- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 23, 2014

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - The Oakland Athletics hit balls hard all night that stayed inside the fences, so imagine their surprise when Houston connected when it counted.

L.J. Hoes homered with one out in the top of the 12th, and the Astros beat the A’s 3-2 on Tuesday night for their first win in four tries at the Coliseum this year.

The Astros also earned their first three-game winning streak against the A’s in franchise history.

Oakland has been impressed with the strides made by its AL West opponent.

“They’re a big league club. They’re going to win, they’re going to compete,” catcher John Jaso said. “I was surprised (it went out). I thought it would hit off the wall.”

Hoes connected off Fernando Abad (2-4). The baseball-leading A’s (61-38) missed several chances to move a season-high 25 games over .500.

Earlier in the day, Hoes’ mother, Gale, asked her son to hit a home run for her as she celebrated her birthday.

“It’s a really good feeling considering it was my mom’s birthday, and that was the last thing she told me to do, to get a homer for her,” Hoes said. “To be able to do that for her was a special thing.”

Pinch-hitter Jaso hit a two-out single in the 11th and Jed Lowrie drew a walk from Jose Veras, who was replaced by Darin Downs (2-1).

Jose Altuve hit a one-out single in the 10th and tried to steal second. Initially called safe, A’s manager Bob Melvin challenged that second baseman Nick Punto tagged him in time. The call was overturned in 1 minute, 3 seconds.

That ended a franchise-record 28 straight steals by Altuve without being caught.

Chad Qualls finished for his 11th save in 13 opportunities.

Jed Lowrie tied the game on a sixth-inning sacrifice fly.

Houston’s Chris Carter hit a two-run single in the third against his former team and also had a pair of doubles. The Astros couldn’t capitalize on his two-out double in the eighth off Luke Gregerson.

Scott Kazmir, who had won his previous two starts and was going for victory No. 12 on the year, struck out six in seven innings. He allowed seven hits and two runs in a duel of lefty starters.

Story Continues →