Astros benefit from shoddy pitching, defense in ninth by A's
Houston, TX (Sports Network) - A pair of monumental streaks for the Oakland Athletics came to a close Tuesday night, thanks mostly to miscues in the ninth inning against the team with the worst record in the majors.
Grant Balfour served up the tying two-run homer to Matt Dominguez and Jonathan Villar scored on Derek Norris' throwing error later in the ninth as the Astros shocked the A's, 5-4, to snap a 12-game skid versus Oakland.
Balfour had converted his last 44 save chances, an Oakland record, including all 26 this season, but Dominguez crushed the tying homer to left-center field with no outs.
Balfour (0-2), who committed an error that allowed Justin Maxwell to reach second on a single to start the ninth, suffered his first blown save since April 29, 2012 at Baltimore.
Villar doubled to left with one out. Jose Altuve walked and he slipped between first and second when a pitch got away from Norris. The catcher recovered, but his throw to first baseman Brandon Moss was wide of the base. By the time Moss recovered to throw home it was too late as Villar came home to end Houston's six-game slide.
Josh Donaldson was hit by a pitch and Moss followed by hammering a 2-2 pitch from Jose Cisnero over the wall in right field to give the AL West leaders a 4-2 edge in the eighth.
A Dominguez error led to Jed Lowrie scoring in the first inning, but Jason Castro singled in Villar in the bottom of the frame.
Coco Crisp scored on a Moss double play groundout in the third. A second run would have come home, but Donaldson was tagged out at first to end the inning just before John Jaso crossed the plate.
Altuve's sacrifice fly to center scored Brandon Barnes in the fifth.
Prior to the late runs, the game was a pitching duel between Jarrod Parker and Jarred Cosart as both went seven innings. Cosart threw 115 pitches.
Josh Fields (1-1) fanned two in the top of the ninth to get his first major league win.
Barnes left the game with a mild left calf strain ... The A's were without Home Run Derby champion Yoenis Cespedes again due to a sore left wrist. He hasn't played since prior to the All-Star break ... Cosart, who made his Minute Maid Park debut as a native of nearby League City, allowed seven hits ... This was Houston's first win over the A's since June 12, 2007 at Minute Maid Park.
07/24 00:49:40 ET