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Carter hits 36th HR, Astros beat slumping A's 4-3

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Chris Carter enjoys playing in Oakland. After all, he's had a lot of success in the city where he began his major league career.

Carter hit his 36th homer and drove in three runs against his former team to help the Houston Astros beat the slumping Athletics 4-3 on Friday night.

"It's nice to beat them, mainly because it's good for our team," Carter said. "It's always exciting to play here. This is where I played my first game."

Carter added an RBI single, Jon Singleton also homered and Jose Altuve had two hits for Houston, unbeaten in three games since firing manager Bo Porter on Monday. It was the Astros' fifth straight win overall, two shy of their season high.

"I may get a heart attack soon, or lose my hair," interim Houston manager Tom Lawless said. "But it is fun. It's really fun. These kids have been great."

The Astros have already been eliminated from the AL West race, but that won't stop them from playing a part in the hunt for the playoffs. They beat the Los Angeles Angels two straight before arriving in Oakland.

The loss dropped Oakland six games behind the first-place Angels. Owners of the best record in the majors on Aug. 9, the A's have gone 7-17 since.

The Astros have won seven of nine since a three-game skid Aug. 23-25.

Brett Oberholtzer (5-10) gave up seven hits but managed to strand eight runners and pitch his way out of a bases-loaded, none-out jam in the fourth.

"That was the point in the game where it would make or break us," Oberholtzer said. "That was huge."

Craig Gentry hit into a forceout before Josh Donaldson grounded into a 5-2-3 double play.

"It was a 1-0 curve to Donaldson," Oberholtzer said. "At that point I needed to stay focused on one pitch at a time."

Oberholtzer allowed three runs in 6 1/3 innings to end his two-game losing streak. The left-hander struck out one and walked two.

Jose Veras retired two batters and Tony Sipp pitched two scoreless innings for his third save.

Carter has routinely beaten up on A's pitching since being dealt to the Astros as part of a multiplayer trade in 2013.

His home run was his seventh against Oakland this year and eighth overall. His 20 RBIs against the A's are his most against any club this season.

"I'm just trying to hit the ball hard," Carter said. "I'm taking the same approach every time."

VISIONARY MAN

Oberholtzer said he had a premonition about Carter's home run, which left the slugger one behind AL leader Nelson Cruz.

"I absolutely visualized seeing him hit that home run on that pitch," Oberholtzer said. "I was the first one up when he hit it."

Lawless suggested that Altuve had a hand in Carter's drive.

"It helps having the little guy on first who doesn't try to steal early in the count," Lawless said. "That means Carter gets more fastballs."

TRAINER'S ROOM

Astros: Lawless said the team hopes to get OF George Springer back for the final six games of the season. Springer has missed 43 games due to a left quadriceps strain.

UP NEXT

Astros RHP Scott Feldman (8-10) is coming off his second career shutout, a three-hitter against Texas. He has beaten Oakland only once in five career starts.

Athletics LHP Scott Kazmir (14-7) had a 7.80 ERA over his six starts in August.