- Associated Press - Sunday, September 7, 2014

OAKAND, Calif. (AP) - Houston’s streak of 100-loss seasons is over.

The Astros scored two runs in the ninth without a hit, including Dexter Fowler’s bases-loaded walk for the tiebreaking run, and beat the Oakland Athletics 4-3 on Sunday.

Jose Veras (4-0) pitched 1 2-3 scoreless innings as the Astros (63-80) took the rubber game of the weekend series. The victory means Houston will avoid triple-digit losses for the first time since it went 76-86 in 2010.

“It says we’re going in the right direction,” interim manager Tom Lawless said. “We’re making strides and we want to continue to improve. We want to be the team at the top.”

Astros starter Dallas Keuchel allowed three runs, two earned, and eight hits in 6 2-3 innings. The left-hander is 0-2 with a 3.14 ERA in his last seven starts, keeping him at 10 wins for the year.



“I can be stuck at 10 the rest of the season as long as it means we’re winning.” Keuchel said. “We’re playing relaxed right now and that’s a great thing. This is supposed to be a fun game and for the past two or three years we haven’t made it fun. Guys are more relaxed now and we’re pretty happy.”

Keuchel retired his first nine hitters. He has given up just seven earned runs in 29 innings for a 2.17 ERA against the A’s this year.

Nate Freiman hit a two-run homer in the seventh to give the A’s a 3-2 lead. Oakland went on to load the bases but Veras wiggled out of the jam.

A’s reliever Ryan Cook (1-3) came on to pitch the ninth and lost the strike zone. He walked three of his four batters before Fernando Abad came in and gave up a sacrifice fly to Jake Marisnick.

“That was awesome,” Marisnick said. “Yesterday was a bitter pill to swallow but we came back, forgot about it, and won. We’re trying to prove we’re here to stay.”

Jose Altuve, who went 1 for 4 to extend his hitting streak to 14 games, was walked intentionally. Abad then walked Fowler on a full count to force in the winning run.

“We have been playing well and we’re having a good season,” Altuve said. “We still think we can finish strong.”

Tony Sipp got the first two outs in the bottom half, and Josh Fields struck out Josh Donaldson for his third save.

The Athletics won 4-3 on Saturday when they scored three runs in the ninth inning. Jed Lowrie had a game-ending RBI single.

“I felt like we gave one away yesterday and today we stole one,” Lawless said. “We had some good, quality at bats and made them throw strikes. They struggled with that in the ninth.”

Coco Crisp and Lowrie had three hits apiece for Oakland, and Derek Norris drove in a run. The A’s fell seven games back of the AL West-leading Angels.

Oakland’s Jason Hammel allowed two runs and five hits in 6 2-3 innings. He walked one and struck out seven, five of them on called strikes.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Astros: RHP Matt Albers (right shoulder tendinitis) is on a throwing program though it appears he won’t return this season. … OF George Springer (left quadriceps strain) could rejoin the Astros for their final homestand.

UP NEXT

RHP Brad Peacock (4-8, 5.01 ERA) will start Monday night when the Astros open a series in Seattle against the Mariners.

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