Laureano strikes back, 2-out hit in 9th puts A’s past Astros

Ramon Laureano #22 of the Oakland Athletics hits the game-winning hit in the bottom of the ninth inning against the Houston Astros at RingCentral Coliseum on September 09, 2020 in Oakland, California.
Ramon Laureano #22 of the Oakland Athletics hits the game-winning hit in the bottom of the ninth inning against the Houston Astros at RingCentral Coliseum on September 09, 2020 in Oakland, California. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

OAKLAND, Calif. – Ramón Laureano might have celebrated a little harder for this hit.

Suspended last month for charging the Houston dugout and triggering a bench-clearing brawl, he delivered an RBI single with two outs in the ninth inning that lifted the AL West-leading Oakland Athletics over the Astros 3-2 on Wednesday night.

Laureano yelled over and over after yet another walkoff win by the A's. They increased their division lead to 5 1/2 games over second-place Houston.

“It’s extremely important,” Laureano said. “It’s always good to win especially against a team that is behind us in the race.”

Tommy La Stella hit a tying, two-run double in the seventh before Laureano came through against Ryan Pressly (1-2). Pressly allowed Sean Murphy's leadoff walk before hitting Tony Kemp in the foot as he pulled his bat back from a bunt attempt.

“It’s totally debilitating because they live off walks. The last few innings we had walks,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “We’re pitching Murphy like it’s Johnny Bench or something. ... We just gave that game away to them.”

Jesús Luzardo pitched a career-best seven innings for the A’s before Joakim Soria went 1-2-3 in the eighth. Liam Hendriks (3-0) got the win.

Then the A's, quiet all night at the plate, finally delivered a key hit — just like they do.