OAKLAND — Dan Straily was so good Saturday he rode a stationary bike after his sparkling outing. He needed more work.
Straily pitched seven scoreless innings to lead the Oakland Athletics to a 2-1 victory over the Houston Astros.
Yoenis Cespedes and Jed Lowrie homered as the A’s won for the seventh time in nine games to remain on top of the AL West. They began the day with a half-game lead over Texas.
“I guess it’s a good thing when you have to ride the bike after the game,” Straily said. “I had good fastball command and it helped set up my other pitches.”
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 Sean 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.”
Brandon Barnes had a run-scoring fielder’s choice for Houston’s only run. The major league-worst Astros have dropped nine of 12.
Houston starter Brett Oberholtzer (4-2) pitched six stellar innings, allowing one run and seven hits.
Straily retired his last nine hitters and 12 of his final 13 batters. He allowed one runner to reach third and he was stranded when Jonathan Villar was thrown out at second by Cespedes trying to stretch his single.
“With them being an aggressive team, which you can see all over the field, sometimes it can help if I can match that aggressiveness,” Straily said.
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.
“He pitched very well,” Astros manager Bo Porter said. “He left the one pitch up to Cespedes and Cespedes put a charge into it but overall he did a tremendous job of battling and kept us right there.”
Lowrie connected with two out in the seventh against Josh Zeid.
Wallace doubled with one out in the eighth and eventually scored on Barnes’ slow grounder to the pitcher. Barnes stole second and then tried to take third, but Doolittle stepped off the mound and easily threw him out.
“I couldn’t believe he tried to go again,” A’s catcher Kurt Suzuki said. “It was a tie game and he’s a fast guy. We did the inside move and he was running again. Good for us.”