The Oakland Athletics wasted a golden opportunity to take over sole possession of first place in the American League West on Thursday.
A.J. Griffin hopes to put them in that position on Friday, when the Athletics continue a four-game set with the Houston Astros at O.co Coliseum.
Oakland fell a half-game back of the Texas Rangers in the division on Thursday, as Brad Peacock pitched into the eighth inning and Houston eked out a 3-2 win.
Peacock (4-5) gave up two runs on five hits with a walk and nine strikeouts in seven-plus innings of work to help the Astros to their second straight win.
"I had everything tonight," Peacock said. "This is definitely a confidence builder."
Jose Altuve was 2-for-4 with an RBI while Chris Carter also drove in a run in the win for Houston, which got two hits and a run scored from Trevor Crowe.
Alberto Callaspo and Stephen Vogt each drove in a run while Sonny Gray (2-3) was charged with three runs -- two earned -- on seven hits over eight innings for the Athletics, who had taken two of three from the Rangers.
"They might not have been hitting the ball hard, but I still wasn't executing my pitches," Gray said of his outing.
Getting the call for the A's on Friday will be Griffin, who has won his last two starts. Griffin beat the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday, holding them to a run and five hits in seven innings to improve to 12-9, while lowering his ERA to 3.84.
Griffin is 2-0 in three starts versus the Astros with a 4.50 ERA.
Houston, meanwhile, will counter with lefty Dallas Keuchel, who is 5-8 with a 4.77 ERA. Keuchel fell to 0-3 over his last six starts on Sunday against Seattle, as he allowed three runs and four hits in seven innings.
"I've been feeling pretty good lately, the results just haven't been there," Griffin said after that one.
In four games (2 starts) against the A's Keuchel is 0-1 with a 4.00 ERA.
Oakland won the first 10 meetings between these teams to start the year, but the Astros have responded by winning four of six.
"Earlier on in the year, they had our number," Astros manager Bo Porter said. "It was one of those things where these guys talked about it among themselves and we kind of looked at the way in which they were beating us and said that we're going to have to make sure we don't allow that to happen. . . . They have a lot on the line. But I think our guys are up for the challenge."
Oakland is 12-4 against the Astros this season.