OAKLAND -- The only hit with runners in scoring position in Monday's game kept the Astros from falling a game back in the American League Wild Card race.
Marwin Gonzalez came to bat with the bases loaded in the ninth inning of a tied game and ripped the first pitch he saw from A's reliever Ryan Madson up the middle to score a pair of runs and send the Astros to a clutch, 4-2 win at Oakland Coliseum.
The Astros are three games behind the Blue Jays and Orioles for an AL Wild Card spot, but pulled even with the Mariners in the standings.
"For the team, it's great," Gonzalez said. "Everybody is doing their part. We're fighting until the end. Nobody's quitting. The pitchers are making good pitches, and the defense is there, too. We have to fight until the end."
The Astros had managed only two baserunners through seven innings, including Evan Gattis' career-high 28th homer, and rallied in the eighth, down 2-1. Teoscar Hernandez singled and scored from first on a pinch-hit double by Tyler White to tie the game.
"There's so many critical at-bats that we won," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said.
Jose Altuve began the ninth inning with a single to right that was his 199th hit of the season. Altuve was trying to steal second when Carlos Correa shot an outside pitch right to where second baseman Joey Wendle was standing before taking off to cover the base for a single to that put runners at first and third.
"With two strikes, he's going to get some secondary pitches, he's going to focus on trying to put Correa away so we felt we had a chance to run the bases there," Hinch said. "Hitting with two strikes, he did a good job staying behind the ball and hitting the ball the other way on a well-executed pitch, so it obviously worked out in our favor."
The A's walked Gattis to load the bases with no outs for Gonzalez, who jumped on the first pitch from Madson and sent it past a drawn-in infield for the game-winner.
"He didn't get too big," Hinch said of Gonzalez. "Sometimes our guys want to win so badly and want to be the guy, and we can come out of our swing a little bit. We can swing hard and have some emptiness to some of our swings, but not tonight. [He was] working the ball up the middle and taking whatever Madson gave him. The infield's drawn in, which opens up a lot of holes. I was just really proud of the quality of the at-bat."
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.