Astros beat Athletics in 12th inning to sweep series

A's get four solo home runs but nothing else and fall to 29-30 after fifth straight loss

  • OAKLAND, CA – JUNE 02: Myles Straw #26 of the Houston Astros dives into home plate to score a run ahead of a tag from Nick Hundley #3 of the Oakland Athletics during the fifth inning at the Oakland Coliseum on June 2, 2019 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)

  • Oakland Athletics pitcher Chris Bassitt works against the Houston Astros in the first inning of a baseball game Sunday, June 2, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

  • Oakland Athletics’ Jurickson Profar, left, tags out Houston Astros’ Derek Fisher in a seventh inning attempted steal of second base during a baseball game Sunday, June 2, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

  • OAKLAND, CA – JUNE 02: Yuli Gurriel #10 of the Houston Astros hits an RBI double against the Oakland Athletics during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum on June 2, 2019 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)

  • OAKLAND, CA – JUNE 02: Robbie Grossman #8 of the Oakland Athletics is tagged out while attempting to steal second base by Jack Mayfield #9 of the Houston Astros during the fourth inning at the Oakland Coliseum on June 2, 2019 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)

  • Houston Astros pitcher Gerrit Cole works against the Oakland Athletics in the first inning of a baseball game Sunday, June 2, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

  • OAKLAND, CA – JUNE 02: Jurickson Profar #23 of the Oakland Athletics hits a home run against the Houston Astros during the second inning at the Oakland Coliseum on June 2, 2019 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)

  • Oakland Athletics’ Jurickson Profar celebrates after hitting a home run off Houston Astros’ Gerrit Cole in the second inning of a baseball game Sunday, June 2, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

  • Houston Astros’ Gerrit Cole (45) waits for Oakland Athletics’ Jurickson Profar, left, to run the bases after Profar hit a home run in the second inning of a baseball game Sunday, June 2, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

  • OAKLAND, CA – JUNE 02: Stephen Piscotty #25 of the Oakland Athletics dives for but is unable to field a foul ball hit off the bat of Myles Straw (not pictured) of the Houston Astros during the fifth inning at the Oakland Coliseum on June 2, 2019 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)

  • OAKLAND, CA – JUNE 02: Alex Bregman #2 of the Houston Astros hits an RBI single against the Oakland Athletics during the fifth inning at the Oakland Coliseum on June 2, 2019 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)

  • Home plate umpire Alan Porter, left, watches as Houston Astros’ Myles Straw scores against the Oakland Athletics in the seventh inning of a baseball game Sunday, June 2, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

  • Houston Astros’ Myles Straw, right, and Tony Kemp (18) celebrate after scoring against the Oakland Athletics in the fifth inning of a baseball game Sunday, June 2, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

  • Houston Astros’ Derek Fisher swings for an RBI single in the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics Sunday, June 2, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

  • Houston Astros’ Myles Straw, right, scores behind Oakland Athletics catcher Nick Hundley in the fifth inning of a baseball game Sunday, June 2, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

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OAKLAND — Houston is a problem the Athletics may not be capable of solving.

The Astros got run-scoring singles from Michael Brantley and Yuli Gurriel against Lou Trivino in the top of the 12th inning Sunday to send the Athletics to their fifth straight defeat and sweep a three-game series before a crowd of 23,144 at the Coliseum.

At 29-30, the Athletics are 10 1/2 games behind the two-time defending American League West champions (40-20) and two games behind the second-place Texas Rangers.

And given how good the Astros looked even without injured mainstays Jose Altuve, George Springer and Carlos Correa, the idea of overtaking them at some point is unlikely at best, next-to-impossible at worst. Houston has beaten the Athletics in seven of eight games this season and was 12-7 against Oakland in 2018.

“That’s a really good team no matter who’s out there,” Athletics starting third baseman Matt Chapman said. “And they’re running out great pitchers. They’ve got plenty of arms. We’ve definitely got our work cut out for us. They’ve had our number obviously the last couple of years. It’s their division until somebody knocks them off their reign.”

Chapman tied the game 4-4 with a home run leading off the eighth inning, his 16th of the season. The Athletics’ other runs also came on solo homers — Robbie Grossman (his fourth) in the second, Jurickson Profar (his ninth) in the second and Ramon Laureano (his seventh) in the seventh.

Other than that, it was futility at the plate. The last 12 hitters of the game were retired in order, with Josh James (3-0) putting up zeroes in the 11th and 12th innings for the win.

Frustration came to a boil in the 10th inning, when Stephen Piscotty struck out looking for the second straight time and then was quickly ejected by home plate umpire Alan Porter for arguing. Athletics manager Bob Melvin was then tossed while going out to support Piscotty.

Like Marcus Semien, who was ejected Saturday night by Porter (then umpiring at first base), it was Piscotty’s first ejection at any level.

“Most umpires kind of let you vent a little bit,” Piscotty said. “He didn’t. He didn’t (last) night.”

And the fact that Porter ejected two players who had never been tossed before in back to back games?

“That should tell you a lot,” Piscotty said.

Without their injured starters, the Astros scrap for runs and put pressure on the defense. No. 9 batter Myles Straw, the center fielder, went 3-for-4 with three runs scored and has the ability to score easily from second even on a single to left.

“When you lose Altuve, Springer and Correa and then go and somehow put a guy out there that’s the fastest guy in the big leagues? It’s like, `Come on,’ ” Athletics starting pitcher Chris Bassitt said. “Their M.O. is putting pressure on you . . . it’s 24/7 from pitch one to pitch whatever it is. It’s non-stop.”

Bassitt, who gave up three earned runs in six innings, walked the fleet Tony Kemp to lead off the fifth and it ignited a two-run inning. Both Kemp and Straw, at second and third, scored on a ground ball to deep short that Semien threw to first, with Olson unable to cleanly get the scoop. The runners scored easily.

As for Trivino (2-3), who lost the last game of the Angels series and two of the three games against the Astros, Melvin is looking to reduce his workload. Trivino had a crisp 1-2-3 11th inning before running into trouble in the 12th.

“I think for any power pitcher the second inning can be tough,” Melvin said. “We use him a lot. We’ve got to find a way to use him a little bit less.”

The Athletics won the first four games of the homestand, running their win streak to 10 games, before losing the next five.

“It’s been kind of a roller coaster for us,” Melvin said.

Next up is a 10-game road trip beginning Tuesday in Anaheim against the Angels, followed by four games against Texas and three at Tampa Bay.

NOTES

— General manager David Forst declined to comment on whether the Athletics might be interested in available free agents such as starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel or reliever Craig Kimbrel.

“I’m happy with the way the team has played,” Forst said. “We’ve had a rough few days here, but we’re not that far removed from a 10-game winning streak and the starting pitching has done a great job. We’ve had some bad luck later in games. Not going to address anything outside of that right now.”

— Closer Blake Treinen threw two scoreless innings but struggled with his command, as only 18 of his 36 pitches were strikes.

— The Athletics have 28 home runs in the last 12 games but have yet to come up with clutch hits consistently other than those that leave the park.

“Usually when we’re good we draw some walks, make pitchers work, get some guys on base and use our power that way,” Melvin said. “There’s certain times you have to figure out a way to get some key hits with two outs and guys on and we had some opportunities to win that game before it went as long as it did.”

— Laureano extended his career-high hitting streak to 15 games and his hitting .344 (21-for-61) over that span.

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