Aug 25, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Oakland Athletics third baseman Josh Donaldson (20) drives in two runs with a double during the ninth inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Donaldson, Athletics Pile on Houston Astros Late En Route to Victory

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The last time the Athletics visited the Houston Astros, one big inning saved them from a sweep at the hands of the Houston Astros. In Monday night’s victory, the Athletics took the lead early, and piled on late. Josh Donaldson (3 for 4, 3 RBI) doubled in both the 3rd and 9th innings, initially giving the A’s the lead, then putting the game away. The 3 RBI give Josh Donaldson 87 on the season. Not bad for the league minimum of $500K this season.

A’s starter Jeff Samardzija (W, 4-3, 3.86) recovered from his worst outing as an Athletic (3 2/3 IP, 7 ER, 2 HR allowed) with a very solid 8 innings pitched on Monday, allowing 2 earned and 6 hits while striking out 10. The win is Samardzija’s 4th as a member of the green and gold.

The Astros scored both of their runs on a homer from Chris Carter in the 8th. Of course it was a former A that did the damage. Since the break, Carter has hit .273 with 11 HR and 32 RBI. His OPS is an astounding .922 in that span.

The A’s had held a 3-0 lead before Carter’s dinger.

Entering the 9th, Eric O’Flaherty looked to be the closer option. After a 4 walk appearance from Tony Sipp in the top of the 9th, the game was in hand. All 4 of the walks scored, including an additional run allowed by Jose Veras in relief. Sipp did not record an out in the inning.

Even with the Athletics up 8-2, O’Flaherty came in to pitch the home half of the 9th. A misplayed ball by Josh Reddick along the right field wall allowed Marwin Gonzalez to reach 3rd on what would have otherwise likely been just a single. The following batter, Jon Singleton walked. With runners on the corners, O’Flaherty induced a 5-4-3 game-ending double play off the bat of Matt Dominguez. O’Flaherty threw just 13 pitches to seal the A’s victory.

While Josh Donaldson carried the RBI load, Josh Reddick hit a 2-run jack in the 4th, finishing the night 1 for 2 with 2 walks. The homer is Reddick’s 10th on the season, and brings his RBI total to 39.

The struggling Brandon Moss went 2 for 5 with a run scored and K’d twice.

With the win, the A’s close to within a half-game of the division-leading Angels. The Angels are currently losing 7-0 to the Miami Marlins.

On Tuesday night, the Athletics send the well-rested Jason Hammel (1-5, 6.75) against Houston ace Dallas Keuchel (10-9, 3.12). In their matchup on July 30, Keuchel and the Astros won in convincing fashion, 8-1. Keuchel went all 9 innings, allowing just 4 hits. The one A’s run came on a solo shot from Josh Donaldson. In contrast, Jason Hammel went 4 1/3 innings, allowing 7 hits and 8 earned while walking 3.

Previous Recap: Kazmir Implodes on Mound Versus Angels

A’s Notes: John Jaso was officially put on the 7-day concussion D.L. before Monday’s game. New acquisition Geovany Soto will take his roster spot….According to Jane Lee, Kyle Blanks has been moved to the 60-day D.L. after suffering a setback….Susan Slusser is reporting that Drew Pomeranz will start Wednesday’s finale in Houston, pushing the starters back one day and setting the rotation for the upcoming 4-game Angels series this weekend. The A’s will now send Sonny Gray, Jon Lester, Scott Kazmir and Jeff Samardzija to the bump in Anaheim in what will be their biggest series to date.

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