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Oakland Athletics make first inning runs hold up, avoid sweep in Houston

Jul 8, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Oakland Athletics third baseman Matt Chapman (26) hits a single against the Houston Astros during the fifth inning at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland A’s scored twice in the top of the first inning, the only runs they would need as they snapped a three-game losing streak with a 2-1 victory over the host Houston Astros on Thursday afternoon.

Houston had won six consecutive games and was going for its second straight series sweep. After winning four in Cleveland, the Astros had won the first two games of this series.

The A’s got off to a good start against Lance McCullers (6-2). With one out, Elvis Andrus doubled to left and then scored on Matt Olson’s ground-rule double. Jed Lowrie then singled in the second run of the inning.

Houston was not able to get to Frankie Montas (8-7) until the seventh.

Montas got the first two outs before Kyle Tucker doubled. He moved to third on a wild pitch then scored Houston’s lone run of the day on a double down the third base line from Chas McCormick.

A’s manager Bob Melvin went to the bullpen. Yusmeiro Petit came into the game and got out of the jam by getting Abraham Toro to ground out.

Montas pitched 6 2/3 innings, giving up the one earned run off five hits, with 10 strikeouts and a walk.

McCullers pitched seven innings in the loss, giving up two runs off seven hits, with two walks and eight strikeouts.

Oakland reliever Jake Diekman picked up his seventh save but had to work for it after Yordan Alvarez led off the ninth with a single. The A’s got Yuli Gurriel to ground into a 6-4-3 double play with Tucker lining out to end it.

Gurriel and McCormick each had two hits for the Astros.

Ramon Laureano, Andrus and Lowrie had two hits apiece for Oakland.

The two teams combined for 20 strikeouts. Houston left five runners on base.

–Field Level Media