A’s beat Astros, pad AL West lead

The Houston Astros were trying to rally Saturday when Brandon Barnes was thrown out while trying to steal third base in the eighth inning.

And manager Bo Porter said it was his fault.

”We have to be aggressive,” Porter said after Houston’s 2-1 loss to the Oakland Athletics. ”Their pitcher did a tremendous job. They have a shutdown bullpen that has been very successful. We have to pick our spots and take our chances. That time it didn’t work out.”

The sequence began with Barnes driving in Houston’s only run with a fielder’s choice. He then stole second even when Sean Doolittle had him picked off. A pitch later, he tried for third.

”I was going on the first move,” Barnes said. ”Once I saw him I was off. He went with the inside move and once he did that I was out.”

It was exactly the way Porter wants his players to think.

”It was a green light,” Porter said. ”It was on me. Like I told him, if they inside move there he was out. They went with an inside move and he was out.”

Dan Straily pitched seven scoreless innings for Oakland, which won for the seventh time in nine games to remain on top of the AL West. Yoenis Cespedes and Jed Lowrie homered.

The A’s began the day with a half-game lead over Texas in the division.

Straily (9-7) allowed two hits, struck out seven and walked one in his third consecutive victory. The right-hander has a 1.50 ERA over 18 innings during his winning streak.

Dan Otero allowed a run in the eighth, but Doolittle got four outs for his first save in four chances, completing the five-hitter.

”That was awesome,” Doolittle said of Straily. ”He was in control all day long. That was a really big start. It was only a one-run lead but it kind of seemed like the game was in hand with him on the mound.”

Doolittle said he was a little more ramped up for his second career save as well.

”It’s a different beast going out there for the save,” he said. ”That was a rush for sure.”

Astros starter Brett Oberholtzer (4-2) pitched six stellar innings, allowing one run and seven hits.

”I just continued to feed off my last few outings,” Oberholtzer said. ”Pretty much just taking it one pitch at a time has been my success.”

Matt Dominguez hit a leadoff double in the fifth, but Straily struck out Chris Carter and Brett Wallace, and Matt Pagnozzi grounded out to shortstop.

Oberholtzer gave up Cespedes’ 22nd homer leading off the fourth. After Nate Freiman singled, Oberholtzer retired nine of his final 11 hitters.

Lowrie hit a two-out home run in the seventh against Josh Zeid.

NOTES: The Astros will send RHP Paul Clemens (4-4, 5.91 ERA) to the mound on Sunday. Clemens is making his third start after 30 relief appearances. … Astros OF Robbie Grossman (strained oblique) missed his fourth consecutive game and remains day to day. … RHP Edgar Gonzalez (right shoulder strain) was added to the roster at Double-A Corpus Christi and was scheduled to pitch an inning on Saturday. … Houston C Carlos Corporan (concussion) played five innings for the Hooks on Friday night and was in the starting lineup again Saturday. … Carter leads the AL with 189 strikeouts. … The Astros recalled IF Brandon Laird, OF Jim Paredes, RHP David Martinez and RHP Rhiner Cruz from Triple-A Oklahoma City. All will be available on Sunday.