spot, he’d be in the A.L. MVP discussion. “If he’s playing in New York, you’re probably talking about him a lot more,” Melvin said.
Kazmir hurt himself in the seventh by walking three of the first four batters that came up. Dan Otero relieved him with the bases loaded and one out and allowed Grossman’s sacrifice fly to make it 3-1.
You couldn’t have asked much more from Otero, who kept the damage to one run in the seventh and pitched a scoreless eighth. Luke Gregerson handled the ninth to keep the As’ within striking distance.
At the plate
The A’s mustered just five hits through the first eight innings off Feldman, with Brandon Moss’ sacrfifcie fly accounting for their only run to that point. But they rallied in the ninth and tied this three-game series at a game apiece.
In the field
The A’s played an errorless game.
The announced turnout was 28,668.
Jason Hammel (2-5, 4.98) has been lights out over his past two starts, but the A’s need to find a way to solve Astros lefty Dallas Keuchel (10-9, 3.03), who has faced them three times this season and given up just five earned runs in 22 1/3 innings. Sunday’s series finale begins at 1:05 p.m.