Altuve's homer leads Astros to series win over A's
By Jane Lee and Rick Eymer
OAKLAND -- Second baseman Jose Altuve hit a three-run home run, and the Astros beat the A's a second straight day, 9-3, on Saturday afternoon to secure a series victory at the Coliseum.
Astros shortstop Jed Lowrie chipped in with two hits and as many RBIs against his former team, and right fielder George Springer hit a solo home run in the ninth, helping to provide plenty of support for starter Scott Feldman. The right-hander allowed three earned runs on five hits in 6 2/3 innings for Houston, which improved to 10-7 -- the club's best start since the 2006 squad went 12-5 through the first 17 games.
"I learned from my mistakes the last time I faced them," Feldman said. "I made some adjustments and switched up things. It was a matter of making pitches."
Oakland starter Kendall Graveman only lasted 4 2/3 innings, surrendering six runs on nine hits with one walk and one strikeout, and he received little offensive or defensive support. The A's fell to 8-11, marking the first time they're three games under .500 since July 2, 2012.
"We're not playing very well here for the last five games or so," said A's manager Bob Melvin. "Even before that, we blew some close games but were getting some consistent at-bats, getting guys on base and swinging the bats well. At this point, we're not doing anything too terribly right."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED And with power too: Altuve launched his second home run, a three-run shot into the left-field bleachers, with two outs in the second to give the Astros a 4-0 lead. Altuve collected two hits and has 64, including four home runs, versus the A's, his best against any team.
Altuve led off the game with a solid single on Graveman's first offering.
"He threw me sinkers the last game and got me out too easy," Altuve said. "I was looking for one pitch, and he threw it."
A Grave situation: This was the third time in four starts Graveman was unable to complete five innings. The right-handed sinkerballer compiled just three groundball outs in his 4 2/3 innings, with the Astros hitting him hard from the start. He was on the hook for six earned runs, the second time he's allowed as many this season, before Chris Bassitt made his A's debut and allowed three runs (one earned) in 4 1/3 innings.
Graveman has a 8.27 ERA.
"He's just a tick off," said catcher Stephen Vogt. "You saw it today. He made so many quality pitches, and all of a sudden, one mistake and he gets hit. Quality pitch, quality pitch, mistake, gets hit. Right now, he's not getting the downward movement that he was getting and has been getting when he's on." More >
Striking K-dirt: Feldman, who attended high school and college in the Bay Area, took a no-hitter into the fourth and allowed two hits through six innings. He struck out six A's, upping his career total to 77, his most against any team by more than 20. More >
Drop it like it's hot: The Astros posted a pair of unearned runs in a sloppy seventh inning for the A's. Right fielder Josh Reddick dropped Luis Valbuena's routine fly ball to lead off the frame, and Cody Ross let a shallow fly ball off the bat of Colby Rasmus drop in front of him in left field.
"That's good, I guess. I'm not going to think about it." -- Altuve, on his 28-game hitting streak against the A's
WHAT'S NEXT Astros: Rookie right-hander Asher Wojciechowski gets his third start, his first against the A's, in Sunday's series finale. Wojciechowski threw four shutout innings against the A's in relief of Feldman two weeks ago. He has pitched four innings in each appearance.
Athletics: The A's will send lefty Drew Pomeranz to the mound for Sunday's matinee finale, hoping to salvage one game of this series. Pomeranz has tossed five innings in each of his past two starts, after pitching a career-high-tying seven in his first start. The lefty is 0-2 with a 6.28 ERA in four career appearances, including three starts, against Houston.
Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. Rick Eymer is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.