Oakland, CA – Josh Donaldson stroked a two-run home run among his three hits and scored three times, as the Oakland Athletics held off the Houston Astros, 7-5, Friday in the second installment of a four-game set at O.co Coliseum.
Jed Lowrie knocked in a pair of runs and scored once, while Yoenis Cespedes and Nate Freiman each added two hits and an RBI for the Athletics, who earned their sixth win in their last eight games to take a one-half-game lead over Texas atop the AL West after the Rangers lost to the Angels on Friday.
"It doesn't matter until the end of the season, we know that too well," Donaldson said. "We're really not trying to focus on it right now. We're trying to take care of our business."
A.J. Griffin (13-9) struck out nine while giving up four runs on seven hits over six frames to secure his third straight victory.
Matt Dominguez plated two runs and Jonathan Villar and Jose Altuve contributed an RBI and a run scored apiece for the Astros, who had a modest two-game win streak snapped.
Dallas Keuchel (5-9) gave up five runs on 10 hits in just 3 1/3 innings to fall to 0-4 in his last seven starts.
Houston held a 4-3 lead heading into the home half of the fourth before Lowrie stepped to the plate with runners on first and second and laced a single to center to score Coco Crisp and tie the game.
After Philip Humber replaced Keuchel on the hill, Donaldson, who singled prior to Lawrie's base hit, stole third and scored on Cespedes' groundout to give the A's a 5-4 lead.
Donaldson padded Oakland's edge in the sixth when he followed Crisp's leadoff triple with a drive over the left-field wall to make it 7-4.
Houston made things interesting against Oakland closer Grant Balfour in the ninth, as Villar and Jose Altuve stroked consecutive one-out singles to put men on the corners.
Trevor Crowe followed with a chopper to second baseman Eric Sogard, who couldn't get the ball out of his glove to flip to second, allowing Villar to score to bring the Astros within 7-5.
Balfour bounced back by inducing a fielder's choice groundout from Jason Castro before fanning Dominguez to secure his 37th save of the season.
"The at-bats were tremendous, especially in the ninth inning," Houston manager Bo Porter said. "I really felt like Dominguez was going to get a base hit there. It's unfortunate we came up short."
Oakland drew first blood on Chris Young's RBI bunt single in the second, but Houston answered with three in the third to jump in front.
Villar started the rally with a one-out double and scored when Altuve followed with a single to right.
After Crowe singled and Castro flied out to leave runners on second and third with two outs, Dominguez came through with a single to left to plate both runners for a 3-1 lead.
The A's opened the home half with four straight hits to even the score, as Donaldson and Lowrie laced back-to-back doubles before Cespedes and Freiman stroked consecutive singles to tie the score at 3-3.
Houston regained the lead in the fourth, as Brett Wallace led off with a single before Brandon Barnes was hit by a pitch.
After both runners moved up a base on Cody Clark's sacrifice bunt, Villar laid down a perfect bunt single to score Wallace from third without a throw, giving Houston a slim 4-3 edge.
Oakland finished 7-for-17 with runners in scoring position and left 10 men on base ... Houston batted 4-for-12 with RISP and stranded nine base runners ... Villar recorded his 13th stolen base of the season.