Strong start by Montas leads Athletics over Astros 2-1

HOUSTON — Jed Lowrie and Matt Olson drove in a run each to back a strong start by Frankie Montas and give the Oakland Athletics a 2-1 win over the Houston Astros on Thursday.

The victory stopped a three-game skid for Oakland and ended a six-game winning streak for the Astros, who lead the AL West.

Lance McCullers Jr. (6-2) lost for the first time in 10 starts since April 14.

Montas (8-7) fanned 10 while allowing five hits and a run over 6 2/3 innings for the win. Jake Diekman gave up one hit in a scoreless ninth for his seventh save in 11 chances.

The Athletics jumped on McCullers early. Elvis Andrus doubled with one out in the first and advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on Olson’s ground-rule double.

Lowrie singled on a grounder to center field to score Olson and make it 2-0.

The Astros had trouble getting much going against Montas for most of the day. They managed just three singles through the first six innings, two by Yuli Gurriel and one by Chas McCormick.

Montas had retired seven in a row when Kyle Tucker doubled to right field with two outs in the seventh.

He reached third on a wild pitch. McCormick then doubled on a grounder that rolled down the left-field line just out of reach of a diving Matt Chapman to send Tucker home, chasing Montas.

Yusmeiro Petit retired Abraham Toro to preserve the lead.

Lou Trivino walked pinch-hitter Jason Castro to start Houston’s eighth but retired José Altuve, Michael Brantley and Carlos Correa to end the inning.

McCullers had been 5-0 in his previous nine starts, matching his most consecutive wins. He permitted two runs and seven hits while striking out eight in seven innings.


Athletics: Utility man Chad Pinder was placed on the injured list with a strained right hamstring after injuring it running to first base in the ninth inning on Wednesday night. … The Athletics selected the contract of INF Jacob Wilson from Triple-A Las Vegas to take his roster spot.

Astros: LHP Brooks Raley was placed on the injured list Thursday due to health and safety protocols. … RHP Ralph Garza Jr. was recalled from Triple-A Sugar Land to take his spot.


Athletics: Oakland’ LHP Cole Irvin (6-7, 3.56 ERA) is scheduled to start the first of three games at Texas on Friday night against RHP Jordan Lyles (4-5, 4.98).

Astros: RHP Jake Odorizzi (3-3, 3.70) will start for Houston on Friday night in the opener of a three-game series against the Yankees, who may start RHP Nelson Cortes Jr.

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