Down by a run for most of the contest, the Astros exploded for three runs Monday night in the late going to grab a 4-2 triumph over Oakland. At 79-71, Houston moved back into a tie with Seattle (who lost to Toronto) for the second spot in the division. More importantly, the win pushed the Astros back to three games behind in the race for both AL wild card slots.
Marwin: Game-winning stroke
(c) Associated Press
Detroit is 2-1/2 behind Baltimore and Toronto. The Yankees have drifted to 4-1/2 games out and Kansas City is five back.
Brad Peacock made the spot start against his former club and lasted 5-1/3rd innings allowing two runs on three hits with a pair of walks. He gave up solo homers in the second to Oakland rookies Ryon Healy and Bruce Maxwell.
Evan Gattis opened the scoring with a solo shot off Jharel Cotton just before Oakland's outburst. Cotton tossed six innings and gave up just the one run on two hits with six strikeouts.
The game stood at 2-1 until the eighth when Teoscar Hernandez spanked a one-out single against reliever Daniel Coulombe then Tyler White, pinch-hitting for Jason Castro, yanked a double down the left field line against Zach Neal that plated Hernandez all the way from first.
With the game tied, veteran closer Ryan Madson gave up leadoff singles to Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa. Gattis was walked to load the bases then Marwin Gonzalez slapped the first pitch through the drawn-in infield for two runs and the lead.
Ken Giles tossed a 1-2-3 ninth for his 12th save, capping 3-2/3rd innings of no-hit relief after Kevin Chapman, Pat Neshek, Will Harris and Luke Gregerson all blanked the A's. Gregerson picked up his fourth win.
The two teams return to battle on Tuesday with Joe Musgrove (3-4) pitching for Houston against lefthander Sean Manaea (6-9) in a 9:05 Central eye-blearer. With 12 games left, the Astros would need to go 7-5 to match last year's record but might need to aim for 9-3 if they hope to make the playoffs this season.
- Bob Hulsey