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MLB: Astros stay hot, unseat A’s atop AL West

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Martin Maldonado contributed an RBI double and a two-run home run in consecutive innings to propel the Houston Astros into first place in the American League West with an 8-4 victory over the host Oakland Athletics on Thursday afternoon.

Alex Bregman had three hits and drove in two runs while Jose Altuve scored three times for Houston, which lost the series opener but bounced back for a pair of wins. The Astros leave town with a half-game lead over the A’s atop the West.

Mark Canha, Tony Kemp and Seth Brown hit solo homers for the A’s, who had been in first place since April 20.

After Canha gave the A’s an early lead with his eighth homer of the season, the Astros grabbed the advantage for good in the third when Myles Straw singled, Maldonado doubled him home, Altuve walked, and Michael Brantley and Bregman lashed consecutive RBI singles.

Kemp got the A’s back within 3-2 with his first homer in the bottom of the inning, but Maldonado created an even bigger cushion with his third home run in the fourth, which came two batters after Kyle Tucker had doubled.

Oakland got as close at 5-3 in the sixth on an RBI single by Jed Lowrie, but once again the Astros countered immediately, this time on a run-scoring double by Bregman in the top of the seventh.

Luis Garcia (2-3) worked around the Canha and Kemp homers to complete five innings during which he limited the A’s to two runs and three hits. He walked two and struck out seven.

Up 6-3, Astros closer Ryan Pressly was called upon with two outs in the eighth inning and escaped an inherited bases-loaded jam by getting Kemp to ground out to second.

Houston broke the game open with a two-run ninth that featured Altuve’s third run scored, Bregman’s third hit and an RBI single by Yuli Gurriel.

Brown completed the scoring with a two-out homer, his sixth of the season, in the last of the ninth.

Oakland left-hander Cole Irvin (3-5) took the loss, charged with five runs on eight hits in his five innings. He walked two and struck out one.

Carlos Correa joined Maldonado and Altuve in the two-hit column for the Astros, who won for the eighth time in their last nine games.

Canha and Kemp had two hits each for Oakland, which was out-hit 14-8.

–Field Level Media

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