Jed Lowrie's interesting weekend against the Astros

Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

A day after Astros manager Bo Porter blew his stack over Jed Lowrie's arguably ill-timed bunt, the A's shortstop was integral to a winning ninth-inning rally.

If Houston Astros manager Bo Porter was mad at Athletics shortstop Jed Lowrie for his actions Friday night, he must be apoplectic after what Lowrie did the very next day.

Less than 24 hours after Lowrie so egregiously broke one of baseball's unwritten rules -- in particular, the "not running up the score" one -- that he pushed Porter to viciously attack a jug of Gatorade, the former Red Sox playoff hero helped start a rally in the ninth to snatch victory from the comically weak jaws of defeat the Astros' bullpen. (Which would be an even better metaphor if the Astros were named after the Jetsons' dog.)

With a home run in the bottom of the final frame, the shortstop cut the Astros' two-run lead in half, opening the door for teammates Josh Donaldson and Yoenis Cespedes to score the game-tying and game-winning runs. And while it's unlikely that Lowrie had anything on his mind other than helping his team win the game, he had to have felt at least a small measure of satisfaction as he watched the ball sail out of the park following Friday night's wild fiasco.

The incident in question, which occurred in the third inning of Friday's game, happened after Lowrie attempted to bunt in the bottom of the first with his team already up seven runs. Following an offensive explosion to begin the contest -- against Jarred Cosart, a pitcher described by the Houston Chronicle's Evan Drellich as the "Nuke LaLoosh of (the Astros') rotation" -- Lowrie found himself up against a serious shift, which the shortstop said after the game was "essentially asking me to bunt." And that's exactly what he did.

Lowrie proudly stood by the play after the game, telling reporters, "I don't understand why you would get so upset about that when it was your choice to play the shift in the first place. We're talking about the first inning of a major league game, these games are important and there's a lot on the line."

And for his troubles, Lowrie found himself drawing the ire of not just his opposing manager, but the pitcher who replaced Cosart, Paul Clemens. Depending on who you ask, Clemens either attempted to throw a pitch at the catcher or at Lowrie's body, with the ball ending up bouncing harmlessly between Lowrie's legs regardless of its intent. But Lowrie's pretty sure its primary target was him, getting another dig in on Houston when he told the press that he felt that Clemens was "obviously trying to hit me, and he wasn't able to."

Hitting opposing batters they don't like isn't the only thing that the Astros have had serious trouble with lately, as the loss on Saturday marked their sixth straight defeat and the 10th of their last 12 contests. While not many had the Astros doing much of anything this season, such a poor start has to put a damper on what looks like the latest in a string of almost unfathomably bad years, which include three straight 100-loss campaigns.

Even with what's been a very patient fanbase and front office, if Porter doesn't start making improvements soon, the water cooler isn't the only thing that will be turned over.

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