Houston slips another game back in the division

Oakland secures series victory with walk-off win over Astros

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With a win in the second game of Tuesday's doubleheader, the Astros were finally able to get their losing streak behind them. That provided them some momentum to take into Wednesday's game, the fourth of this five-game set in Oakland. Here's how the game went:

Final Score: A's 3, Astros 2.

Record: 22-22, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Liam Hendricks (3-0, 1.40 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Ryan Pressly (1-2, 4.11 ERA).

Garcia with a terrific first MLB start

After an impressive major-league debut in relief on September 4th, where he went 4.1 innings while allowing one run to the Angels, Luis Garcia made his first MLB start on Wednesday in a big game against the division-leading A's. He didn't allow a baserunner until the bottom of the third when he allowed a leadoff walk but would erase that by retiring the next three batters.

The only hit he allowed was a two-out single in the fourth inning, but he again would work around it by retiring the next batter to end the inning. His third and final baserunner allowed was a two-out walk in the bottom of the fifth, but he would retire t1he next batter to finish five full innings, reaching his pitch limit for the night, but leaving in position for the win. Garcia's final line: 5.0 IP, 1 H 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 0 HR, 86 P.

Houston gets two big homers

Garcia left in position for the win thanks to George Springer way back in the first inning. He started the game in the first at-bat with a leadoff solo home run to give the Astros an immediate 1-0 lead. Yuli Gurriel doubled that lead in the top of the sixth with a two-out solo shot of his own, making it a 2-0 game.

Walks in the seventh bite the Astros

Andre Scrubb took over for Garcia to start the bottom of the sixth and would face three batters, getting two outs while allowing a double, before Houston would go to their next reliever, Cionel Perez. He would give up a two-out walk before stranding both runners to end the sixth. Perez returned for the seventh, getting an out before issuing another walk, prompting another call to the pen.

Josh James would make his return after spending time on the IL and walked the first batter he faced. That would prove costly, as after getting the second out, the A's would hit a fly ball to left field, just short enough to cause Kyle Tucker to slide and misplay the ball. It would bounce away into the large bullpen area in Oakland Coliseum, tying the game by providing enough time for both walked batters to score.

Oakland walks it off to secure the series win

After the Astros went down scoreless quickly in the top of the inning, Enoli Paredes tried to keep it tied in the bottom of the eighth. He did so, working around a two-out double to send the 2-2 game to the ninth. Houston again was unable to score in the top of the ninth, as they would go to their closer Ryan Pressly to try and force extra innings.

Instead, Pressly would allow the walk-off to Oakland, walking the first batter, hitting another, before a two-out walk-off RBI to secure the series win for Oakland, who has won three games of this five-game set.

Up Next: The fifth and final game of this series will be on Thursday at 2:40 PM Central. Jose Urquidy (0-0, 4.91 ERA) will make his second start in 2020 after returning to the Astros last weekend, while Sean Manaea (3-2, 5.09 ERA) will make another start for the A's.

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The Astros are a force at home. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

PROBABLE STARTERS

Fri, Sept. 18 - ARI: Zac Gallen (1-2, 3.15) vs. HOU: Zack Greinke (3-2, 3.77)

Sat, Sept. 19 - ARI: Luke Weaver (1-7, 6.70) vs. HOU: Cristian Javier (4-2, 3.22)

Sun, Sept. 20 - ARI: Madison Bumgarner (0-4, 8.53) vs. HOU: Jose Urquidy (1-1, 2.70)

STORYLINES

Staying Hot at Home? The Astros are now 18-7 at home in 2020 after taking two of three from the Texas Rangers. Conversely, the Diamondbacks are 8-19 on the road. It's a perfect blend for the Astros to continue their winning ways at home and position themselves in a more ideal spot for the playoffs.

Staff Settling in: Greinke and Urquidy taking the bump in a three game series brings a sense of normalcy to the Astros rotation. The days of Brandon Bielak and Luis Garcia getting starts are in the past. McCullers looked fantastic in his outing against the Rangers, and Justin Verlander is close to returning. That is a staff capable of winning a World Series.

Sinking Ship: The Astros win over the Rangers Thursday night kept the Mariners three games back of the Astros with just 10 games left to play. The Astros also own the tiebreaker over Seattle, meaning Seattle really needs to make up four games to jump the Astros for a playoff spot. Of course, the Astros' series in Seattle starting Monday will play a big role in that.

PREDICTION

The Diamondbacks are reeling, and the Astros are a force at home. Zac Gallen presents some problems for a slumping offense, but the Astros break out against Weaver and Bumgarner to take two of three.

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