Athletics

The never-say-die A's do it again, take three of four from Astros in Houston

The never-say-die A's do it again, take three of four from Astros in Houston

BOX SCORE

HOUSTON -- Mark Canha's two-RBI single in Oakland's three-run eighth inning lifted the Athletics to a 6-4 win over the Houston Astros on Thursday.

The Athletics fell behind early but cut the lead to one with a three-run fifth. An RBI double by Matt Chapman tied it with no outs in eighth before Canha's single off Chris Devenksi (2-2) with one out made it 6-4.

Canha's hit landed in the corner of left field and the Astros challenged the ruling that the ball was fair, but the call was upheld.

It was another big eighth inning for the A's, who lead the majors with 69 runs in the inning this season. This one helped them take three out of four against the Astros.

Nick Martini had three hits and drove in two runs for the Athletics, who are 19-5 in their last 24 games.

Yusmeiro Petit (3-2) allowed one hit in 2 1/3 scoreless innings. Ryan Buchter took over for the eighth and made back-to-back nifty plays to pitch a perfect inning.

The first one came when a comebacker by Yuli Gurriel hit him on the thigh and rolled away from the mound. He chased it down and made a barehanded throw that beat Gurriel to first. Two pitches later, Buchter mishandled a dribbler by Josh Reddick before scooping it up and flipping it to first for the out.

Lou Trivino struck out two in the ninth for his fourth save in five opportunities.

Alex Bregman drove in two with a double in the third and Tony Kemp's two-run homer made it 4-0 in the fourth.

Oakland starter Trevor Cahill went 3 2/3 innings in his first start since June 2 after spending more than a month on the disabled list with an Achilles injury. He allowed three runs on three hits and walked three.

Houston's Charlie Morton allowed six hits and three runs in 4 1/3 innings.

Khris Davis extended his career-long hitting streak to 14 games with a single to get things going in the eighth, and Matt Olson followed with a single. The double by Chapman to left field scored Davis to tie it at 4.

Cahill walked Kemp and Springer in the third, and both moved up a base on a wild pitch before scoring on the double by Bregman.

Max Stassi singled with two outs in the fourth to chase Cahill. He was replaced by Chris Hatcher, who was greeted by the two-run homer by Kemp.

Chad Pinder and Canha hit consecutive singles to start the fifth inning before Jonathan Lucroy walked to load the bases. The Athletics cut the lead to 4-2 on a double to right field by Martini.

Stephen Piscotty hit an RBI double with one out to end Morton's day.

TRAINER'S ROOM:
Astros: INF Marwin Gonzalez returned after missing a game after taking a cleat to the left wrist on Tuesday night. ... SS Carlos Correa (back stiffness) will have to go on a rehabilitation assignment before he comes off the disabled list, so he will not play before the All-Star break.

UP NEXT:
Athletics: Edwin Jackson (1-0, 2.45 ERA) will start for Oakland in the opener of a three-game series against the Giants on Friday night. Jackson needs one win to reach 100 for his career.

Astros: Houston's Dallas Keuchel (6-8, 3.95) opposes Detroit's Mike Fiers (6-5, 3.65) when the Astros and Tigers open a three-game series on Friday night. Keuchel has won three straight decisions after dropping his previous three, and Fiers, who threw Houston's last no-hitter in 2015, won his last start after losing his previous two decisions.

A's in the thick of a playoff race headed into All-Star break

A's in the thick of a playoff race headed into All-Star break

What a difference a month makes.

On June 15, the A's lost to the Angels to fall to 34-36 on the season, 11 games behind the Seattle Mariners for the second AL Wild Card spot.

Fast forward to July 15, and Oakland owns the sixth-best record in all of baseball at 55-42, just three games behind the Mariners.

The A's enter the All-Star break winners of 21 of their last 27 games, and as serious playoff contenders. The question of whether Oakland would be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline has been answered, emphatically. The A's are buyers.

"This group deserves a chance to stay together,” general manager David Forst told Jim Rome on his radio show. “They deserve a chance to play this thing out."

“I prefer to be a buyer and that’s what (we) are preparing to do,” Billy Beane said to The Athletic.

Don't expect the A's to make any huge additions - perhaps they'll add a starting pitcher or possibly another reliever - but simply holding on to veterans like Jed Lowrie, Khris Davis, and Blake Treinen is better than most fans expected at the start of the season. The current roster has already proven it doesn't need a ton of help.

“I think we're playing really confident baseball and making a charge here,” said outfielder Stephen Piscotty. “We're right there, so we're excited to keep going.”

“It's starting to get that feeling, that playoff vibe,” added Sunday's winning pitcher Sean Manaea.

So buckle up, A's fans. Your team is right in the middle of a playoff chase. It's time to start believing.

A's stay hot before break, take first phase of Bay Bridge Series

A's stay hot before break, take first phase of Bay Bridge Series

BOX SCORE 

SAN FRANCISCO -- Stephen Piscotty homered for the fifth time in nine games, and the Oakland Athletics beat the San Francisco Giants 6-2 on Sunday.

Sean Manaea allowed two runs in six innings for his fourth consecutive win. All-Star second baseman Jed Lowrie walked and scored in his return to the lineup following a scary collision in right field two nights earlier for Oakland. Matt Chapman added two hits.

The surging A's have won nine of 12 and are 21-6 since June 16, the best record in the majors during that stretch.

All-Star shortstop Brandon Crawford had two hits for the Giants, who lost a home series for the first time since dropping two of three at AT&T Park to Arizona from April 8-10.

Piscotty singled in Jed Lowrie in the fourth against starter Andrew Suarez (3-6) then homered off Reyes Moronta in the sixth. It is Piscotty's 12th this season and fifth this month, all of them coming since July 7.

Piscotty's hit in the fourth was the first of three consecutive RBI singles off Suarez. Matt Olson and Matt Chapman also drove in runs while Jonathan Lucroy added a sacrifice fly to put Oakland up 4-1.

Manaea (9-6) gave up five hits, including Chase d'Arnaud's second home run this season in the sixth. Manaea retired seven of the final eight he faced.

Ryan Buchter struck out the side in the seventh. Lou Trivino and All-Star closer Blake Treinen retired three batters apiece to complete the five-hitter.

Suarez allowed four runs in five innings.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Athletics: Lowrie had been nursing a bruised bone and calf bruise in his left leg after colliding with Piscotty in right field. . OF Matt Joyce (lumbar strain) received an epidural shot for his sore back. RHP Daniel Gossett (strained right elbow) began a throwing program.

Giants: RHP Jeff Samardzija was placed on the 10-day disabled list because of right shoulder inflammation. It's Samardzija's third stint on the DL this season. IF Kelby Tomlinson was called up from Triple-A Sacramento and started at second base.

UP NEXT

Athletics: Return to the Coliseum to host the San Francisco in a three-game series beginning Friday. It's the first time since 1986 that the A's have played six consecutive games against the same team.

Giants: Head across the Bay to play three games in Oakland. No rotation has been announced for the series.