Astros slip past A’s in 10 innings
OAKLAND -- Houston Astros rookie outfielder Tony Kemp didn’t get into the Tuesday game against the Oakland Athletics until the top of the seventh inning.
There was still plenty of time left for Kemp to hit two doubles, drive in the game-tying run and score the winning run in the Astros’ 2-1, 10-inning victory at the Oakland Coliseum.
Kemp had a pinch-hit RBI double in the seventh. Then he led off the top of the 10th with a double and scored the go-ahead run on George Springer’s single.
The Astros moved within two games of the Baltimore Orioles for the second American League wild-card spot by defeating the A’s for the sixth straight time.
“Once you get to these end games, everyone wants to continue to fight and push harder,” Kemp said. “I think that’s really helped, being loose and going out there every day and just pretend it’s our last game.”
Kemp lined a double to the right-center-field gap off A’s left-hander Sean Doolittle (2-3) in the 10th. He moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, and Springer grounded a sharp single to center past a drawn-in Oakland infield.
“The first fastball, it looked like it was 105 (mph),” Kemp said. “Luckily he threw a curveball on the second pitch.”
Reliever Chris Devenski (4-4) pitched 3 2/3 innings perfect innings for the win, striking out four.
“This is exactly why Devenski’s valuable in the role that he’s in,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “I never know when a game like this is going to come up. I understand the appeal of him starting, but (after) a couple days’ rest, he’s going to be back in there again in some clutch games.”
Astros right-hander Ken Giles took over in the 10th, but after he retired the first batter he faced, the A’s loaded the bases as Yonder Alonso walked, Brett Eibner singled and Bruce Maxwell walked.
Giles retired Jake Smolinski on a popup for the second out, then struck out Joey Wendle to record his 13th save.
A’s rookie left-hander Sean Manaea pitched six shutout innings in a no-decision. Manaea gave up three hits, struck out seven and walked two in his second start since leaving his Aug. 29 outing against Houston after 3 1/3 innings with a strained upper back.
“Everything felt good,” Manaea said. “I was just trusting the defense behind me. Just a hard game all the way through. It’s tough losing a game like that, but it’s how the game goes. Overall a good game. Just wish we could have pulled it out.”
Astros rookie right-hander Joe Musgrove allowed one run on two hits in 5 1/3 innings, striking out four and walking three in a no-decision.
Musgrove had a no-hitter through 5 1/3 innings before Smolinski grounded an opposite-field single to right field, beating the Astros’ defensive shift. Wendle grounded an opposite-field single to left as the A’s beat the shift again. Marcus Semien walked, loading the bases and ending Musgrove’s night.
Devenski retired Stephen Vogt on a slow ground ball to shortstop Carlos Correa that brought home Smolinski, giving Oakland a 1-0 lead. Danny Valencia grounded out to end the inning.
”I thought I made good pitches,“ Musgrove said. ”They just kind of hit it where guys weren‘t. Those are tough, especially to break up the no-no at that point. I stayed focused, and I still felt good.
“Every game at this point really matters, and (Devenski has) been absolutely lights out this year, so I felt 100 percent comfortable handing the ball over to him.”
The Astros pulled even with a run in the seventh. Evan Gattis led off with an infield single off reliever John Axford. Marwin Gonzalez grounded into a fielder’s choice, then stole second base. Kemp brought Gonzalez home with a double to right field on a ball that that glanced off of Axford’s glove and angled sharply behind second baseman Wendle, who was running toward second base and couldn’t change directions.
Astros second baseman Jose Altuve led off the eighth with a sharp single to left, his 200th hit of the season. Altuve, who has three straight 200-hit seasons, was caught stealing as Correa struck out.
The A’s went 6-1 and scored 65 runs on their road trip before returning home and losing two straight to Houston while scoring three runs.
”The pitching’s been a little better against us,“ A’s manager Bob Melvin said. ”Our ballpark’s not conducive to scoring a ton of runs. We just didn’t carry over, at least for the first couple of games, what we did on the road.
“They have a great bullpen. Once you get in their bullpen, that’s kind of the strength of their pitching staff.”
NOTES: A’s RHP Henderson Alvarez had surgery on his right shoulder Tuesday in Gulf Breeze, Fla. There is no timetable for his return. Dr. James Andrews performed the operation. Alvarez did not pitch for the A’s this season as he tried to come back from July 28, 2015, surgery on his shoulder. ... A’s LF Khris Davis, who ranks fourth in the major leagues with 40 home runs, was a late scratch because of a stomach bug, manager Bob Melvin said. Danny Valencia replaced Davis, Oakland’s cleanup hitter, in the lineup and played right field, with Jake Smolinski moving to left. Valencia hit fourth but was ejected by plate umpire Marty Foster after striking out in the ninth. ... A’s RHP Sonny Gray (strained right forearm) threw a 48-pitch bullpen session and will likely pitch a two-inning simulated game this weekend. ... Astros RHP Collin McHugh makes his 31st start of the season Wednesday in the series finale against Oakland. He is 5-1 with a 3.00 ERA in his career vs. the A‘s. RHP Daniel Mengden starts for the A‘s.