Blackley, A's avoid sweep in Texas with 3-1 victory

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Blackley, A's avoid sweep in Texas with 3-1 victory

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If you are going to win just one game of a four-game series, it might as well be the last one. The A's will head home happy after defeating the division-leading Rangers 3-1. The A's got a stellar seven-inning performance out of their starting pitcher Travis Blackley, and a solid inning of relief from their newest All-Star Ryan Cook to escape Arlington without being swept.Starting Pitching ReportBlackley did a good job pitching to contact, even against the top run-scoring team in baseball -- in one of the toughest parks to pitch in. He didn't walk a single batter in his seven innings pitched, earning his second win. He scattered seven hits, and only struck out three hitters.The only run he allowed came in the third inning after Ian Kinsler doubled and was driven home on a single by Elvis Andrus.Blackley didn't struck out a hitter until he caught Adrian Beltre looking in the fourth inning. He never got into any major jams in the game. Craig Gentry made it to third base against him in the sixth inning, but the Australian lefty ended up stranding him there by getting Josh Hamilton to pop out to shortstop Cliff Pennington.Blackley had a couple chances to show off his pickoff move. He had Andrus so dead-to-rights that the speedy shortstop didn't even bother to move when Blackley threw the ball to first. He also got Yorvit Torrealba in the fourth. Blackley might have the best pickoff move in baseball, he leads the AL with six pickoffs this season. At the PlateSeth Smith hit a leadoff double over the head of center fielder Craig Gentry to start the fifth inning. Derek Norris promptly drove him home with a game-tying RBI single to left field. Norris has not collected a hit in six of his seven games played. He has a six-game hitting streak.The A's scored another run in the sixth on a strange sequence of events. Yoenis Cespedes smashed a double down the right field line that kicked off the wall perfectly to Nelson Cruz, who was able to get the ball back to the infield quick enough to force Weeks to stay at third. Then with Smith at the plate, Darvish threw a wild pitch in the dirt, Weeks came streaking home sliding across the plate kicking up a cloud of chalk and dust. It looked like a smoke bomb went off at the plate. There was some confusion by the Rangers on the play. They claimed Darvish's pitch hit Smith in the foot. Replays showed that it did not, and the umpires made the right call. The run gave the A's a 2-1 lead.Brandon Moss clubbed a leadoff homer to start the seventh inning. It was his eighth home run of the year and it reached the upper deck. Moss hit seven home runs in his first 13 games, but had been held without an RBI in his past seven games.Yu Darvish struck out the side after giving up the tying run in the fifth. He struck out Norris after giving up the lead in the sixth. The Japanese-born ace recorded 11 strikeouts over seven innings of work. Eclipsing his MLB career-high in strikeouts.The A's got the leadoff runner on base in the third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth innings.Bullpen ReportJerry Blevins came in for one batter. That batter was Josh Hamilton. Blevins might deserve player of the game honors after stealing the momentum from the Rangers after a potentially critical A's error. He got Hamilton to pop out to end the inning with two runners on base. Hamilton is now 0 for 5 with four strikeouts in his career against Blevins.Grant Balfour got the first two outs in the eighth inning. He gave up just one hit and would have gotten three outs if it wasn't for the aforementioned error. It didn't take long for Ryan Cook to get a chance to prove he belongs on the AL All-Star team. Hours after the announcement, he entered with a two-run lead in the bottom of the ninth, and shut down the Rangers with a 1-2-3 inning and his seventh save.In the FieldBrandon Inge made the A's sixth error in the series. Similar to Saturday's game, the A's third baseman couldn't field a ball hit right to him. Andrus singled home Kinsler in the third inning, but was caught advancing to second after a strong throw home by Reddick was cut off by Moss, who tagged Andrus.Weeks made a nice play on a broken-bat ground out in the fourth inning. The ball traveled toward Weeks, and the bat head came with it in a parallel trajectory. Weeks navigated out of the line of fire of the lumber, maintained focus, and fielded the ball cleanly, throwing out Hamilton at first.Up NextFrom one Japanese sensation to the next, the A's will face Diasuke Matsuzaka (0-2, 4.91 ERA) on Monday at the Oakland Coliseum. Dice-K has made four starts since returning from the disabled list on June 9.Jarrod Parker (4-3, 2.57 ERA) struck out a career-high nine hitters in his last start in Seattle. He has been dominant, allowing one run or less in six of his last seven starts.

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's loss despite five home runs

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's loss despite five home runs

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Hit five home runs, and a team has to like its chances of winning.

The A’s simply couldn’t keep up with the Houston Astros’ bats, however, in an 11-8 loss Wednesday night that snapped Oakland’s four-game winning streak. Khris Davis went deep twice, and Ryon Healy, Jed Lowrie and Matt Olson all went deep as the A’s set their season high for home runs.

But Houston racked up 17 hits against Jesse Hahn (3-6) and four relievers and evened this three-game series at a game apiece. It was the second time Hahn has gotten knocked around by Houston inside of a week.

The A’s took an early lead, 5-4, in the third on the second of Davis’ two homers, part of a four-run rally for Oakland. But the Astros answered right back with five runs in the bottom half, and the A’s never recovered from that momentum swing.

Hahn’s struggles continue: Hahn was trying to rebound after the Astros hung nine earned runs on him last Thursday at the Coliseum. Things didn’t improve Wednesday at Minute Maid Park, as the right-hander lasted just two-plus innings and allowed six runs on nine hits. Is this a case of one team simply having Hahn’s number or do the A’s make a move and try someone else in the rotation? It bears watching.

Krush Davis x 2: It was apparent early this would be a slugfest, with Khris Davis homering twice within the first three innings as the A’s tried to keep pace. He led off the second with a shot to left field, then came back with a three-run blast to left in the third that put Oakland up 5-4. The homers were his team-leading 20th and 21st.

Reddick-ulous night: Josh Reddick filled up the stat sheet against his old team in every way imaginable. He went 3-for-4 with three RBI and two runs, and twice caught the A’s by surprise by stealing third base. For good measure, he turned in an excellent running catch in right field to rob Yonder Alonso.

Strange offensive night: What to make of this night offensively for the A’s? They hit a season-high five homers but also struck out a whopping 17 times. No matter … you can’t hang this one on the offense, because …

The pitching staff just couldn’t hold things down: Josh Smith was called upon to hold down the fort after Hahn departed in the third, but Smith was tagged for three runs on four hits. Daniel Coulombe and John Axford also got touched for runs. Rookie Michael Brady did turn in 1 1/3 scoreless innings.

A's lineup: In rare move, Melvin makes no changes vs Astros

A's lineup: In rare move, Melvin makes no changes vs Astros

PROGRAMMING NOTE: A's-Astros coverage begins at 4pm with Pregame Live on NBC Sports California and streaming right here.

After winning their fourth straight game on Tuesday, the A's are trotting out the same lineup Wednesday against the Astros.

Oakland A's:
1. Matt Joyce (L) LF
2. Matt Olson (L) RF
3. Jed Lowrie (S) 2B
4. Khris Davis (R) DH
5. Yonder Alonso (L) 1B
6. Ryon Healy (R) 3B
7. Bruce Maxwell (L) C
8. Franklin Barreto (R) SS
9. Jaycob Brugman (L) CF
Jesse Hahn -- RHP

Houston Astros:
1. George Springer (R) CF
2. Josh Reddick (L) RF
3. Jose Altuve (R) 2B
4. Carlos Correa (R) SS
5. Brian McCann (L) C
6. Carlos Beltran (S) DH
7. Marwin Gonzalez (S) 3B
8. Yuli Gurriel (R) 1B
9. Norichika Aoki (L) LF
David Paulino -- RHP