EditorsNote: fixes Verlander stat to "seven" in seventh graf
Robbie Grossman grounded a two-out single up the middle in the 13th inning Friday night, scoring Corban Joseph from second base with the winning run as the host Oakland Athletics outlasted the Houston Astros for the second straight game, 3-2.
The win allowed the second-place A's (70-52) to pick a game on the first-place Astros (78-45) for a second consecutive night and allowed them to creep within 7 1/2 games in the American League West.
After Oakland used solo home runs by Mark Canha, his 18th, and Marcus Semien, his 20th, off of Astros starter Justin Verlander to account for all their scoring through 12 innings, Oakland resorted to small-ball to record its ninth walk-off win of the season.
Joseph led off the 13th against the seventh Astros pitcher, Cy Sneed (0-1), with an opposite-field single to left. He was then sacrificed to second by Chris Herrmann before scoring an out later on Grossman's game-winner.
Lou Trivino (4-5), who worked three scoreless innings, got credit for the win.
Both starters pitched well enough to win, but neither got a decision.
Verlander improved his run of unbeaten starts to seven with seven strong innings, during which he struck out 11 without issuing walk. He allowed just the two runs on the Canha and Semien solo home runs and limited Oakland to just two other hits.
Thanks to Canha's homer in the fifth, Tanner Roark took a 1-0 lead into the sixth inning before the Astros went ahead on a sacrifice fly by Carlos Correa and a two-out RBI single by Yuli Gurriel.
Roark was done at inning's end, charged with two runs on six hits. He walked three and struck out three.
Semien's homer came in the bottom of the sixth and forged the 2-2 tie.
Canha had three hits and Semien two for the A's, who have won three in a row.
Michael Brantley and Yordan Alvarez collected two hits each for the Astros, who have lost five of six.
--Field Level Media