A’s beat Astros, improve to AL-best 12-4

OAKLAND, Calif. — Bartolo Colon pitched six crisp innings, Josh Reddick doubled in two runs during a six-run first and the Oakland Athletics beat the Houston Astros 7-5 on Wednesday to complete another three-game sweep.

The Athletics swept a three-game series at Houston during the first week of the season.

Seth Smith had three hits and Jed Lowrie added two for the A’s, who improved to an AL-best 12-4. Oakland outscored Houston 22-10 in the series.

The A’s sent 11 batters to the plate and chased Astros starter Bud Norris in the first inning, then won behind Colon (2-0) and three relievers.

Jose Altuve had three hits and Carlos Pena homered for the second straight day for Houston. Pinch-hitter Rick Ankiel also homered for the Astros.

Colon beat Houston for the second time this season.

Chris Carter reached on an RBI grounder in the first, then was picked off by the 39-year-old Colon to end the inning.

Colon retired 15 of the final 17 batters he faced. He gave up four hits, struck out three and only allowed one runner past first base — Jose Altuve, who singled and scored Houston’s first run.

Colon, who has not walked a batter in 19 innings this season, lowered his ERA to 3.32.

It was also the second time in three games Houston’s starting pitcher failed to get out of the first. Eric Bedard retired just one batter and gave up six runs in Monday’s 11-2 loss to the A’s in the shortest outing of his career.

Norris (2-2) lasted only slightly longer, sticking around to get a second out when leadoff hitter John Jaso grounded out in his second at-bat of the first.

Reddick broke out of 4-for-39 slump with a double to highlight Oakland’s big inning. Chris Young, Eric Sogard, Shane Peterson and Jaso all drove in runs during the outburst.

Jed Lowrie’s RBI groundout in the fourth drove in Peterson and made it 7-1.

Houston scored three runs in the seventh off reliever Chris Resop and had the tying run at the plate with two outs before Ryan Cook got Justin Maxwell to strike out looking.

Ankiel homered leading off the ninth against Oakland closer Grant Balfour to cut the lead to 7-5. After Matt Dominguez singled, Marwin Gonzalez reached on a fielder’s choice before Balfour got Altuve to ground into a game-ending double play for his third save.

Altuve remains one of the few bright spots for the Astros.

The second baseman had his third game this season with at least three hits and batted .385 (15-for-39) during the nine-game road trip.

NOTES: The A’s improved to 11-1 all-time against their new division rivals. … Both of Norris’ losses this season have come against Oakland. … Astros bullpen coach Jeff Murphy sustained injuries to his left leg and knee when a protective screen fell on him before the game. Murphy was throwing batting practice when a heavy gust of wind blew the screen over, pinning his leg underneath. According to a team spokesman, Murphy pulled his left hamstring and bruised the knee. … The A’s gave CF Coco Crisp (groin) the day off. … Oakland LHP Brett Anderson (1-2) pitches Friday’s series opener in Tampa Bay. … RHP Lucas Harrell, winless in three starts this season, pitches for Houston on Friday in Cleveland.

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