Astros flirt with no-hitter, beat A’s to avoid sweep

Right-hander Hunter Brown and four relievers came within two outs of a combined no-hitter as the host Houston Astros avoided a three-game sweep with a 6-2 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday.

Brown (11-11) walked two and struck out seven before Rafael Montero, Hector Neris and Bryan Abreu each worked a scoreless inning.

Yordan Alvarez socked a three-run homer to ignite a four-run third inning for the Astros (83-64), which completed a six-game homestand with a 3-3 mark.

Ryan Pressly came on for the ninth and got Tony Kemp to ground out to open the inning. But he then walked Zack Gelof before Ryan Noda singled up the middle to break up the no-hit bid.

Seth Brown spoiled the shutout with an RBI single and Shea Langeliers added a sacrifice fly, but Pressly struck out Brent Rooker to end the game as Maintained a one-game lead in the American League West.

With the loss, Oakland (46-100) recorded its 18th 100-loss season in franchise history, the most in major league history.

Alvarez followed one-out walks by Jose Altuve and Jeremy Pena with his 27th homer of the season, a 422-foot blast down the right field line. With one swing, Alvarez eclipsed the Astros’ run total from the opening two games of the series combined.

Alex Bregman added to the ambush of Athletics starter Paul Blackburn (4-5) with his 23rd home run one batter later, driving a 3-2 cutter 358 feet out to left center.

Blackburn continued his struggles against the Astros, allowing four runs on four hits and three walks with two strikeouts in three innings. He is now 0-5 with a 9.74 ERA in eight career appearances (seven starts) against Houston.

Yainer Diaz delivered an RBI double in the fifth inning that plated Michael Brantley, who reached on a two-out single.

Kyle Tucker matched Alvarez for the club lead with his 27th home run with two outs in the seventh. It was the 100th homer of Tucker’s career.

Brown retired the first 11 batters he faced before issuing a two-out walk to Noda in the top of the fourth. He hit Jordan Diaz with a pitch with two outs in the fifth but capped his outing by getting Kevin Smith to fly out to right field.