HOUSTON -- Josh Reddick is enough of a pro that he can hit his personal reset button at a moment's notice.
And that's good, because a moment is all a hitter generally has in the batter's box.
Upset with his approach during an eighth-inning at-bat with the A's down by a run, Reddick channeled Happy Gilmore, then crushed a two-run home run that rallied the A's to a 4-3 victory over the Astros, Oakland's 10th consecutive win over Houston this season.
"I hate to go all Happy Gilmore," Reddick said in reference to the 1996 Adam Sandler movie, "but I had to find my happy place."
Reddick described it as a mind-cleansing where "you have to out-dumb yourself" to get back in the aggressive "I'm better than this" mode that a slumping hitter needs to break through.
Matched up against reliever Wesley Wright, brought in to get the left-hander-vs.-left-hander advantage in a close game, Reddick fouled the first pitch off, took three balls, then fouled off a pitch he felt he should have handled better.
It was time for some mind games. It was just a couple of seconds, but it was time well spent. Reddick hit Wright's next pitch into the right-field seats, and the A's were in front for the first time in one of the club's bleakest defensive games of the season.
The A's committed three errors, misplayed another ball and allowed the Astros to steal three bases. Most of that took place in the first three innings, when Houston jumped to a 3-0 lead on Tommy Milone, starting for the first time since July 10.
Manager Bob Melvin didn't try to mask the stench, telling his troops midgame "this was some kind of ugly for five innings."
The overriding issue for Melvin, however, was the fact that the A's didn't give in to their sloppiness. Grant Green got his first big league RBI with a sacrifice fly in the sixth. Chris Young continued to clobber Minute Maid Park -- he is a career .404 hitter in his hometown park -- with a solo homer in the seventh, and Nate Freiman set up Reddick in the eighth with his fifth hit of the season against a right-handed pitcher.
Milone gave up two hits in the fourth inning, then got Jonathan Villar to ground into an inning-ending double play.
"After that double-play ball in the fourth," Milone said, "that's when things started to turn around."
The second half of the game was much cleaner for the A's. Milone, Ryan Cook, Sean Doolittle and Grant Balfour combined to retire 15 of the final 16 men they faced.
It was something of a watershed game for Milone, pitching after having nearly two weeks off. He retired the final seven batters he faced and credited the time off.
"I felt better at the end," Milone said. "It took me a few innings to get going and find it, but I was able to get it together and finish strong. And that's very comforting."
Equally comforting was the fact that at 58-41, the A's have matched the Oakland record after 99 games, set in 1992 and tied in 2002.
The win went to Cook (3-2), with Balfour getting his 26th consecutive save this season and his 44th in succession dating to last season. For both Cook and Balfour, the appearance was their first since the All-Star break.
Colon (13-3) already has served a 50-game suspension for his involvement with PEDs, and the A's don't see him being penalized twice for the same offense.
When asked if he believes Cespedes will be in the lineup Tuesday, Melvin said. "I don't know yet about tomorrow. We'll have to wait and see."
Anderson, out since the end of April with a sprained right ankle and then a stress fracture in his right foot, talked optimistically about joining the rotation in August, which is what he did last season after elbow surgery.
"It's encouraging knowing I came back last year with some success," he said. "It's been a whirlwind for me, but I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel."
A's (Jarrod Parker 6-6) at Houston (Jarred Cosart 1-0),
5:10 p.m. CSNCA