Athletics halt losing streak, walk off in the ninth against the Astros

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Life has been tough for the Athletics in the second half, having lost seven of their last eight and 17 of 24 entering today’s game against the Astros. Up as many as six games in first place in the AL West, they sat six games back of the Angels going into Saturday. The flashy trades for Jeff Samardzija and Jon Lester haven’t paid dividends in the way GM Billy Beane anticipated.

Perhaps Saturday’s win, in which they erased a two-run deficit to walk off winners in the bottom of the ninth inning, is what they need to turn their season around. Starter Scott Kazmir no-hit the Astros through the first five innings, but faltered in the sixth, allowing a two-run single to Jose Altuve. The Astros tacked on another run in the seventh to make it 3-1.

Starter Scott Feldman took the hill in the bottom of the ninth to attempt a complete game win and send the A’s to yet another loss, but Josh Donaldson led off with a single. After Adam Dunn lined out, Derek Norris added a single of his own, sending Donaldson to third base. Closer Chad Qualls entered to attempt to put out the fire, but Josh Reddick belted a double to center field to tie the game at 3-3. Shortly thereafter, Jed Lowrie slapped a single into left field and a scampering Reddick narrowly beat a weak throw home by Alex Pressly, scoring the winning run.

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If the A’s are able to stop the bleeding from here on out, you can bet your bottom dollar many will point to Saturday’s come-from-behind victory as a turning point.