- Associated Press - Saturday, September 6, 2014

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Jed Lowrie and Oakland are hoping Saturday’s ninth inning against Houston will carry over to the rest of the season for the Athletics.

Lowrie hit a game-ending RBI single, sending the A’s to a 4-3 victory over the Houston Astros.

“We were looking a spark,” Lowrie said. “I think that’s the type of play that can start something big. We just need to keep that momentum, use that momentum going forward and continue to believe that we can do what we set out to do at the beginning.”

Lowrie, Josh Reddick and Coco Crisp had two hits apiece as Oakland snapped a three-game losing streak. Josh Donaldson started the A’s three-run ninth with a leadoff single, stopping an 0-for-15 slide.

The Athletics were six games back of the AL West-leading Angels coming into the day, but also were on top of the wild-card standings. It marked the ninth victory for Oakland this year in its final at-bat.

“We’ve won many games like that this year,” manager Bob Melvin said. “Hopefully they remember the feeling.”

Reddick hit a two-run double off Chad Qualls (1-5) before Lowrie drove him in with a single to left. Oakland is hitting .571 (16 for 28) against Qualls this year.

“It’s been happening all year, I’m tired of it,” Qualls said. “Four of my five losses are against them. Four of my five blown saves are against them. I’m over it. There’s pretty much nothing to write.”

Luke Gregerson (4-3) pitched a scoreless inning for the win.

Houston wasted a solid start by Scott Feldman, who was charged with three runs, two earned, and seven hits in 8 1-3 innings. The right-hander is 4-2 with a 2.91 ERA in his last eight starts, including two complete games.

The Astros grabbed a 2-1 lead on Jose Altuve’s two-run double in the sixth against Scott Kazmir. Altuve extended his hitting streak to a career-high 13 games and leads major league baseball with a .340 batting average and 197 hits.

The All-Star second baseman has hit safely in 22 straight games against the A’s and in 34 of 37 contests against Oakland in his career.

Kazmir gave up three runs and three hits in 6 1-3 innings. He struck out eight and walked five.

Brandon Moss’ sacrifice fly in the third gave Oakland a 1-0 lead. But Houston increased its advantage to 3-1 on Robbie Grossman’s sacrifice fly in the sixth.


Home run king Barry Bonds watched Astros batting practice from behind the cage as a guest of outfielder Dexter Fowler, and spent most of his time giving tips to Houston first baseman Jon Singleton.


Astros: Manager Tom Lawless said outfielder Alex Presley (right oblique strain) is expected to start Sunday and play five innings, marking his first extended action since returning from the disabled list Tuesday.

Athletics: Closer Sean Doolittle (intercostal strain) played long toss and is scheduled to throw a bullpen on Monday in Chicago. … Catcher Stephen Vogt (sprained left ankle) wore a walking boot in the clubhouse and will be sidelined for “a little while,” according to Melvin. … C John Jaso (concussion) is on track to be activated from the disabled list soon but likely won’t be catching.


Astros: LHP Dallas Keuchel (10-9, 3.03 ERA) has pitched at least seven innings in seven of his past eight starts.

Athletics: RHP Jason Hammel (2-5, 4.98 ERA) is 2-1 with a 2.40 ERA his past five outings after going 0-4 with a 9.53 ERA in his first four starts with the A’s.

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