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Astros rally off Balfour for 5-4 win over A's

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 24, 2013 at 12:06 am •  Published: July 24, 2013

HOUSTON (AP) — When the Houston Astros brought up Jonathan Villar from Triple-A they raved about his ability to make things happen when he gets on base.

In just his second major league game, Villar showed exactly what they were talking about.

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 to first base on the same play to give the Astros a 5-4 win over the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday night.

"I'm running hard every time," said Villar, a speedy shortstop who stole 31 bases in Triple-A this season.

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.

"It got a little bit ugly, and I didn't make good pitches," Balfour said. "I should have never put the team in that situation. I'm better than that."

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.

"It was a good run," Balfour said. "I should have had more, but I guess 44 is a remarkable number, so you can't be too upset about it. We're starting all over again. To me, it's just a number, but I'm happy I did it."

Justin Maxwell hit an infield single to start the ninth 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.

Villar, who finished with three hits, doubled with one out, and Jose Altuve walked before the defensive miscue ended it.

"It speaks to the resilience of that group in there," Houston manager Bo Porter said of the rally. "Every once in a while good things like this happen because you put yourself in position when you just keep fighting."

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.

Houston starter Jarred Cosart, yielded seven hits and two runs — one earned — in seven innings in his second major league start after being recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City on Tuesday.

Cosart, Houston's top pitching prospect, grew up in the Houston suburb of League City. He left more than 60 tickets for friends and family to see his first major league game in Houston.

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