OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)The Oakland Athletics were held to four hits for a fourth consecutive game and made it hold up for for rookie Zach Logue in a 3-2 win over the Houston Astros on Saturday.
Oakland’s batting average dropped to .209, on track to break the major league low of .211 set by the dead-ball era 1910 Chicago White Sox. The A’s got three singles and a double off Framber Valdez.
”We grinded that win. We really did,” A’s manager Mark Kotsay said. ”We took advantage of their mistakes and played a good, clean game to come out on top.”
Logue pitched five innings of three-hit ball after being recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas and dealt the Astros their second loss in 12 games. The 26-year-old left-hander allowed two runs and set down his final 10 batters he after Martin Maldonado’s second-inning sacrifice fly.
”I did a decent job of limiting the damage and our offense took over from there,” Logue said. ”I just tried to keep executing and tried to get us through five or six.”
Kotsay praised Logue for following the team’s directive that he focus on his command while in the minors.
”It looked like he had more life on his fastball,” Kotsay said. ”For him to go through that lineup and give us five innings, he did a great job today. He did have better command in my mind. Everybody that came in did a great job throwing strikes and we got a W.”
Sean Murphy had two hits and made a heads-up running play to score the A’s first run off Valdez, helping Oakland to its first win in five tries this season against AL West-leading Houston.
Aledmys Diaz doubled and scored for the Astros.
Five relievers combined for four innings of two-hit ball. Lou Trivino worked the ninth for his seventh save in eight chances, retiring pinch-hitter J.J. Matijevic on a game-ending flyout with two on.
”That’s how you draw it up,” Murphy said. ”Get the lead early and let the bullpen finish it off from there. We used all the back-end guys today and they all came in and did their jobs.”
Oakland loaded the bases with two singles and a walk in the fourth, then scored three runs without getting the ball past the mound in what Astros manager Dusty Baker called ”as strange an inning as I’ve ever seen.”
Murphy singled leading off the inning and came home on Seth Brown’s chopper in front of the plate. He ran around Maldonado on the third-base line and slid in with his left hand touching the plate.
Elvis Andrus scampered home on a passed ball that glanced off Maldonado’s glove and Stephen Piscotty came in on a wild pitch.
”They scored three runs and none of them went 10 feet,” Baker said. ”And then you hit balls on the nose like we did at the end there and have nothing to show for it.”
Valdez (8-4), who pitched a two-hitter against the A’s on May 30, went the distance again and tied Miami’s Sandy Alcantara as the only pitchers with two complete games.
Valdez couldn’t overcome his wildness in the fourth. The lefty allowed three runs – two earned – and worked around two walks.
”I wasn’t trying to focus on getting a lot of strikeouts, just try to get a lot of weak contact,” Valdez said. ”I was able to do that for most part.”
The Astros frustrations boiled over in the eighth when Baker was ejected by plate umpire Ben May after Maldonado struck out looking leading off the inning. Maldonado shouted at May as he walked away but May looked into the Astros dugout and signaled to toss Baker, who came out to argue.
Chas McCormick hit an RBI single and Maldonado had a sacrifice fly in the second to put the Astros ahead 2-0.
The A’s traded INF Christian Bethancourt to the Rays for a pair of minor leaguers. Bethancourt hit .249 average with four homers and 19 RBIs in 56 games with the A’s after beginning the season in the minors. Oakland also optioned LHP Sam Sellman to Las Vegas to make room for Logue.
Astros: INF Jeremy Pena, who came out of health and safety protocols Friday, was held out.
Astros RHP Jake Odorizzi (3-2, 4.04) pitches the series finale Sunday in his second start since coming off the Injured List. Odorizzi allowed five runs and nine hits in four innings against the Royals on Monday. Cole Irvin (3-6, 3.55) has one win in nine starts since coming off the injured list on May 22, although the A’s left-hander has a 1.49 ERA at the Coliseum.
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