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Astros 5, A's 4

The SportsXchange

HOUSTON -- The Houston Astros broke through Tuesday night with their first victory of the season against the Oakland Athletics, rallying for three runs in the ninth inning to claim an improbable 5-4 win at Minute Maid Park.

Houston (34-65) came back against Athletics closer Grant Balfour (0-1), who had converted all 26 of his save opportunities this season and had a streak of 44 consecutive converted saves.

Balfour, who last blew a save on April 29, 2012, surrendered a leadoff infield single to Justin Maxwell, who then took second when Balfour uncorked a errant throw to first base. Third baseman Matt Dominguez followed with his 12th home run of the season and first since June 25, a two-run, tying blast just a shade to the left of straightaway center field.

Two batters later, Jonathan Villar stroked a one-out double to left field and, after Jose Altuve walked, Villar scored from second base on a throwing error by catcher Derek Norris, whose attempt to erase Altuve at first base squirted past Brandon Moss and into shallow right field.

Oakland was the first to rally against the Astros' bullpen when Moss blasted his 17th home run with two outs and two strikes in the eighth against right-hander Jose Cisnero, spoiling a fabulous home debut for Astros rookie right-hander Jarred Cosart.

The Athletics (58-42) improved to 10-0 against the Astros this season and 15-1 overall on Monday night after scoring three runs against three Astros relievers.

Cosart labored early in his home debut, needing 17 pitches to complete the first inning after the Athletics sent six batters to the plate 11 days following his brilliant outing at Tampa Bay.

Moss was the last of that quartet to reach base, doing so on a fielding error by Dominguez at third that allowed shortstop Jed Lowrie to score from second for a 1-0 lead.

The damage might have been worse had John Jaso not been erased scurrying back to third after Josh Donaldson singled to left field. Cosart surrendered another run during a protracted inning-ending double play in the top of the third, but for the most part he was sharp and resilient.

His bottom line was aided by the Astros erasing one-run deficits with single runs in the first and fourth, the latter coming by way of a two-base throwing error by Athletics right-hander Jarrod Parker and subsequent consecutive sacrifices from Villar and Altuve.

NOTES: Athletics LHP Brett Anderson is scheduled for a second bullpen session this week on Wednesday and, barring complications, is nearing a rehabilitation assignment. Anderson did not experience any discomfort after his Monday throwing session. He has been on the disabled list since May 1 with a sprained right ankle and missed his 72nd game on Tuesday. ... Cosart procured tickets for 75 friends and family for his home debut on Tuesday. Cosart is a 2008 graduate of Clear Creek High School in League City, roughly 30 miles from Minute Maid Park.
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