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A's literally throw game away, lose to Astros 5-4

  • Houston Astros' Jonathan Villar (6) slides safely at home ahead of Oakland Athletics catcher Derek Norris (36) for the winning run in the ninth inning during a baseball game on Tuesday, July 23, 2013, in Houston. (AP Photo/Bob Levey)

HOUSTON — Rookie Jonathan Villar scored the winning run from second base in the ninth inning when catcher Derek Norris had a passed ball and then made a bad throw on the same play to give the Houston Astros a 5-4 win over the A's on Tuesday night.

Houston ended a 10-game losing streak against the A's this season and a six-game skid overall.

The Astros trailed 4-2 entering the ninth before Matt Dominguez hit a two-run homer off closer Grant Balfour (0-2) to tie it.

Justin Maxwell hit an infield single to start the inning and advanced to second when Balfour attempted to make a throw to first from his knees and bounced it in the dirt for an error.

The homer by Dominguez bounced off the wall in left-center as Coco Crisp desperately tried to climb to grab it.

The home run ended a franchise-record streak of 44 saves for Balfour, the sixth longest run in major league history. It was his first blown save since April 29, 2012.

Villar, who was playing his second major league game, doubled with one out, and Jose Altuve walked before the defensive miscue ended it.

Brandon Moss put Oakland on top 4-2 with a two-run homer in the eighth inning.

Josh Fields (1-1) pitched a scoreless ninth for the win.

The game was tied 2-2 when reliever Jose Cisnero plunked Josh Donaldson with two outs. Moss then sent a 95 mph fastball into the second deck in right field for his 17th homer.


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