Astros go quietly in 4-3 loss to Athletics

Astros go quietly in 4-3 loss to Athletics

Credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Carlos Pena celebrates his 8th inning home run that tied the game

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by MICHAEL WAGAMAN / Associated Press

AP

Posted on April 17, 2013 at 7:07 AM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 17 at 7:10 AM

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Rick Ankiel wasn’t in a talkative mood after coming up short in his diving attempt to save Houston from a fourth straight loss.

The way this season is going, the Astros won’t have much to say at all.

Josh Donaldson’s eighth-inning triple down the right field line just eluded Ankiel and drove in Josh Reddick for the winning run in the Oakland Athletics’ 4-3 victory over Houston on Tuesday night.

Reddick drew a two-out walk off reliever Rhiner Cruz (0-1) and took off for second just before Donaldson’s hit down the right field line landed just fair. Ankiel made a diving attempt but came up short as Reddick raced around the bases.

“I felt like I had a shot,” Ankiel said in the din of Houston’s clubhouse. “I just couldn’t get there.”

The Astros lost their second one-run game in the last four days and dropped their fourth straight overall.

They did it despite another fairly solid outing from rookie starter Brad Peacock, who struck out seven in 4 1-3 innings against his former club but left with no-decision.

Eric Sogard added a career-high three hits for the A’s, who have won all five games against the Astros this season.

Donaldson’s game-winning hit came shortly after Carlos Pena homered off Oakland reliever Sean Doolittle (1-0) to tie the game at 3-all.

Pena’s home run, his first of the season, was one of only two hits the Astros got over the final six innings.

“We could very well have won that game,” Houston manager Bo Porter said. “We had people on base but could not string the hits together.”

Grant Balfour pitched the ninth for his second save in as many chances for Oakland. The A’s improved to 11-0 when scoring four runs or more.

The A’s also have won 10 straight games against teams from the AL West, the club’s longest single-season stretch since a 13-game streak in 1994.

They did it despite a shaky outing from starter A.J. Griffin.

Griffin struggled with his control early and allowed a career-high four walks, but recovered to retire the final 11 batters he faced before giving way to the bullpen.

Houston got four hits off Griffin in the third to take a 2-0 lead.

Marwin Gonzalez doubled and scored following singles by Jose Altuve and Justin Maxwell. Former A’s prospect Chris Carter added a one-out RBI single before Houston loaded the bases again, but Griffin struck out J.D. Martinez, and first baseman Shane Peterson made a diving catch on Ankiel’s sharp liner to end the inning.

Oakland pulled within 2-1 when Chris Young singled with two outs in the fourth, stole second and third, and scored on a wild pitch by Houston starter and former A’s minor leaguer Peacock.

Sogard doubled with one out in the fifth. Coco Crisp tripled to drive in Sogard then scored on Seth Smith’s single off reliever Dallas Keuchel to put the A’s up 3-2.

“The first couple of innings I was getting the ball down, and then I did the opposite,” said Peacock, who allowed four hits and three walks. “I felt like I had some of my best stuff tonight. This is still my first go-round.”

Pena tied the game 3-3 with his solo shot off Doolittle with two outs in the eighth.

A day after the bombings at the Boston Marathon that killed three people and injured more than 170, the A’s paid tribute to the victims in the middle of the eighth inning when “Sweet Caroline” played over the loudspeakers while the words “Tonight we are all Bostonians” flashed on the scoreboard.

NOTES: Injured Houston OF Fernando Martinez went hitless in six at-bats during the first two games of his rehab assignment. Martinez has been on the disabled list since the start of the season. ... Astros RHP Bud Norris (2-1) carries a 1.96 ERA into the series finale Wednesday afternoon. ... RHP Bartolo Colon (1-0) goes for Oakland.

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