OAKLAND — Ramon Laureano hit a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth inning Tuesday night to enable the Athletics to retain their hold on first place with a 6-5 win over the Houston Astros at the Coliseum.
Laureano’s fly ball to center scored Mark Canha, who opened the inning with a walk and advanced to third on a single by Seth Brown, sending the crowd of 4,838 home happy. Bryan Abreau (2-2) was the losing pitcher for Houston.
The Athletics, 26-17, are 1 1/2 games up on Houston, which was hoping to move in to first place. Yusmeiro Petit (5-0) pitched a scoreless top of the ninth and was the winning pitcher.
Laureano hit a pair of home runs for the Athletics, his ninth and 10th of the season, while Matt Olson hit his 10th in the sixth inning. Kyle Tucker hit his 10th home run for Houston.
Starting pitcher Sean Manaea, who was at his best during his last two innings of work, ended up with a no decision after giving up 10 hits and three earned runs in six innings. He walked no one and struck out three while throwing 91 pitches, 61 of them strikes.
The A’s tied it in the eighth when Matt Chapman’s double to left center scored Larueano, who had opened the inning with a walk.
The A’s scored their first run without help from a home run in the seventh, drawing within a run on Canha’s sacrifice fly with the bases loaded. The A’s, however, were denied with runners at second and third when Seth Brown flied to right for the third out.
Unscored on in his previous four apperances, the Astros reached Burch Smith (0-1) for a run-scoring double by Michael Bradley and a sacrifce fly by Yuli Gurriel for a 5-3 lead in the seventh.
Olson got in to the act in the sixth after Javier had struck out the first two batters, tying in to a 2-1 pitch and driving it deep over the right field fence to tie the score 3-3.
Laureano’s second home run came in the fourth inning on 1-1 Javier slider that also went down the line to left field. Matt Chapman later struck with a one-out double but was stranded at second base.
🗣️ “𝙃𝙀’𝙎 𝘿𝙊𝙉𝙀 𝙄𝙏 𝘼𝙂𝘼𝙄𝙉!” pic.twitter.com/Su1PKZWniL
— Oakland A’s (@Athletics) May 19, 2021
In the fifth, Houston extended its lead to 3-1 against Manaea when Tucker picked on an 0-1 pitch and drove it high and far over the fence in right field.
Laureano’s first pitch home run to left field in the bottom of the first inning cut Houston’s lead in half at 2-1.
Manaea looked on point in retiring the first two hitters before the Astros struck in short order. Alex Bregman singled, Gurriel doubled to left center to put runners at second and third, and Yordan Alvarez doubled into the right field corner for a 2-0 Astros lead.