HOUSTON - The Oakland Athletics victimized the Houston Astros' bullpen for a third consecutive game, rallying for three runs in the seventh inning in their 4-3 win Wednesday at Minute Maid Park.
Athletics center fielder Coco Crisp capped the comeback by belting a two-run home run off left-hander Travis Blackley (1-1). Oakland (59-42) slugged two-run home runs against Houston relievers Wesley Wright and Jose Cisnero on Monday and Tuesday night, respectively, before doing so again to cap the rubber game of this series.
Oakland right-hander A.J. Griffin (9-7) allowed a pair of home runs, including a two-run shot to Astros catcher Carlos Corporan in the sixth, but pitched long enough for the Athletics to rally on his behalf. Griffin allowed three runs on six hits while striking out eight in 6 1/3 innings.
Houston right-hander Bud Norris, possibly making his final home start for the Astros, had allowed just one run through six innings before returning to the mound for the seventh despite having thrown 105 pitches. After inducing a Josh Reddick popup, Norris walked Seth Smith and then surrendered an RBI double to nine-hole hitter Eric Sogard.
Norris, whose 119 pitches marked the fifth time this season he had eclipsed 110, was pulled in favor of Blackley. The switch-hitting Crisp followed by launching an 0-1 fastball into the Crawford Boxes in left. Norris has been the subject of trade rumors as the non-waiver deadline approaches.
Right-hander Ryan Cook earned his second save with 1 1/3 perfect innings of relief. Athletics closer Grant Balfour was unavailable after earning his 44th consecutive in the series opener and blowing his first save of this season Tuesday night when Houston scored three runs in the ninth.
NOTES: Despite posting a 2.92 ERA over 13 home starts this season, Norris is just 4-4 with five no decisions at Minute Maid Park in 2013. Norris entered play on Wednesday ranked third in the major leagues in home ERA at 2.27, trailing only Dodgers LHP Clayton Kershaw (1.96) and Diamondbacks LHP Patrick Corbin (2.10). ... The Athletics improved to 50-29 with LF Yoenis Cespedes in the starting lineup. Cespedes missed four consecutive games with soreness in his left wrist before pinch-hitting in the seventh inning on Tuesday night. Cespedes finished 1-for-4.