OAKLAND (AP) — Chris Carter hit his 36th homer and drove in three runs against his former team to help the Houston Astros beat the slumping Oakland Athletics 4-3 on Friday night.
Carter added an RBI single, Jon Singleton also homered and Jose Altuve had two hits for Houston, unbeaten in three games since firing manager Bo Porter on Monday. It was the Astros’ fifth straight win overall, two shy of their season high.
The loss dropped Oakland six games behind the first-place Los Angeles Angels in the AL West. Owners of the best record in the majors on Aug. 9, the A’s have gone 7-17 since.
Oakland’s anemic offense managed seven hits but stranded eight runners and failed to score after loading the bases with none out in the fourth.
Brett Oberholtzer (5-10) allowed three runs and seven hits in 6 1/3 innings to end his two-game losing streak. The left-hander struck out one and walked two.
Jose Veras retired two batters and Tony Sipp pitched two scoreless innings for his third save.
Carter has routinely beaten up on A’s pitching since being dealt to the Astros as part of a multiplayer trade in 2013.
His home run was his seventh against Oakland this year and eighth overall. His 20 RBIs against the A’s are his most against any club this season.
Jeff Samardzija took the loss, his fourth in five starts. Samardzija (4-5) fanned nine and did not walk a batter for the eighth time this season.
The right-hander retired his first seven batters before giving up Singleton’s solo home run in the third.
The A’s came back with three runs in the bottom half.
Derek Norris singled in Alberto Callaspo with the bases loaded, and Craig Gentry scored on the same play when the ball skipped past right fielder Jake Marisnick for an error. Adam Dunn’s RBI single to right beat the defensive shift by the Astros’ infield and made it 3-1.
Oakland loaded the bases again in the fourth with no outs, but Gentry hit into a forceout before Josh Donaldson grounded into a 5-2-3 double play.
Astros: Interim manager Tom Lawless said the team hopes to get OF George Springer back for the final six games of the season. Springer has missed 43 games due to a left quadriceps strain.
Athletics: Stephen Vogt (left ankle sprain) will not play in the series against the Astros. ... LHP Sean Doolittle (strained intercostal) is scheduled to throw on flat ground Saturday. If all goes well for the Oakland closer, the next step will be throwing off a mound.
Astros: RHP Scott Feldman (8-10) is coming off his second career shutout, a three-hitter against Texas. He has beaten Oakland only once in five career starts.
Athletics: LHP Scott Kazmir (14-7) had a 7.80 ERA over his six starts in August.