HOUSTON -- Carlos Correa delivered a walk-off single in the 12th inning to give the Astros a thrilling 6-5 series-clinching victory over the A's at Minute Maid Park on Saturday afternoon. Houston has won seven of its last eight games.George Springer christened the inning with a double off A's closer
HOUSTON -- Carlos Correa delivered a walk-off single in the 12th inning to give the Astros a thrilling 6-5 series-clinching victory over the A's at Minute Maid Park on Saturday afternoon. Houston has won seven of its last eight games.
George Springer christened the inning with a double off A's closer Ryan Madson, advancing to third on Jose Altuve's sacrifice bunt ahead of Correa's game-winning hit that spoiled a comeback effort by the A's, who got a two-out, game-tying home run from Jed Lowrie off Luke Gregerson in the ninth inning.
"It's every guy," Astros starter Collin McHugh said. "Nobody's waiting for the next guy to do it. They're stepping up and doing their job. You see like Altuve tonight, best hitter in the league. He's going to go out there and sacrifice himself in the last inning for us to win that ballgame."
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Evan Gattis also homered for the second time in as many days, and Colby Rasmus delivered two doubles in the win. Gattis' two-run shot off A's starter Kendall Graveman sparked a three-run second inning that matched Oakland's run total in the top half of the inning, highlighted by Chris Coghlan's two-run double against McHugh.
McHugh settled down thereafter, keeping the A's off the board until the sixth inning, when Danny Valencia launched his ninth homer of the season, a solo shot to left. By that time, the Astros had tacked on two more runs against Graveman, who was on the hook for five total in 4 1/3 innings. It was the seventh time in 11 tries the right-hander has been unable to complete six innings.
"He's just got to put together multiple innings in a row where he's getting results he wants," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "Got to visualize the ball down, on the ground, that's his strength. Get some early count contact and get some confidence from that."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Gattis on hitting spree: Gattis, who collected four hits on Friday, has homered in three of the past four games. His shot to left field cut the third-inning deficit to 3-2. The Astros tied it on Jake Marisnick's sacrifice fly that scored Luis Valbuena.
"When he gets hot, we've seen him carry us for an extended period of time. A simple approach. He looks very comfortable at the plate. His ability to do damage brings a lot of confidence to us. He's a quick strike," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said.
Return of the Jed: Lowrie's ninth-inning homer was his first of the season, snapping a season-opening 40-game homerless streak -- the longest of his career. It was his first time facing Gregerson, a former teammate of his on both the A's and Astros. Lowrie is 13-for-36 (.361) with six runs scored in nine starts since being reinstated from the disabled list May 25.
"It's always fun to get your former team, and you add the fact it was top of the ninth, two outs and down by one, it was kind of icing on the cake," Lowrie said. More >
Big day for Rasmus: Rasmus put on a show on his bobblehead day, collecting two doubles, the second -- off the left-field wall -- which gave the Astros a 4-3 lead, scoring Correa from first base. After leading off the second with his first double, Rasmus scored on Gattis' ninth home run of the season. From left field, Rasmus threw out Lowrie at second base trying to stretch a single into a double for the final out in the top of the 11th.
"That's one of the best plays I think I've ever seen an outfielder make," Lowrie said. "He's on a full sprint, he stops on a dime, picks up the ball barehanded and throws a strike on the base. As soon as it got past him, I thought I had a double for sure. I watched the replay, and I don't think you can do it any better than he did it right there." More >
Graveman falters: Unable to deliver a shutdown inning, allowing the Astros to tie the game in the second, Graveman found trouble yet again in the third. With the count in his favor, at 1-2, Graveman hit Correa with a pitch. His next, to Rasmus, was clobbered for a go-ahead double. Command hurt him yet again in the fifth, when he unleashed a wild pitch that moved Altuve from first to second, allowing the second baseman to score on Correa's ensuing base hit.
"It's tough. I got to keep my team with the lead," Graveman said. "I had a feeling we were going to put up some runs today. You're always after a shutdown inning, and to give up three there was not ideal. But to only give up three and to give up the next two, those are the ones that really hurt after a three-run inning. It's tough to put the team in that position."
"It sucks right now. I was just having this conversation with Collin -- he reassured me, 'We don't want anyone else out there in the ninth inning.' I appreciate that. Every time I've been getting beat lately I feel like it's been on a really, really good pitch. They're just not falling in my direction." -- Gregerson, who blew the save opportunity
"This year, I've hit something like seven balls up the wall [Tal's Hill], so I'm starting to feel like I need to work out a little more. But it's always fun to run the bases, and I feel like I have some speed." -- Correa, whose eighth-inning triple gives him three in his last four games
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Astros right-hander Will Harris pitched a scoreless eighth inning, extending his scoreless-innings streak to 24 1/3 over 24 games. The streak, which dates to April 9, ties Tigers right-hander Jordan Zimmermann for the longest scoreless streak in the Majors this season and is the third-longest in Astros history.
Hinch successfully got a call overturned in the third inning after challenging that Correa was hit by pitch from Graveman. After a review of 42 seconds, Correa was awarded first base with one out. Correa scored from first on Rasmus' second of two doubles, which gave the Astros a 4-3 lead.
Athletics: Right-hander Sonny Gray will be reinstated from the disabled list Sunday to start against the Astros in the 11:10 a.m. PT series finale at Minute Maid Park. Gray was 3-5 with a 6.19 ERA in nine starts before going on the DL with a trapezius strain. He's 4-2 with a 2.61 ERA in seven career starts against Houston.
Astros:Lance McCullers has 24 strikeouts over his last three starts, but the right-hander has gone only 16 innings in that span. Going deeper into games is McCullers' objective. The 22-year-old will be making his fifth start of the season and is the fourth youngest pitcher to make a start in the Majors this season, behind LHP Julio Urias, RHP Jose Berrios and RHP Luis Severino. First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. CT.
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Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010.
Richard Dean is a contributor to MLB.com based in Houston and covered the Astros on Saturday.