Astros-Athletics Preview

All three AL ERA leaders pitch for the Oakland Athletics and Houston Astros, and two will meet Friday night.

The visiting Astros have won Dallas Keuchel's last six starts against the Athletics, who will counter with Sonny Gray when these AL West rivals continue a four-game series in Oakland.

The league's ERA leader at 2.08 is Scott Kazmir, who was traded from Oakland to Houston on July 23 for a pair of prospects. He will not start in this series, which the Astros (61-49) began with a 5-4, 10-inning win Thursday.

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In third is Keuchel (13-5, 2.35 ERA) and second is Gray (11-4, 2.12), who have never matched up.

Keuchel, who can take over the AL lead in victories and has lasted at least six innings in 33 straight starts, figures to have an advantage since Oakland (48-62) is an AL-worst 8-20 versus left-handed starters. The All-Star Game starter is 2-0 with a 1.60 ERA in his last six starts against the Athletics, yielding one unearned run over 16 innings in two this year in which he won once.

Josh Reddick is 1 for 15 against him, Brett Lawrie is 2 for 15, Billy Butler 1 for 9 and Billy Burns is 0 for 8. Oakland does have Coco Crisp, who is 7 for 19 in this matchup, and Danny Valencia - 5 for 9 with a homer and two doubles.

The disadvantage for Keuchel is that he is 1-5 with a 4.87 ERA in his last six road starts. He is 0-1 with a 3.32 ERA in three starts in Oakland.

Gray has allowed one run in his last 16 innings and the Athletics have won six of his last seven outings, with the right-hander going 3-1 with a 2.47 ERA. He is 2-2 with a 2.67 ERA in four career starts versus the Astros, though Houston second baseman Jose Altuve is 5 for 14 against him.

Opponents are hitting .200 off Gray and .207 versus Keuchel.

Houston won for the second time in its last 12 road games and improved to 4-0 at Oakland this year on Jed Lowrie's two-out RBI double in the 10th. The third baseman had an error during the Athletics' tying two-run rally in the ninth.

''I felt like I put us in that situation in the ninth,'' Lowrie said. ''Just grateful for the opportunity to come up there in the 10th and come through.''

Lowrie has reached base in all six games against the team he played for last year, going 7 for 20 with seven RBIs and six walks.

Altuve is batting .382 over a 17-game hitting streak in Oakland. He stole two bases Thursday to give him 30 - eight more than Burns for the AL lead.

Astros 20-year-old rookie Carlos Correa hit his sixth home run in the last 10 games in the opener. He is the youngest position player in the majors and the only shortstop in the last century to hit 14 home runs in his first 51 games.

Lawrie and Stephen Vogt homered for the A's, losers of 10 of 14. They have baseball's worst record in one-run games at 11-26.

''It's tough. We've lost many games like this this year,'' manager Bob Melvin said. ''It comes down to a bunch of little things. We came up a little short. We've done that a lot this year.''