HOUSTON (AP) - The Houston Astros were in perfect position to finally get a win over the Athletics on Monday night.
Two big swings by Oakland changed things quickly, and the Astros were left with yet another loss.
Josh Reddick put Oakland on top with a two-run homer in the eighth inning, and the Athletics remained perfect this season against the Astros with a 4-3 victory.
Chris Young hit a solo homer for the A's, who are 10-0 against their new AL West foes this season and 15-1 all-time. The Astros have lost six straight overall.
Houston took an early 3-0 lead thanks in part to Oakland tying a season high with three errors.
``This is definitely a ballgame we feel that we should have won,' Houston manager Bo Porter said. ``We put ourselves in position to win early, getting the lead, and I just feel that late in the game we did not execute the right pitches that we needed to make to close it out.'
Young's shot cut the lead to one in the seventh before Reddick's drive to right field off Wesley Wright (0-4) made it 4-3.
``It's one of those things where, you know that is the right matchup; it's the matchup you want,' Porter said. ``If you don't win that matchup, you don't deserve to win the game.'
Wright was disappointed with himself.
``I liked the pitch that we had called, the execution could have been better,' he said. ``We've been right there on the cusp all season and as for myself, I've let a couple of games get away myself in situations where I feeI I should have gotten the job done.'
Young also tripled for another big game in his hometown.
Three of Young's nine homers this season have come at Minute Maid Park, and he's hit eight home runs with 30 RBIs in 22 career games in Houston.
Ryan Cook (3-2) pitched a perfect seventh for the win and Grant Balfour did the same in the ninth for his 26th save. Balfour has converted his last 44 chances dating to last season, an Oakland record.
Chris Carter drove in a run for Houston and shortstop Jonathan Villar singled, scored and had a stolen base in his major league debut.
``You have to calm down and concentrate on the task at hand,' Villar said. ``I am here. I made it. But from now on, that's when the hard work begins.
``Staying here is the toughest task,' he continued. ``From now on, I have to work even harder.'
Oakland starter Tommy Milone allowed five hits and three runs - two earned - in six innings.
Dallas Keuchel yielded five hits and a run with five strikeouts in six innings for Houston.
Justin Maxwell doubled to start the Houston second and stole second base. Maxwell scored and J.D. Martinez reached on an error by shortstop Jed Lowrie to make it 1-0.
Villar got his first major league hit with a bunt single in the third. Villar, who stole 31 bases in Triple-A this season, quickly swiped second. Carter's single to center scored Villar to extend the lead to 2-0.
Carter scored on an error by second baseman Grant Green when he couldn't make the catch on a routine fly.
Josh Donaldson singled to start the sixth before a double down the right-field line by Nate Freiman. Reddick drew a walk with one out to load the bases, and a sacrifice fly by Green got Oakland within 3-1.
Keuchel escaped the inning when he struck out Seth Smith.
NOTES: The series continues Tuesday when Houston's top pitching prospect, Jarred Cosart (1-0), will be recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City to make his second major league start against Jarrod Parker (6-6). The 23-year-old Cosart took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and got the win in his debut against Tampa Bay just before the break, allowing two hits and no runs in eight-plus innings. ... Home Run Derby winner Yoenis Cespedes was out for the fourth straight game because of a sore left wrist but is feeling better. Oakland manager Bob Melvin said Cespedes did a lot of work in the cage and will take batting practice Tuesday if he doesn't feel any soreness. Melvin isn't sure if Cespedes could play Tuesday.
The Associated Press News Service
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