A’s can’t answer call against Astros' Peacock 

click to enlarge Home plate umpire Mark Ripperger, right, calls out an unhappy A’s catcher Stephen Vogt on strikes in the fifth inning of Thursday’s loss. - KELLEY L COX/USA TODAY SPORTS
  • Kelley L Cox/USA TODAY Sports
  • Home plate umpire Mark Ripperger, right, calls out an unhappy A’s catcher Stephen Vogt on strikes in the fifth inning of Thursday’s loss.

OAKLAND -- Jose Altuve had two hits and drove in a run to back a stellar outing by Brad Peacock, and the Houston Astros beat the A's 3-2 on Thursday night to knock Oakland out of first place in the AL West.

Trevor Crowe singled, doubled and scored to help the Astros to their third win in the last four games against their division rivals. Oakland had won 11 of the first 12 meetings between the teams.

Peacock, part of the offseason trade that sent infielder Jed Lowrie to the A's, had no trouble handling Oakland in the third start against his former club. He carried a shutout into the eighth inning, finishing with nine strikeouts and one walk.

Chris Carter, who was also included in the deal with Oakland, singled to drive in Houston's first run.

The A's went into the night tied with Texas for first place but couldn't get much going against Peacock (4-5).

The Houston right-hander, knocked around for nine earned runs over his previous 10 1-3 innings, gave up five hits and didn't allow a runner past second base until Eric Sogard's leadoff triple in the eighth. Stephen Vogt followed with an RBI double to end the shutout bid and chase Peacock.

Astros manager Bo Porter was ejected later in the inning after arguing a close play at home plate.

With Vogt on third following Lowrie's infield single, pinch-hitter Alberto Callaspo hit a short chopper in front of the mound. Reliever Jorge De Leon fielded the ball and flipped it to catcher Matt Pagnozzi, but Vogt slid in under the tag to pull the A's within 3-2.

A furious Porter sprinted out from the dugout and yelled at home plate umpire Mark Ripperger before getting tossed. Porter continued to scream at Ripperger while walking off the field, pausing near the dugout and angrily pointing his finger at the umpire.

Josh Fields replaced De Leon and recorded the final four outs for his third save.

It was a rough night all around for Oakland's hitters. Yoenis Cespedes struck out twice. A's designated hitter Seth Smith fanned three times.

The Astros gave Peacock plenty of support early.

Trevor Crowe doubled off Oakland starter Sonny Gray on a softly hit ball into the gap in right center in the first inning. After Brett Wallace walked, Carter singled in Crowe to give Houston a 1-0 lead.

The Astros jumped on Gray (2-3) again with three hits in the second. Altuve singled to drive in L.J. Hoes for a 2-0 lead, and Pagnozzi scored when the ball glanced off Oakland left fielder Cespedes's glove and rolled into the A's bullpen.

Gray, who pitched eight scoreless innings against the Astros for his first win in the majors on Aug. 15, retired 19 of the final 20 batters he faced. The rookie struck out seven and walked one.

Notes: The ejection was Porter's second of the season. ... The A's activated C Derek Norris from the DL list before the game. Norris had been sidelined with a broken left big toe since Aug. 20. ... Astros C Jason Castro took batting practice but missed his third straight game because of a cyst on his right knee. ... The Astros claimed OF Eric Thames off waivers from Baltimore and sent him to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

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