This can't go on forever. No team plays another perfectly throughout the course of an entire season. But somehow, the A's keep on snatching victory from the jaws of defeat against the lowly Houston Astros. Tonight, it was an eighth-inning, two-run blast to straightaway right field from Josh Reddick that did the trick.
For the second time this season, Chris Young added some of his own home-cooked magic at Minute Maid Park, bringing the A's back to within one run of the Astros in the top of the 7th with a solo shot into the Crawford Boxes in the left field corner. The Houston native seems to absolutely love playing in front of what seemed like dozens of family and friends, and he apparently likes to put on a show for them, too.
Early on, Oakland appeared to have absolutely no intention of winning this game. In the bottom of the 2nd, Josh Donaldson flubbed a grounder that forced him to range to his right, but only slightly, and he didn't decide whether to forehand or backhand the ball in time. It scooted into left field, and though Donaldson wasn't charged with an error in what seemed like a questionable scoring decision, it's a play that he probably makes 99% of the time.
Right after Donaldson's miscue, Jed Lowrie made a throwing error. Then, in the 3rd inning, Grant Green called for a routine popup 20 feet into center field, but appeared to get scared off by the sound of Coco Crisp and Josh Reddick's fast-approaching footsteps, and he curled away at the last second, leaving the ball to drop harmlessly between the three A's defenders.
But Josh Reddick wanted no part of the trend of increasingly pathetic defensive efforts in the early going. With one out in the 2nd inning, he made a play that reminded everybody watching why he won a Gold Glove in 2012, coming on hard to make a diving catch on a Matt Dominguez line drive that seemed determined to fall into shallow right field. Reddick extended his body fully, caught the ball, rolled completely over, and managed to hold on. It didn't make up for Green, Lowrie, and Donaldson's mistakes, but it might have come close. The damage was done, though — Oakland essentially gifted the Astros two runs to add to their one-run lead, making the deficit 3-0 after only two innings.
Tommy Milone's quietly put together a nice start, working six innings and giving up only two earned runs, but three total. One of those earned runs, though, should have been unearned, given that it resulted directly from Donaldson's "non"-error. Milone only walked one batter, which was good to see given his intermittent struggles with his control this season, while allowing five hits. At the end of the day, he had the A's in the game in the late innings, despite the worst defensive display Oakland has put on in a long, long time.
The familiar combination of Ryan Cook, Sean Doolittle, and Grant Balfour (in that order) came on in the last three innings to finish off the Astros. Well, Cook wasn't really in the game to finish the Astros off — more to keep the A's close. He did exactly that, and since Reddick's blast came immediately after his appearance, he gets credited with the win, which puts his record at 3-2 on the season. Doolittle struck out two but walked a batter in the 8th, and Balfour was perfect in the ninth, recording two strikeouts to give him his 26th save of the season in 26 opportunities.
Against all odds, the A's got the job done, and they're now a perfect 10-0 against Houston. They look to improve that mark to 11-0 tomorrow evening at 5:10pm, when we'll see Jarrod Parker face off against the Astros rookie RHP Jarred Cosart. Which Jarred/Jarrod will reign supreme? I'll have the game thread - see you then.