OAKLAND, (AP) — In a span of 24 hours Chris Young came within inches of giving the Athletics a pair of walkoff wins.
Each time, he came up short and so did Oakland.
One day after just missing a potential game-winning home run in the ninth inning on a play that was reviewed, Young suffered another letdown when Houston left fielder Robbie Grossman made a leaping grab at the fence to rob Young of a winning hit in the 10th.
Young later bobbled Carlos Corporan’s double in the 11th, allowing Jose Altuve to score the winning run in the A’s 2-1 loss to the Astros on Wednesday night.
“I’m doing something wrong in life I need to change,” Young said. “It’s been some bad luck. It’s just been some crazy coincidences this season.”
For most of the season the strangeness seemed to work in the A’s favor. Not anymore.
After dropping back-to-back games to Houston and ensuring the Astros of their first series win in nearly two months, Oakland fell two games behind first-place Texas in the West.
Manager Bob Melvin is definitely feeling the pressure. He was ejected in the eighth inning for arguing a close call at third base, then watched the Astros celebrate the win from his office.
“We just have to get better quality at-bats,” said Melvin after his team lost for the ninth time in 13 games. “You have to try and resist trying to be the hero and not get out of your game and make sure you are looking for a pitch you can handle. At times you get carried away a little bit at times.”
Yoenis Cespedes singled and scored Oakland’s run.
The A’s got the potential tying run on base in the bottom of the 11th after Eric Sogard’s leadoff double, but Josh Fields struck out Alberto Callaspo, Jed Lowrie and Josh Reddick to end it.
Oakland also missed a chance to win the game in the 10th when Grossman made a leaping grab of Young’s deep fly at the fence.
“To get back there and time it up the way he timed it up, that’s one heck of a catch,” Houston manager Bo Porter said. “If not, the ballgame’s over with right there.”
Altuve singled with one out in the 11th off A’s reliever Sean Doolittle (3-4) and was headed for third on Corporan’s double when Young bobbled the ball. Altuve alertly rounded third and scored the tiebreaking run while Corporan was caught in a rundown between second and third.
Chris Carter homered and Jonathan Villar added two hits for the Astros. Houston has won the first two games of this series after dropping 11 of the first 12 between the division rivals.
Lucas Harrell (6-13) pitched one inning for the win while Josh Fields earned his second save.
Carter, the former A’s first baseman, homered off A’s starter Jarrod Parker leading off the seventh. Carter hit Parker’s first pitch into the seats in left field, a towering solo shot to put the Astros up 1-0.
Brandon Moss’s RBI double in the seventh off Houston reliever Phil Humber tied it.
Both starting pitchers were stellar but left with no decision.
Houston’s Jarred Cosart, the first pitcher in franchise history to begin his career with five consecutive starts of five-plus innings while allowing two or fewer runs, kept the A’s silent early. He allowed only one runner past first base through six innings and didn’t give up a fly ball out until Josh Donaldson’s sinking liner to center leading off the fifth.
Parker pitched a career-best 8 1-3 innings for Oakland and had six strikeouts. The right-hander faced just two over the minimum through the fifth and made his only mistake came in the seventh when he gave up Carter’s team-leading 22nd home run of the season.
NOTES: Carter’s home run was his first against his former club. He was traded to Houston in the offseason as part of Oakland’s deal to acquire Lowrie. A’s C John Jaso still has not been cleared to resume baseball activities but the team is hopeful he can return this season. Jaso met with a concussion specialist in Pittsburgh earlier this week. ... CF Coco Crisp was held out of the lineup after getting a cortisone injection in his wrist on Tuesday.