OAKLAND - OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Athletics manager Bob Melvin and general manager Billy Beane want to get a good look at some of the team's young pitchers over the final two months of the season.
Rookie starter Aaron Brooks, who joined the club just before the trade deadline, is certainly doing his part to stay in Oakland's rotation.
Brooks gave up four hits and had a career-high seven strikeouts in seven innings Thursday night. He left with a one-run lead, but the A's bullpen allowed four runs during a 5-4 loss to the Houston Astros in 10 innings.
"He pitched great," Melvin said. "That's all you can ask at that point. It would have been nice to reward him. It's tough. We've lost many games like this. It comes down to a bunch of little things."
Such as holding a lead.
Athletics starters went into the game with the lowest ERA in the majors, and Brooks didn't hurt that with his strong outing. He allowed only two runners over his final five innings and kept the Astros off balance most of the night while effectively mixing his pitches.
Oakland's bullpen wasn't as successful.
Felix Rodriguez let a 2-1 lead slip away in the eighth when he gave up three runs, two coming on Houston rookie Carlos Correa's 14th homer.
After the A's scored two unearned runs off Astros closer Luke Gregerson in the ninth following a throwing error by third baseman Jed Lowrie, Houston regained the lead on Lowrie's two-out RBI double off Edward Mujica in the 10th.
"I felt like I put us in that situation in the ninth," said Lowrie, the former Oakland shortstop. "Just grateful for the opportunity to come up there in the 10th and come through."
Jose Altuve led off the inning with his third hit. He stole second on a pitchout and was sacrificed to third by Carlos Gomez. Mujica (2-4) retired Correa on a popup before Lowrie doubled to left field.
"It's a great way to come back and stay in the moment and contribute against your former team," Houston manager A.J. Hinch said. "That's obviously a big boost for this team."
Gregerson (5-1) was credited with the win after his fourth blown save in 26 chances. Will Harris got three outs for his first major league save, helped by a fine play from Altuve at second base.
It was the fourth time this season Houston won when trailing going into the eighth.
Stephen Vogt and Brett Lawrie homered for Oakland.
It was Correa's second home run in four days and sixth in the last 10 games. The 20-year-old rookie is the youngest position player in the majors and the only shortstop in the last century to hit 14 home runs in his first 51 games.
After Correa's drive gave Houston a 3-2 lead, Lowrie walked and scored when Colby Rasmus singled softy to left-center and the ball got past Billy Burns for an error.
Gregerson, who pitched for Oakland in 2014, couldn't make it hold up.
He issued a leadoff walk before Lowrie's throwing error put runners at the corners with none out. Ike Davis hit an RBI single, and Burns drove in the tying run when he barely beat out a potential double-play grounder.
Vogt homered off Houston starter Scott Feldman in the second. Feldman gave up two runs and five hits in six innings.
Lawrie homered leading off the fifth.
Astros: OF Preston Tucker did not start for the second straight game due to a bruised right arm. He entered on defense in the late innings.
Athletics: Former closer Sean Doolittle (left shoulder strain) will begin a rehab assignment with Class A Stockton on Friday. ... LF Coco Crisp (neck) and RF Josh Reddick (back) returned to the starting lineup.
Astros: LHP Dallas Keuchel (13-5) seeks his AL-leading 14th win Friday when he faces the A's for the third time this season. In his previous two starts against Oakland this year, Keuchel has allowed only one unearned run in 16 innings.
Athletics: RHP Sonny Gray (11-4) has a 1.17 ERA over his past three starts but just one win and two no-decisions to show for it.