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A's 4, Astros 3

The SportsXchange

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Josh Donaldson sliced a high-flying triple down the right field line just out of the reach of Rick Ankiel's dive, scoring Josh Reddick from first base in the eighth inning and delivering the Oakland A's a 4-3 victory over the Houston Astros on Tuesday night.

Carlos Pena belted a two-out solo home run in the top of the eighth to draw Houston even off A's reliever Sean Doolittle (1-0), but Oakland took advantage of a two-out walk by Houston's third pitcher, Rhiner Cruz (0-1), to set up Donaldson's heroics and record a fifth consecutive win over the Astros this season.

The triple was the A's third of the night, tying a franchise single-game record. Oakland hadn't accomplished the feat since Aug. 3, 2002.

Grant Balfour recorded his second save of the season with a 1-2-3 ninth, striking out two of the three men he faced.

Neither starting pitcher -- the A's A.J. Griffin and the Astros' Brad Peacock -- factored in the decision. Griffin left with a 3-2 lead after six innings, but Pena's homer off Doolittle erased what could have been the young right-hander's third consecutive win.

Eric Sogard, who had a single, double and triple in three at-bats but never came to the plate a fourth time, and Coco Crisp had Oakland's other triples, both off Peacock.

Griffin surrendered two Houston runs on four hits in the third inning but was perfect thereafter, retiring the last 11 Astros he faced, six by strikeout. He had eight strikeouts in his six innings, turning the ball over to the Oakland bullpen after having thrown 106 pitches.

Pena's game-tying home run came off the A's second reliever, left-hander Doolittle. The lefty-off-lefty blast to left field was Pena's first homer of the season.

The A's trailed 2-1 before taking their first lead and knocking out Peacock in the fifth inning.

Sogard, who tripled out of the 9-hole in the lineup in the third inning, belted a one-out double down the right-field line to get the A's two-run fifth going. Coco Crisp's triple off the wall in right tied the game, and when John Jaso walked to put runners on first and third with still just one down, Peacock was replaced by left-hander Dallas Keuchel.

The move initially backfired on the Astros when left-handed-hitting Seth Smith greeted Keuchel with a sharp single to right, putting Oakland up 3-2 and sending Jaso to third.

But the A's did no more damage in the inning, thanks to a tag play at the plate on Crisp on a grounder to Astros third baseman Matt Dominguez. Keuchel then got Chris Young to ground to short to end the inning.

The Astros couldn't cash in on inning-opening walks by the A's Griffin in their first two at-bats, so they came out swinging in the third and it paid dividends.

No. 9 hitter Marwin Gonzalez got Houston's first hit of the night, a line double to the fence in right-center field, and took third on Jose Altuve's single to right. Justin Maxwell's single to left plated Gonzalez with the night's first run.

The Astros weren't done there. After Altuve and Maxwell advanced a base on Jason Castro's long fly to left, Chris Carter made it 2-0 with a liner in front of the A's Young in center field.

A Pena walk, his second of the night, loaded the bases with still just one out. But J.D. Martinez, who failed with two on and none out in the previous inning, struck out, and Ankiel's bid for a game-breaking extra-base hit was nabbed by a diving A's first baseman Shane Peterson to keep it a two-run game.

The A's got one back in the fourth on the legs of Young, who followed a single by stealing second and third -- both without a slide -- before scoring on a two-out Peacock wild pitch.

NOTES: The Astros entered the game not only 0-4 against the A's this season but 1-9 all-time against their formerly interleague-only opponent. ... Peacock struck out seven in 4 1/3 innings, nearly matching the eight he'd fanned total in his first two starts. ... A's first baseman Brandon Moss added to his family Wednesday when his wife gave birth to a boy, Brodie Dylan. Moss was placed on the paternity list, which allows the A's to replace him on the 25-man roster for up to three games. ... Such is the shaky status of the A's outfield that the club chose to call up an outfielder, Peterson, from Triple-A Sacramento to take Moss' spot on the roster. Peterson, who made only one infield appearance in 11 games in Sacramento, got the start at first base and batted eighth. ... The A's shuffled their outfield shortly before game time, electing to take Crisp out of center field and move him to DH as he continues to rehab a strained left groin. Young moved from left field to center to take Crisp's place, with Smith grabbing a glove and starting in left after he's originally been tabbed as the DH.
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