OAKLAND -- Not even Dallas Keuchel could help the Astros avoid a four-game sweep at the hands of the A's, who tagged Houston's ace for four runs in a 10-2 victory at the Coliseum on Sunday afternoon.
A rebuilding A's club, hoping to disrupt the postseason picture in its final few weeks of play, prevented the Astros from building on their 86-win mark, leaving Houston one game in back of Cleveland -- winners of 18 straight -- for the American League's top record.
"We got beat," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "They did a lot of things right and put up 40-plus runs. [We] came in here and got beat."
"These are guys that care about each other, guys that want to just play baseball and have a good time, guys that won't quit," said A's starter Kendall Graveman. "These are all things that define these young guys. And in a sense, they don't know no better. It's, 'let's go play ball and give it our best effort.'"
Graveman held the Astros to one run on five hits across six strong innings opposite Keuchel, who allowed one run through his first five innings -- Matt Chapman homered to lead off the fifth -- before unraveling in the sixth, yielding three runs and recording just two outs.
"[Keuchel] threw a lot of close pitches that didn't go his way," Hinch said. "He hit a guy and walked a lot of guys that inning, got a little unlucky. Just was a bad inning."
J.D. Davis homered in the seventh for the Astros, who were outscored, 32-7, in the final three games of the series. The A's responded with a home run in the bottom half, from Ryon Healy, and got two more dingers in the eighth from Boog Powell and Matt Olson, all two-run shots.
"I'm not saying it was unexpected, but the fashion we did it in was pretty impressive," A's manager Bob Melvin said.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Losing control: After the Astros tied the game, 1-1, in the sixth on Alex Bregman's RBI infield single, Keuchel returned to the mound at just 66 pitches, eyeing a shut-down inning. But Jed Lowrie greeted him with a single, and Keuchel proceeded to walk three of his next four batters to bring in the go-ahead run. The A's were gifted another run when Keuchel hit his next batter, Mark Canha, and yet another when Marcus Semien drew a two-out walk, forcing Keuchel out of the game trailing, 4-1. The lefty threw 40 pitches in the inning.
"That was their whole game plan," Keuchel said of the walks. "It wasn't like they were hitting me well. That's the most frustrating part, the fact that I got off my game plan and almost stopped attacking and making quality pitches. It's not a good recipe for success."
The decisive blow: The A's kept at it in the seventh inning, getting a two-run homer from Healy against right-hander Francis Martes following a walk to Khris Davis. It was Healy's second hit of the day and his sixth of the series. Oakland has totaled 207 home runs this season, surpassing the 2002 A's (205) for fourth most in A's history.
"That team's really good, and if you don't continue to score runs throughout the course of the game, they're going to find ways to come back just because they're that dangerous," Healy said. "It was great to see that resiliency in us all game."
"It's more of an anomaly because it hasn't happened all year. We've been really good on the mound. Lot of walks, lot of homers in this series, losses, lot of runs and late runs. We've got to get to a different city and an off-day and come out of it better." -- Hinch, on the Astros' bullpen giving up 29 runs in the series
Astros outfielder Jake Marisnick was ejected by home plate umpire Ramon De Jesus at the conclusion of the fifth inning for arguing balls and strikes. Cameron Maybin assumed center field duties in the bottom half of the frame in place of Marisnick, who was rung up by De Jesus in both of his at-bats against Graveman.
WHAT'S NEXT Astros: When the Astros begin a three-game series in Anaheim at 9:05 CT on Tuesday, it will be the second start that Justin Verlander makes for Houston after being acquired in a trade with the Tigers on Aug. 31. Verlander was solid in his Astros debut, allowing one run in six innings on Sept. 5 in Seattle. The right-hander struck out seven to extend his streak of striking out at least six to 10 straight starts.
A's: The A's will spend Monday's off-day in Boston, before beginning a three-game series with the Red Sox at Fenway Park. Left-hander Sean Manaea, who held Boston to two earned runs in five innings at the Coliseum on May 20, will be on the mound in Tuesday's 4:10 p.m. PT opener at Fenway Park.