HOUSTON -- Confidence was oozing from every corner of the A's clubhouse after their latest late-inning antics Thursday afternoon.Plating six unanswered runs for a 6-4 win, the surging A's sealed a four-game series victory against the host Astros in familiar fashion at Minute Maid Park, proving that the formula works
HOUSTON -- Confidence was oozing from every corner of the A's clubhouse after their latest late-inning antics Thursday afternoon.
Plating six unanswered runs for a 6-4 win, the surging A's sealed a four-game series victory against the host Astros in familiar fashion at Minute Maid Park, proving that the formula works just the same opposite the defending World Series champions.
The comeback kids, winners of 19 of their last 24 games, erased a 4-0 deficit by rallying for three runs in the fifth and three more in the eighth.
"I think we're a confident group, and we know we're capable of playing like this," A's outfielder Mark Canha said. "This is our mindset. We come to the field expecting to win every day. It's kind of a thing that snowballs."
Matt Chapman delivered a game-tying double, and Canha secured the lead with a two-run single, giving the A's a Major League-best 69 runs in the eighth inning this season. Credit Khris Davis for jumpstarting the latest joyride, as he opened the frame against righty Chris Devenski with a base hit to extend his hitting streak to a career-high 14 games.
Having taken three of four from the Astros, the 53-41 A's sit just five games back of the second American League Wild Card spot after the Mariners lost to the Angels on Thursday night.
"It's a team effort," Chapman said. "We're deep. One through nine, guys off the bench, there's no letup in our lineup. I think we have one of the best lineups in all of baseball. We're confident in that."
This pesky offense continues to keep the A's in play, pouncing in the fifth against Astros right-hander Charlie Morton with back-to-back singles from Chad Pinder and Canha. Jonathan Lucroy worked a walk to load the bases for Nick Martini, who answered with a two-run double to cut Houston's lead in half. Stephen Piscotty added an RBI infield single to pull the A's within one run.
By notching the winning run in the eighth inning, they've now accomplished that feat in the eighth frame or later in 10 of their last 23 wins. Relievers Yusmeiro Petit, Ryan Buchter and Lou Trivino teamed up for 4 1/3 scoreless innings to aid the effort.
"At this point, it's a true team effort, and that's powerful when you have 25 guys contributing," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "It doesn't surprise me that we came up with the at-bats we did against some guys that have been tough on us, too.
"It was a big series for us. We're trying to continually get more and more confident as this goes along. Not that they're not confident, but this is the venue where the world champions are, and they've had a pretty good time with us over the last few years."
Right-hander Trevor Cahill, off the disabled list and back in action for the first time since June 2, was only around for 3 2/3 innings. A laborious 36-pitch third inning did him in; with one out, the veteran issued consecutive walks ahead of a two-run double by Alex Bregman for a 2-0 Astros lead.
Cahill was one out shy of completing the fourth when Max Stassi sent a single up the middle, forcing the righty out of the game at 83 pitches. Reliever Chris Hatcher's first batter, Tony Kemp, greeted him with a two-run homer.
Then the A's did A's things.
"We knew coming in they were playing well, and we see why," Astros manager AJ Hinch said. "They did a lot more right than we did during the series, and they completed games. Their at-bats were exceptional this series. They made us work and kind of wore us out, the whole pitching staff, and just came out with some really big at-bats when they needed to."
The A's are 7-0-1 over their last eight series, their most consecutive series without a loss since putting together nine in a row from May 17-June 13, 2013.
HE SAID IT
"The last four games stunk. I'll tell you that straight up. They're playing really good baseball. They've got a good, young core over there that can play really well and they can put some at-bats together, and we saw that this series." -- Astros outfielder and former member of the A's Josh Reddick
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
The Astros challenged Canha's game-winning hit in the eighth inning, hoping the replay showed the ball landed foul in the left-field corner. After viewing all relevant angles, the replay official could not definitively determine that the ball landed in foul territory. The call was upheld.
"I couldn't tell. I should've been running," Canha said, "but I was standing there like an idiot like willing it to stay fair, and then when it finally ended up fair, I was caught halfway down the first-base line."
The A's will return to the Bay for a three-game Interleague set with the Giants at AT&T Park beginning Friday. Right-hander Edwin Jackson, who has a 2.45 ERA in three starts with his new club, gets the ball for the 7:15 p.m. PT opener in San Francisco, while the Giants counter with lefty Madison Bumgarner (2-3, 3.09 ERA).
Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB.