Athletics-Astros Preview

The Oakland Athletics have captured all three games when they have faced Houston Astros starter Brad Peacock this year.

What’s probably of more concern to them in the finale of this three-game series is whether they can contain slugger Chris Carter.

Carter has homered in four of his last five games against Oakland but has little experience versus Drew Pomeranz, who starts for the first time in over two months Wednesday night in Houston.

Peacock is 0-2 with a 7.90 ERA in three starts against Oakland (77-54) this year. Josh Donaldson is 3 for 5 with a homer against him in 2014 while Eric Sogard is 6 for 13 with two triples in his career.

The right-hander is 0-3 with an 8.87 ERA in his last six outings, failing to pitch past the fifth in any of them. Peacock (3-8, 5.30) gave up one run over five innings Friday in a 5-1 victory at Cleveland.

Another short outing by him means that manager Bo Porter will have to turn to a bullpen that owns a major league-worst 4.89 ERA.

That’s in contrast to an Oakland bullpen that entered Tuesday’s play with the fourth-best ERA at 2.80. But it was Bob Melvin’s relievers who faltered as Carter hit a three-run homer off Luke Gregerson in the eighth inning of Houston’s 4-2 win, dropping the A’s one game behind Los Angeles for the AL West lead.

Carter has a major league-best 10 homers since Aug. 7 while adding 24 RBIs in that span. He had a two-run homer in Monday’s 8-2 defeat, and his last four hits in the last five meetings against Oakland have all left the ballpark.

”I tell you what, he’s putting together some kind of season and the home runs are getting bigger and bigger,” Porter said.

Carter struck out the only time in his career he saw Pomeranz (5-4, 2.91), who will pitch for the first time since June 16 after being out due to a broken right hand. Pomeranz was activated July 13 and went 3-1 with a 3.69 ERA in eight rehab starts for Triple-A Sacramento.

The left-hander knows any personal postseason future depends on how well he performs down the stretch.

"I know I’m pitching (Wednesday) and that I want to win, and whatever happens from there is whatever happens," Pomeranz told MLB’s official website. "It’s not worth me thinking about it."

Pomeranz made one relief appearance against the Astros this year, and the only other time he faced them was when he lasted two innings and allowed six runs in an 11-2 loss for Colorado in his third career start Sept. 23, 2011.

Donaldson has been Oakland’s hitting star in this series, going 4 for 7 with three RBIs to break out of a 3-for-27 slump. Coco Crisp is 0 for 8 and Alberto Callaspo is 0 for 9.

Houston (56-77) ended a three-game slide Tuesday by winning for the fifth time in seven home games against Oakland, which has dropped six of seven on the road.