BY DANIEL GLUSKOTER
Chris Bassitt and the A’s overcame a shaky start before settling down to pitch six strong innings Saturday afternoon and help Oakland to their third straight win over the Houston Astros by a score of 8-4 at the Coliseum.
With the win, the A’s have now shaved four games off of Houston’s division lead in the past four days to cut their deficit to 6.5 games while reaching a season-high 19 games over .500. Oakland continues to trail Tampa Bay by 1/2 game in the battle for the AL’s second Wild Card spot.
Bassitt (9-5, 3.61) needed 30 pitches to work out of a bases-loaded first inning jam, and gave up a pair of runs in the third after allowing three consecutive hits to open the inning before settling down to complete six innings on 116 pitches.
It was also a five run third inning that broke open the game for Oakland. Four consecutive singles to start the frame followed by a bases-loaded walk to Matt Chapman tied the game. Another single by Matt Olson put the A’s up 3-2. A two run single by Mark Canha to drive in Chapman and Robbie Grossman extended the lead to 5-2 as Oakland finished the frame with six hits, all singles.
Astros rookie Yordan Alvarez continued his assault on Major League pitching with a pair of solo home runs. In just 51 games, he now has 19 homers to go along with 54 RBIs.
The two teams will be back at it Sunday afternoon at 1:05 PM with the A’s going for an unlikely four-game sweep. Houston’s Zack Greinke (12-4, 2.91) will be on the mound for the Astros trying to become just the third active pitcher to reach 200 career wins while Brett Anderson (10-8, 3.95) is scheduled to take the hill for Oakland.