OAKLAND -- The team that ends up winning the American League West in 2013 just might be the team that capitalizes the most on their 19 games against the Astros. These games with rebuilding Houston may not look that important in the standings, but in a division that was decided on the final game of 2012, every win helps.
The Astros have defeated the Angels, Rangers, and Mariners this season. They haven't found a way to beat the A's. That could play a factor down the stretch.
The A's have won their last 11 games against the American League West, and six in a row against the Astros. With their 7-5 win on Wednesday, the A's will have been in first place for eight consecutive days and have an American League-leading 12 wins.
At the Plate
For the second time in this series, the A's erupted for six runs and knocked out the Astros' starting pitcher in the first inning. The A's scored six runs and sent 11 batters to the plate in the first inning to take a 6-1 lead.
The Astros starters in this series lasted 5 1/3 innings and posted a 26.47 ERA with 10 walks.
Chris Young started the scoring by driving home John Jaso, who reached on a double. Young scored when Josh Reddick lined a ball over the head of the Astros right fielder for a two-run double. Eric Sogard, who is starting to look locked in like he did in spring training, drove in the A's fourth run with a bases-loaded single. Shane Peterson drew a bases loaded walk for his first career RBI. Jaso, who led off the inning, drove in the A's sixth run with a groundout.
The A's loaded the bases again in the fourth inning and scored their seventh run. Peterson led off the inning and collected his first base hit. When they threw the ball back in to the A's dugout, Lowrie scooped up the keepsake and pretended to throw it into the crowd. Peterson ended up scoring his first big league run when Lowrie grounded out with the bases loaded.
Lowrie finished the day 2 for 3 with a walk, a run, and an RBI. He hit his seventh double. He is tied for the American League lead in that category.
Starting Pitching Report
Bartolo Colon made his third start of the season and earned his second win. He allowed one run on four hits over six innings of work. The veteran starting pitcher has yet to walk a batter all season.
Colon allowed a run in the first inning on two hits and a groundout. Jose Altuve led off with a single and scored. He reached base by beating Colon in a footrace after hitting a ball to Peterson. He scored when Chris Carter grounded out.
After the A's offense put six runs on the board in the first inning, Colon answered with a shutdown frame in the second. He pounded the strike zone with fastballs and kept the Astros off the scoreboard for the remainder of the game.
Chris Resop entered the game in the seventh inning and gave up a home run to Carlos Pena. It was the second home run in as many days for Pena, who used to play for the A's. The home run represented the first earned run of the season for Resop. He didn't allow a single run all spring. A fan in the right field bleachers threw the ball back and Reddick had to chase after the ball and throw it out of play.
Resop lasted two-thirds of an inning and allowed as many hits as Colon. He left the game with two on and two outs with a 7-4 A's lead.
Ryan Cook entered in relief of Resop. He struck out Justin Maxwell to end the inning and the threat. He remained in the game and pitched a scoreless eighth inning.
Grant Balfour pitched the ninth inning for his third save of the season. He allowed a leadoff pinch-hit home run to Rick Ankiel to make it a 7-5 game. He gave up a single to Matt Dominguez to bring the tying run to the plate with no outs, but got out of the inning when Jose Altuve grounded into a double play.
In the Field
Josh Donaldson made a diving stop and throw in the first inning. After he threw the ball to first, the A's were almost able to turn the double play, which would have prevented the Astros from scoring.
Donaldson also fielded a ground ball and threw home to Derek Norris to get J.D. Martinez at the plate. Norris made the tag on the play and didn't take any hard contact. He later left the game after the seventh inning.
The A's announced an attendance of 15,488.
White won the dot race. The A's also wore their home white jerseys.
The A's will be heading to Tampa Bay during their day off on Thursday. Here are the series probables for the A's and Rays.
LHP Brett Anderson (1-2, 4.34) vs. RHP Alex Cobb (1-1, 1.93)
RHP Jarrod Parker (0-2, 10.80) vs. RHP Jeremy Hellickson (0-1, 4.91)
LHP Tommy Milone (3-0, 3.86) vs. RHP Roberto Hernandez (0-3, 5.79)