OAKLAND (AP) — With three wins in four games since the All-Star break against two of the hottest teams in the majors, the Athletics are building some momentum.
They’ve still got quite a ways to go to dig themselves out of the cellar in the AL West. Still, it’s as good a streak as manager Bob Melvin could have expected after a disappointing first half.
Yonder Alonso drove in three runs with a pair of two-out hits to back Kendall Graveman’s fifth consecutive win, and Oakland Athletics beat the Houston Astros 7-4 on Monday night.
“Guys are putting up some numbers now,” Graveman said. “You could go one to nine no matter who’s in there, and I think a lot of guys are starting to feel comfortable at the plate. Us as starters are just trying to keep them in ballgames and we know they’re going to put up runs.”
Khris Davis hit his fourth home run in three games, Marcus Semien had two hits and scored twice while Ryon Healy added an RBI double for the A’s.
Oakland has won three of four since the All-Star break.
“It’s just timely hitting,” Davis said. “When we get those crooked numbers, our pitchers are doing a great job of throwing up a zero and getting us back in. That momentum is huge.”
Alonso doubled in a run in the second inning then added a two-run single as part of five-run fourth when the A’s sent 12 men to the plate. The Astros walked five batters in the inning, two with the bases loaded.
Graveman (6-6) allowed three runs over seven innings to earn his second straight win over Houston. The right-hander, who also beat the Astros in his final start before the break, struck out five and walked one.
Dyan Dull retired three batters and Ryan Madson pitched the ninth for his 20th save.
Marwin Gonzalez homered for the second time in three games for Houston.
The A’s got plenty of help from the Astros pitching.
Starter Mike Fiers allowed six runs over 3 2/3 innings to remain winless in five career starts against Oakland. Fiers (6-4) fanned five and walk three, including two in the fourth.
Michael Feliz replaced Fiers and walked three consecutive batters including Josh Reddick and Danny Valencia with the bases loaded. Reddick had struck out swinging in his first two at-bats before drawing a four-pitch walk to force in Healy.
Davis hit his 23rd home run this season off Scott Feldman in the seventh.
“We got beat by a big inning,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “It’s frustrating because we had four or five walks in that inning.. They kept putting up quality at-bats and we couldn’t close the inning out.”
Houston took a 2-1 lead in the top of the fourth when Carlos Correa scored an unearned run on a throwing error by Healy, Oakland’s rookie third baseman. A’s manager Bob Melvin tried to argue that Correa interfered with Healy while running from second to third on the play.
Fiers was not happy about being pulled from the game in the fourth and exchanged words with Hinch. Fiers later got into it with teammate Carlos Gomez as the two went face to face in the Astros dugout. “I can’t show that much emotion in the dugout so he was just letting me know that if I had to say something or act, take it inside and do it without anybody watching, which he’s right,” Fiers said. “I think my emotions got the best of me. I need to be more professional about what I’m doing out there on the field and in the game.”
Athletics: Right-hander Nick Tepesch was claimed off waivers by the Royals. Tepesch had been designated for assignment when Oakland needed to clear room for 3B Ryon Healy last week.
Astros: LHP Dallas Keuchel (6-9) makes his second consecutive start against Oakland on Tuesday at the Coliseum. The reigning AL Cy Young winner allowed one run over seven innings against the A’s in his final outing before the All-Star break.
Athletics: Dillon Overton (1-1) will be called up from Triple-A Nashville to start against Houston. This is the rookie left-hander’s second stint in the majors.