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Oakland at Houston

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Oakland (77-54)100100000251
Houston (56-77) «00010003x442

Carter's HR in 8th leads Astros over A's 4-2

By KRISTIE RIEKEN
AP Sports Writer
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HOUSTON (AP) Chris Carter has hit his fair share of no-doubt home runs this season and has never taken more than a second to watch as one began to sail out of the park.

That changed on Tuesday night when Houston's slugger hit his 32nd homer, a towering three-run drive in the eighth inning that lifted the Astros to a 4-2 win over the Oakland Athletics. He stood at the plate gazing skyward, still clutching the bat with his left hand until it was clear that the ball was destined for the train tracks atop the wall in left field.

''It was just pure excitement right there,'' he said with a smile.

Though reticent to admit it, Carter takes a bit more pleasure in coming up big in games against his former team, which traded him away before last season. He's done it a lot this season, homering four times in his last five games against the Athletics.

Oakland starter Jason Hammel had retired 10 straight batters when he was replaced by Luke Gregerson (3-3) for the eighth inning. Robbie Grossman reached on an error by first baseman Stephen Vogt with one out and Gregerson hit Jose Altuve with a pitch.

Carter then connected on a 90 mph fastball to put the Astros on top.

''He left one up for me,'' Carter said. ''I was just trying to hit one in the gap there and I got it in the air.''

Gregerson lamented the pitch to Carter.

''I was trying to go sinker, down and away,'' he said. ''It started away, but it just ran all the way across the plate, down and in.''

Josh Fields (4-6) pitched a scoreless eighth for the win and Chad Qualls did the same in the ninth for his 15th save.

The A's began the day tied with the Angels for the AL West lead.

Carter homered for the second straight game, and leads the majors with 19 since the start of July. Before the game, he received a plaque honoring him as the American League player of the week. His home runs are the most since Lance Berkman and Carlos Lee hit 34 and 32 respectively in 2007.

''I tell you what, he's putting together some kind of season and the home runs are getting bigger and bigger,'' Houston manager Bo Porter said.

Carter, who struggled early in the season before heating up, seemed puzzled when asked after the game if this is the best stretch of his career.

''Is that a real question,'' he asked.

Told it was, he continued.

''No. I don't think there's been a time like that in the majors,'' he said. ''Maybe in the minors but not here.''

Dexter Fowler hit a solo homer for Houston to cut the lead to one in the fourth inning.

Carter's shot ruined Hammel's best start since joining the Athletics in a trade from the Cubs. He allowed three hits and one run while working on extra rest - the A's skipped his last turn because they had two off-days last week.

Dallas Keuchel allowed five hits and two runs in seven innings to remain winless since July 30, a span of five starts. Carter's home run let him off the hook for the loss and he enjoyed watching Carter admire his shot.

''I was joking with him. I said: `Dang, you really watched that one,''' Keuchel said. ''It kind of reminded me of Manny Ramirez with the Red Sox back in the day.''

TRAINER'S ROOM

Athletics: Manager Bob Melvin said SS Jed Lowrie (broken right index finger) and INF Nick Punto (hamstring) are both getting better and could be ready for rehabilitation assignments in the next few days. Lowrie was scheduled to play catch on Tuesday and Melvin said they'll see how ''fast they can move with him'' depending on how that goes. Melvin said Punto isn't able to run at full speed yet, but has been doing everything else.

UP NEXT

Oakland left-hander Drew Pomeranz will be recalled from Triple-A Sacramento to make his first major league start since June 16. He has struggled in his career against the Astros, going 0-1 with a 13.50 ERA in two appearances against Houston. Brad Peacock will start Wednesday against the A's, making his fourth start since being recalled from Triple-A on Aug. 6.

 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
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Players of the Game
Houston

C. Carter
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 3
Oakland

J. Gomes
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
 
Oakland Athletics
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLG
Coco Crisp, CF4000110.251.346.391
Craig Gentry, RF-LF3100000.261.323.295
Josh Donaldson, 3B3010102.252.340.461
Derek Norris, DH4000012.279.370.440
Jonny Gomes, LF3121002.237.333.343
   a-Josh Reddick, PH-RF1000000.255.313.436
Nate Freiman, 1B3011012.241.293.556
   b-Stephen Vogt, PH-1B1000000.318.346.505
Alberto Callaspo, 2B4000001.240.304.311
   Eric Sogard, 2B0000000.218.305.276
Geovany Soto, C2010110.250.268.375
   c-Sam Fuld, PH1000000.255.339.347
Andy Parrino, SS4000003.167.244.333
Jason Hammel, P0000000.135.158.135
   Luke Gregerson, P0000000.000.000.000
Totals3325234    
a-grounded out for Gomes in the 8th
b-flied out for Freiman in the 8th
c-grounded out for Soto in the 9th
Batting
2B - Nate Freiman (5, Keuchel)
SH - Craig Gentry (2)
RBI - Jonny Gomes (36), Nate Freiman (12)
2-OUT RBI - Jonny Gomes (15)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
E - Stephen Vogt (1, Missed catch of throw)
Oakland Athletics
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Jason Hammel 7311161 3.72
Luke Gregerson (L,3-3; BS,7) 1132001 2.44
HBP - Petit (by Jason Hammel), Altuve (by Luke Gregerson)
Pitches-Strikes - Jason Hammel 93-60, Luke Gregerson 11-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jason Hammel 6-9, Luke Gregerson 3-1
Batters Faced - Jason Hammel 26, Luke Gregerson 6
Houston Astros
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLG
Robbie Grossman, LF4100001.211.326.322
Jose Altuve, 2B3110000.333.371.437
Chris Carter, DH4113022.227.297.513
Dexter Fowler, CF4111000.272.376.409
Jason Castro, C4000000.224.293.367
Marwin Gonzalez, SS3010000.266.314.389
Jon Singleton, 1B2000121.186.296.372
Jake Marisnick, RF3000021.237.263.282
Gregorio Petit, 3B1000000.286.318.452
   a-Marc Krauss, PH1000000.202.281.341
   Matt Dominguez, 3B0000000.223.262.344
Dallas Keuchel, P0000000.000.250.000
   Josh Fields, P0000000.000.000.000
   Chad Qualls, P0000000.000.000.000
Totals2944416    
a-grounded out for Petit in the 8th
Batting
2B - Jose Altuve (34, Hammel)
HR - Chris Carter (32, Gregerson), Dexter Fowler (8, Hammel)
RBI - Chris Carter 3 (77), Dexter Fowler (28)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
E - Dallas Keuchel (2, Misplayed grounder), Jon Singleton (10, Missed catch of throw)
Houston Astros
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Dallas Keuchel 7521330 3.05
Josh Fields (W,4-6) 1000000 4.83
Chad Qualls (S,15) 1000010 3.00
Pitches-Strikes - Dallas Keuchel 118-72, Josh Fields 18-12, Chad Qualls 14-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Dallas Keuchel 17-3, Josh Fields 1-2, Chad Qualls 1-1
Batters Faced - Dallas Keuchel 31, Josh Fields 3, Chad Qualls 3
Game Information
Attendance - 17345
Game Time - 2:36
Temperature - 73
Umpires - Home - Mike Estabrook, First Base - Paul Emmel, Second Base - Toby Basner, Third Base - Mike DiMuro