Sterling Mart hit a game-ending double with an out at the bottom of the ninth inning, as the Oakland Athletics beat the Houston Astros 2-1 on Saturday.
A’s four games are behind AL Wild Card co-leaders Boston and New York, with Seattle and Toronto on their way.
“There’s an element of frustration,” said Bob Melvin, A’s manager. “You have to win. That’s what’s entering our dugout right now.”
Houston’s magic number remains in Seattle’s three to beat AL West.
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Elvis Andrews started the Oakland ninth with a single to Ryan Presley (5-3). After Josh Harrison swung out, Marte pitched 0-1 in the right-center gap for his 500th career RBI.
“I was just trying to find a good pitch that I could run through the gap,” Marte said through an interpreter. “Ian Gomes helped me, gave me some help, something to look for and it’s okay for us.”
Andrews scored without a through when center fielder Jose Siri returned to infield. This was significant because Andrews scored in the third inning while maintaining an ankle injury to his left foot and helped off the field by stumbling across the home plate.
Melvin said Andrews felt a pop in his ankle and was taken for an X-ray.
“We won a match, it’s good, (but) we can lose one of our toughest,” Melvin said. “We’ve got our fingers crossed that it’s nothing significant.”
Andrew Chaffin retired three batters to win (2-3- 2-3).
Harrison had an RBI single and was singles twice for Andres.
Kyle Tucker returned home for a lone run in Houston. Jose Altuv doubled his hitting streak to 13 games.
“Marte is in pain next to us and for my team, no matter which team he belongs to,” said Dusty Baker, Astros manager. “They did a good job of pitching to us. You don’t like it but sometimes it’s like that. We’re still in a good position. We just have to win a couple here.”
The game was mostly a pitcher’s conflict between Oakland’s Shawn Mania and Frember Valdez.
Mania hit eight while pitching in seven innings of three hit balls. A’s lefty retired 19 of 21 after Altuv’s double approval on his first pitch.
“They’ve only done well in the last two days,” Tucker said. “It’s hard when they live in the corner and don’t throw it on the plate.”
Valdez 6 dropped one run and three hits in 2/3 innings. He walked four and hit three.
Tucker swung out his first two at bat before sending a huge drive from Mania in seventh for the Astros’ second hit.
Oakland tied it to the bottom half of Kendall Graveman with Harrison’s two-out bloop single that fell over the head of shortstop Carlos Correa. Graveman, the former A starter, had just replaced Valdez.
He has been batting 360 (3 for 3) in 300 matches since returning from the injured list on 2 Aug.… 159) when he pulled a one-out walk from Graveman to load bases in eighth place The player had the longest continuity.
Astros: RHP Pedro Boyce (shoulder pain) is continuing his rehabilitation work with Sugar Land in Triple and was scheduled to pitch on Saturday night.
Athletics: Forced from Friday night’s game, Harrison returned to the lineup when he fouled two balls of his lower left foot in the same A-bat.
The next one is coming
Astros RHP Jake Odorigi (-7-, 22.22 ERA) is expected to be active from the 10-day injured list to start the series final on Sunday. Athletics RHP Paul Blackburn (1-3, 5.17) has scored 13 in 6/3 innings in his two careers against Houston.