The Astros are still on the lookout for their first win against the A's this season, with the search continuing Saturday evening at Minute Maid Park.
Oakland has taken the first two games in this set of four, already having swept the Astros in three games at home last weekend. The A's hold a 41-13 advantage in runs over that span.
Along the way, the two clubs have engaged in some drama. On Friday night, Brandon Moss was twice hit by pitches in the ninth inning before teammate Fernando Abad plunked Jason Castro with a pitch in the bottom of the frame, leading home-plate umpire Jordan Baker to issue a warning to both sides.
Astros manager Bo Porter argued for an ejection because his own pitcher, Paul Clemens, was thrown out of the game Thursday after hitting Jed Lowrie, following two near misses last week. Instead, Porter was ejected.
Both sides believe the issue will be no more come Saturday, when A's righty Dan Straily and lefty Dallas Keuchel square off in the evening affair.
Straily looked sharp in two starts to open the year (2.77 ERA), particularly in a seven-inning, one-run performance in Minnesota, before stumbling with a 9.35 ERA across his past two appearances.
Overall, he is 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA.
In his most recent outing, the right-hander allowed the Rangers three earned runs on six hits over five innings, striking out six and walking two. Six days prior, he gave up seven runs (six earned) to the Angels.
Keuchel lasted at least six innings in each of his past three starts, most recently limiting the Mariners to two runs on six hits in Houston's 7-2 win at Seattle. He recorded a season-high eight strikeouts in the victory.
"He's just battled so hard our last couple times out," Porter said. "Hasn't felt his best and still got us deep in the ballgame. That's a huge bright spot for us. With [Scott] Feldman out, he's been stepping up."
A's: Cespedes day to day with strained hamstring
A's slugger Yoenis Cespedes is expected to miss a few games because of a strained left hamstring sustained in Thursday's game in Houston.
The issue is believed to be minor, and Cespedes even took batting practice on Friday. Still, the A's are likely to rest him for a handful of days.
"I certainly don't think we're looking at a DL thing," manager Bob Melvin said.
Astros: Bullpen gets bad news on Albers, Crain
The Astros on Friday not only placed Matt Albers on the 15-day disabled list because of tendinitis in his right shoulder, but they also revealed that right-hander Jesse Crain, initially expected back in early May, had been set back by bursitis.
Crain, who began the season on the DL while recovering from offseason biceps surgery, has not been throwing off the mound recently because of the new issue.
"We feel like he's made a good comeback from his surgery in the offseason, but the bursitis is affecting him, so we had to get him off the mound," Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said. "He is on some anti-inflammatories. He's responding well to them, and we expect he can be throwing again soon."
Crain was signed to a one-year, $3.25 million contract by the Astros in the winter.
With Albers also sidelined, the Astros recalled right-hander Jose Cisnero from Triple-A Oklahoma City to join the big league bullpen.
• Jed Lowrie is 8-for-17 (.470) with two doubles, one homer and four RBIs in his past four games against the Astros.
• Oakland is 9-2 on the road, the club's best road start since also starting 9-2 in 1990.
• The Astros recorded 11 hits on Friday night, a new season high, and they have now tallied 10-plus hits in two consecutive games and three of their last four games.