HOUSTON (AP) - Houston closer Jose Veras had faced Chris Young in the past and remembered that the outfielder couldn't hit his curveball.
That changed on Friday night.
Young connected on a three-run homer in the ninth inning off Veras to lift the Oakland Athletics to a 6-5 win over the Astros.
Young, who grew up in Houston, is hitting just .189 this season. But he's a career .418 hitter at Minute Maid Park with seven home runs and 27 RBIs in 19 games in his hometown.
The A's trailed 5-3 before Veras (0-3) walked two of the first three batters of the inning to set the table for Young. He turned on a curveball to put Oakland up 6-5. Young stood at the plate for a couple of seconds admiring the towering shot before heading to first base.
``He made good contact with it, and it surprised me,' Veras said. ``He didn't hit my breaking ball before, but one day it was going to happen.'
Young was just hoping to make contact after struggling against Veras in previous meetings.
``I've faced Veras quite a few times and he normally has my number,' Young said. ``He's broken plenty of my bats and struck me out quite a few times as well. So I was just to make adjustments and get something up in the zone.'
Seth Smith had a solo pinch-hit homer for Oakland in the sixth inning.
Pat Neshek (1-0) pitched a scoreless eighth for the win and Grant Balfour walked two in the ninth before getting his 10th save. He has converted 28 straight save opportunities since last season.
J.D. Martinez hit a three-run homer and Matt Dominguez also homered in a five-run fifth inning for the Astros, who fell to 0-7 against Oakland this season.
The Athletics were up by two before Dominguez got Houston's big fifth inning going with his first-pitch home run off Tommy Milone. Jose Altuve tied it with an RBI single before Martinez homered for the second straight game to give the Astros a 5-2 lead.
Houston starter Erik Bedard yielded four hits and two runs in five innings. He gave up both runs in the first inning before settling down.
``I was just trying to do some damage control,' Bedard said. ``I threw a lot of pitches, but fortunately, I only gave up two.'
Milone became the fourth straight Oakland starter to last seven innings. He gave up eight hits and five runs with six strikeouts.
By scoring five runs, the Astros ended a streak of Oakland allowing three or fewer runs in six straight games.
Coco Crisp drew a leadoff walk before Young extended his hitting streak against the Astros to 15 games with a single. An RBI single by Yoenis Cespedes put Oakland up 1-0.
Bedard then plunked Josh Donaldson before retiring Derek Norris for the first out. Luke Montz then grounded into a force out and Young scored to make it 2-0.
Houston couldn't do much against Milone early and he retired 14 of the first 16 batters he faced. He struck out the first two batters of the fifth inning before Dominguez launched his fifth homer of the season to the back of the Crawford Boxes to cut the lead to 2-1.
It was the first of five consecutive hits for the Astros. Ronny Cedeno and Robbie Grossman hit back-to-back singles before Jose Altuve snapped an 0 for 18 slump with an RBI single to tie it at 2. Second baseman Eric Sogard almost ended the inning on Cedeno's hit, but the ball dropped just out of his reach after he sprinted and slid to try and snag it in shallow center field.
Martinez gave the Astros a 5-2 lead with his three-run shot. It was Martinez's second consecutive game with a home run after he hit a two-run shot in Houston's win over the Royals on Wednesday.
``J.D. is a run producer, and that's why he hits in the middle of the lineup,' Houston manager Bo Porter said. ``He can get on anybody's fastball, and he can be a tough guy to pitch to.'
Milone finally escaped the inning when Carlos Corporan grounded out.
``We had our big inning and put a five-spot up, and the bullpen did a good job of holding the lead until that ninth, and we just couldn't hold them off,' Porter said.
Paul Clemens replaced Bedard for the sixth inning and Smith greeted him with a pinch-hit homer to get Oakland within 5-3. It was the sixth pinch-hit homer of Smith's career and the second by Oakland this season.
Young had a single in the seventh inning and that and his homer were Oakland's only hits after Smith's homer.
Young also had a three-run homer in his last appearance at Minute Maid Park to help the A's to a 9-3 win on April 7.
NOTES: Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, who is from Houston, threw out the first pitch. ... The series continues on Saturday when Oakland's A.J. Griffin faces Lucas Harrell. ... Houston OF Justin Maxwell, on the disabled list with a broken bone in his left hand, took about 20 swings in batting practice on Friday and is schedule to go to extended spring training in Florida on Wednesday to take live at_bats. ... Houston minor league OF Jonathan Singleton will finish his 50 game suspension for a drug of abuse and report to Class A Quad Cities on Monday.
The Associated Press News Service
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