Chavez leads Oakland into opener against 'Stros

( - Oakland's Jesse Chavez attempts to beat Houston for the second time in less than a week on Monday night when the Athletics visit the Astros to kick off a three-game series.

Chavez has won two of his past three starts, including a 9-7 victory over Houston on Wednesday. The righty allowed two runs on four hits and two walks over 5 2/3 innings, striking out seven.

Chavez kept control of the game after getting staked to a 5-0 lead after two innings as he did not allow a hit until the fifth inning. He improved to 8-6 with a 3.14 earned run average on the season, though the Astros nearly rallied off the Athletics' bullpen.

"Whenever you give up a five-spot early in the game it makes it pretty difficult," Astros manager Bo Porter said. "Our guys did a tremendous job of mounting the comeback but we just came up short."

The 30-year-old Chavez remained unbeaten versus the Astros, going 2-0 with a 2.23 ERA in 18 games with three starts.

Houston's Brett Oberholtzer gets the start tonight having gone 0-1 with a 3.46 ERA in four starts. The lefty has only allowed four runs over his past two outings, but has yielded 17 hits and a pair of walks in the two no-decisions.

Oberholtzer did not factor into a 3-2 extra-inning victory over Oakland on Tuesday, charged with two runs over seven innings.

The 25-year-old is 2-7 with a 4.32 ERA in 13 games this season and 0-2 lifetime versus the A's with a 4.03 ERA in four starts.

Oakland won the final two contests of a three-game set with Texas over the weekend and is two games up on the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for first place in the AL West.

The A's have won seven of 10 and 14 of their last 20 overall, while the Astros come in on a five-game slide after getting swept in three games over the weekend by the Miami Marlins.

Jose Altuve continues to be a bright spot for Houston. He homered among three hits in Sunday's 4-2 loss, extending his hitting streak to nine straight games. He also leads the majors with 18 three-hit games.

The A's are 22-7 versus the Astros over the past two seasons.