HOUSTON -- An improbable rally led the Astros to one of their biggest wins of the season.
The Astros got up off the mat and rallied for three runs after two outs in the eighth inning -- keyed by triples from George Springer and Jose Altuve -- to stun the A's, 4-3, and polish off a three-game sweep Wednesday afternoon at Minute Maid Park.
The Astros, who began the day two games behind the Orioles for the second Wild Card spot in the American League, went 5-1 on their homestand and have won 10 of their past 12 games. Their next 13 games are against teams currently in first place.
"We didn't play extraordinarily well today until the very end," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "We had two really big hits with the two triples, and then [Evan] Gattis after the intentional walk. That inning was about the only offense we brought to the table today. It was enough to get the win. Just proud of our guys being able to be resilient and keep coming back to win some games."
Trailing 3-1 in the eighth, Springer's two-out triple off reliever Liam Hendriks gave the Astros life, and he scored when Alex Bregman reached first on a wild-pitch strikeout. Altuve delivered a game-tying triple to right, and Gattis followed an intentional walk to Carlos Correa with a line-drive single to left score Altuve and put the Astros ahead.
"Scoring three runs in the eighth is big for us to keep going with our momentum," Altuve said. "We've been playing really good ball. We've won five out of six and played really good in the past road trip, and we've got to keep going."
It was a tough-luck no-decision for A's left-hander Ross Detwiler, who baffled the Astros by holding them to three hits and one run over seven innings. Astros starter Mike Fiers teetered on the brink of disaster for five innings, but he wound up allowing just three runs (one earned). Jake Smolinski followed a Correa error in the second with a two-run triple, and he later came home on a Bruce Maxwell sac fly to make it 3-0.
"I've never really thrown in that situation," Detwiler said of Hendriks' effort following the wild pitch. "The only thing I can really compare it to is an end-of-inning replay that you think you're out of, and then the umpire holds you on the field and it ends up being reversed. I don't want to speak for Liam and say what happened, but it's just tough when you think you have three outs, and you have to get back out there and fire it back up."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED What a rally: An Astros team that showed little sign of a pulse offensively for much of the day came to life with their stirring rally in the eighth. The triples by Springer and Altuve were as important as Bregman narrowly reaching base on the strikeout, but Gattis' RBI single proved to be the knockout punch.
"You don't have to hit three homers, four homers to win games," Altuve said. "You just have to get on base and score runs, and that's what we did today." More >
Detwiler dominant: Detwiler has been inconsistent during his brief stint with Oakland, pitching eight scoreless innings in his debut before surrendering 14 runs in his next 14 innings, but he looked much more like the former Wednesday. The lefty held the Houston offense at bay for most of the afternoon and retired 10 of the first 12 batters he faced in seven innings of one-run ball, striking out seven.
"It's a shame that we weren't able to pull this one off for him," Hendriks said. "That's the best I've seen him out there today. He was dotting up and he was getting into good counts, and he was throwing good pitches to get guys out." More >
Gonzalez hobbled: Astros first baseman Marwin Gonzalez gingerly walked off the field with right hamstring discomfort after flying out to center field in the fifth inning. Gonzalez doubled in the third inning and slid hard into second base to beat the throw from left field, but it wasn't initially clear how he was injured. More >
Hendriks melts down: Hendriks entered the game in the bottom of the eighth to pitch in relief of Detwiler and seemingly had the Astros on the ropes, forcing out the first two batters he faced, but couldn't contain them for a late rally. With two outs in the inning, Hendriks gave up two triples, a single, an intentional walk and threw a wild pitch on a strikeout. Out of nowhere, the Astros, who looked listless all game, were up 4-3 with a chance to close out the game.
"It's annoying, because if that's stopped or he's thrown out at first, then it's out of the inning, no runs, going into the ninth with a two-run lead," Hendriks said of his wild pitch. "But the rest of the inning kind of happened. That was all on me."
"We had it all the way. We had it all mapped out that way. We were going to get multiple triples and a wild-pitch strikeout -- exactly how we drew it up for the sweep." -- Hinch, on the eighth-inning rally
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Correa set a club record for single-season RBIs by a shortstop with 87, breaking Miguel Tejada's record of 86 set in 2009. Overall, Correa has a team-high 90 RBIs this year.
After being called up to the Majors on Wednesday morning following Coco Crisp's trade to the Indians, second baseman Joey Wendle made his Major League debut for the A's. While Wendle, who went 0-for-4 at the plate, didn't get a hit, he did manage to score a run on Smolinski's triple after his hard line drive to Correa resulted in an error. Wendle reached first again in the eighth after striking out on a wild pitch.
"That was cool," Wendle said of scoring after his first at-bat. "I was glad I hit the ball hard, had a good at-bat, quality at-bat, and scoring a run was awesome. That's the goal. That's more important than getting hits." More >
WHAT'S NEXT Athletics: The A's return to action Friday night at Oakland Coliseum for the first of a three-game series with the Red Sox in a 7:05 p.m. PT start. Right-hander Andrew Triggs (1-1, 4.39 ERA) will be on the mound as Oakland kicks off its nine-game homestand. The A's have the second-worst home record in the AL at 30-36.
Astros:The Astros will take Thursday off before opening a three-game road trip Friday at 7:05 p.m. CT against the Rangers in Arlington. Right-hander Doug Fister (12-9, 3.60 ERA) will get the start. He's gone 4-6 with a 4.09 ERA in 12 starts since June 26, but he held the Rangers to one run in six innings on Aug. 6 in Houston.