JP Sears throws 6 strong innings to help Athletics snap skid against Astros with 3-1 win

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — JP Sears allowed one unearned run and two hits in six solid innings, Brent Rooker hit a two-run double in the first and the Oakland Athletics beat the Houston Astros 3-1 on Saturday.

It was the A’s first victory over the Astros this season after dropping the first five games. With a win Sunday, Oakland could earn its second straight series win. The A's had dropped four straight series before taking two of three against Colorado earlier this week.

Sears (4-3) bounced back from a loss in Kansas City in his last start by shutting down the Astros in a 68-pitch performance that included one strikeout and one walk. Mason Miller struck out the side in the ninth for his 10th save, capping three shutout innings by Oakland's bullpen.

Sears retired the first batter of each inning after the first, and his slider and sinker were both working effectively.

“Just a good, efficient day," Sears said.

Sears was the only pitcher to spend the entire season in the rotation last year, and currently is the team's lone healthy regular starter. He felt as though he could have pitched longer Saturday, but understood that manager Mark Kotsay didn't want to push him.

“A big part of the season is just trying to be available as much as I can,” Sears said.

Kotsay said he trusted the bullpen to pick up where Sears left off and that the team will continue to lean on the 28-year-old's durability.

“Through April, we had all five guys in the rotation and in May, we’ve lost four of five,” Kotsay said. “So for JP, testament to his resiliency. He’s coming off a year where he made all 32 (starts), and I know that he’s determined to do that again. That’s his mindset.”

Astros starter Spencer Arrighetti (2-5) settled down after allowing the first three batters to reach. But Rooker’s double down the left-field line scored both Abraham Toro and JJ Bleday to provide enough offense for the A’s.

Arrighetti gave up three runs and five hits in five innings. He struck out seven and walked three.

Houston failed to get much going against the A's pitching, shortstop Jeremy Peña said.

“He was just inducing outs," Peña said of Sears. "We were putting the ball in play, weak contact all over. But that’s what pitchers do.”

Daz Cameron added an RBI single in the sixth after Houston scored an unearned run in the top half of the inning.

The A’s, who are leaving Oakland after this season, announced 10,617 fans in attendance Saturday.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Astros: RHP José Urquidy, who was pulled from his rehab start Friday with Triple-A Sugar Land because of right forearm discomfort, was expected to see a doctor Saturday. Urquidy is on the injured list with inflammation in his pitching shoulder. ... 1B José Abreu, who accepted a minor league assignment after a sluggish start to the season, is expected to play another rehab game with Sugar Land after going 0 for 3 with a walk on Friday. He could join the club as soon as Monday in Seattle.

Athletics: RHP Austin Adams left in the seventh with neck tightness after facing two batters. Kotsay said Adams is considered day-to-day. ... RHP Ross Stripling, who started Friday, was placed on the 15-day injured list with a strained right elbow. ... RHP Brandon Bielak was designated for assignment ... The A’s called up LHP Jack O’Loughlin and RHP Tyler Ferguson from Triple-A Las Vegas.

UP NEXT

RHP Aaron Brooks (0-1, 4.15 ERA) will pitch for the A’s against the Astros’ Ronel Blanco (4-0, 2.09 ERA) to wrap up the series. Blanco is expected to return from a 10-game suspension for having a foreign substance in his glove during a start against the A’s last week in Houston.

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