Matt Olson keyed a four-run, sixth-inning rally with a two-run double, and the Oakland Athletics handed the Houston Astros their second consecutive home loss, prevailing 5-3 victory Wednesday.
The Athletics sliced their deficit in the American League West to 8 1/2 games and prevented the Astros from lowering their magic number to clinch the division to six. Houston last dropped back-to-back home games on June 26-27 against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Oakland clinched at least a split of the four-game set by handing the Astros just their sixth home loss in 34 games.
Stymied by Astros right-hander Jose Urquidy through five innings, the Athletics wasted little time rallying against right-hander Josh James (5-1) in the sixth. James immediately coughed up a 2-1 lead when he surrendered a leadoff home run to Athletics catcher Sean Murphy on a 1-2 slider, with Murphy driving the ball 357 feet out to left field, his fourth homer and third in the past two games.
Marcus Semien (3-for-5, two runs) followed with a single, and when James plunked Matt Chapman with a 2-1 fastball, the stage was set for Olson, who homered twice Tuesday. Olson doubled to right and later scored when Khris Davis added an RBI single off reliever Joe Smith.
James failed to record an out and allowed all four batters he faced to reach and score. James had allowed just one run in three appearances following his return from the 10-day injured list on Sept. 1.
Urquidy surrendered just one hit, a Semien leadoff home run in the fourth, his 28th on the season. The right-hander walked one while posting a career-high 10 strikeouts.
The Astros hung seven hits on Brett Anderson (12-9) but failed to deliver the big blow, with the left-hander surrendering just two runs on seven hits while issuing three walks over five innings. Anderson fanned four.
Anderson did allow a solo homer with one out in the third to George Springer, the center fielder's 34th this season.
Left-hander Jesus Luzardo, the Athletics' top-ranked prospect, made his major league debut. He allowed one run on one hit, a Martin Maldonado homer in the sixth, but posted two strikeouts and no walks over three innings.
Athletics closer Liam Hendriks notched his 20th save with a perfect ninth.
--Field Level Media