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Oakland Athletics lose series to Houston Astros on Tyler White’s walk-off homer

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Oakland Athletics’ manager Bob Melvin watches the game in the dugout against the Giants at AT&T Park on Friday, July 13, 2018. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

For the second straight day, the Oakland Athletics and Houston Astros went into the ninth inning tied, and unlike Tuesday night’s affair, it was the host Astros coming out on top, taking the deciding game of the series with a 5-4 victory on Tyler White’s walk-off homer.

Though Statcast data showed that balls like White’s went for hits of any sort just one percent of the time, his fly ball to left cleared the short porch and landed in the Crawford Boxes to end the game, handing the A’s just their second series loss since early June.

Just like the prior two games of the series, Oakland (80-54) had to rely heavily on the bullpen. Trevor Cahill allowed four runs in yet another difficult road start, failing to make it out of the fourth inning. He allowed a pair of runs in the first inning, letting the first three batters reach. A passed ball and a Matt Chapman error added to the hardships, and if not for Yuli Gurriel grounding into an inning-ending double play, the damage could have been far worse.

The A’s went on top with a three-run top of the third against Dallas Keuchel. Marcus Semien, Chapman and Jed Lowrie started the inning with consecutive singles, with Semien scoring on Lowrie’s, and a two-run double by Stephen Piscotty put the visitors on top.

Houston (82-51) would answer with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth, chasing Cahill. A pair of walks and a Max Stassi single loaded the bases with one out, and George Springer singled to tie the game. A bases-loaded walk forced Bob Melvin to pull his starter early yet again. Shawn Kelley got out of the inning by striking out Jose Altuve — one of Altuve’s career-high four strikeouts on the day — and getting Carlos Correa to ground out. The A’s bullpen would hold serve from there until Jeurys Familia gave up the walk-off home run in the ninth.

Ryan Dull allowed just one baserunner over the next two innings, Lou Trivino got Marwin Gonzalez to ground out to escape a bases-loaded jam in the seventh and Fernando Rodney took care of the eighth. Meanwhile, the A’s managed to tie it in the top of the seventh when Brad Peacock hit Piscotty with a pitch, but would fail to add on with the bases loaded. Tony Sipp got Matt Olson to pop out and Joe Smith got Nick Martini to ground out to leave the score tied. The A’s went just 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position.

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