By MICHAEL WAGAMAN Associated Press
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Robbie Grossman singled home the winning run with two outs in the 13th inning to give the Oakland Athletics a 3-2 victory over the Houston Astros on Friday night.
Mark Canha had three hits, including a homer, and Marcus Semien also went deep as Oakland beat the AL West leaders for the second consecutive night to move within a half-game of Tampa Bay for the league’s second wild card.
Houston lost its fourth straight and wasted the latest strong performance by ace Justin Verlander. The 36-year-old right-hander had 11 strikeouts in seven innings to set a franchise record with his sixth game in a row of 10 or more. Randy Johnson and J.R. Richard also did it five straight times.
Michael Brantley had two hits for the Astros, who lead second-place Oakland by 7½ games.
Corban Joseph singled leading off the bottom of the 13th against Cy Sneed (0-1) and was sacrificed to second. Semien struck out, but Grossman grounded a 2-0 pitch up the middle to give the A’s their ninth walk-off win this season. It was Grossman’s first career game-ending hit.
Lou Trivino (4-5) pitched three innings of one-hit ball.
Less than 24 hours after the teams combined for a Coliseum-record 10 home runs on a hot evening, Verlander and Oakland starter Tanner Roark, along with both bullpens, kept things more controlled on a night when the temperature was 13 degrees cooler at first pitch.
Canha hit his 18th homer in the second, and Semien added his 20th on a 2-0 pitch from Verlander in the sixth.
Roark took a shutout into the sixth before Houston scored twice. Carlos Correa had a sacrifice fly and Yuli Gurriel added an RBI single but was thrown out trying to advance to second.
Roark allowed six hits and two runs in six innings.
Jose Altuve went 1 for 6 but the Astros second baseman was particularly unhappy with plate umpire Tripp Gibson after flying out in the 10th. Altuve believed he had drawn a walk earlier in the at-bat on a low pitch and took several steps toward first base before being called back. After flying out, Altuve turned and appeared to say something to Gibson before heading to the dugout.
Verlander has allowed a career-high 31 home runs this season, tied with two others for most in the majors.
ALL BY MYSELF
A few hours before the first pitch, a lone fan walked to the top of Mount Davis and sat by himself high in the stands for several minutes before security noticed and escorted him out. An A’s spokesman said that area of the stadium is closed off to fans, although the team has opened it in the past.
Oakland catcher Dustin Garneau was designated for assignment. Former A’s backup catcher Beau Taylor was claimed off waivers by Toronto.
Astros: Gerrit Cole (right hamstring) is not expected to miss his turn in the rotation and could pitch in the upcoming Detroit series. Cole threw without pain and will next throw a bullpen before a final decision is made. The right-hander was scratched before taking the mound in his previous scheduled start Tuesday at Chicago after feeling discomfort in his leg warming up. . RHP Brad Peacock (shoulder discomfort) had one strikeout and two walks in one scoreless inning while continuing his rehab assignment with Triple-A Round Rock. Peacock has been on the injured list since June 28.
Athletics: Josh Phegley (bone bruise) was reinstated from the injured list.
Oakland righty Chris Bassitt (8-5, 3.56 ERA) has won three of four decisions since the All-Star break heading into Saturday afternoon’s game against Houston. Bassitt’s 2.00 ERA over that time is second in the American League. The Astros plan to call up rookie right-hander Rogelio Armenteros (1-0, 1.93) to start. Armenteros has been in the minors since July 22 because Houston had no need for a fifth starter.