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 as Oakland beat the Houston Astros for the 10th consecutive time this season, 4-3.
"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.
Facing 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 their 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 against Tommy Milone.
Manager Bob Melvin didn't try to mask the stench, telling his troops mid-game, "This was some kind of ugly for five innings."
The overriding issue for Melvin, however, was the fact 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 stadium – with a solo homer in the seventh, and Nate Freiman preceded Reddick's homer in the eighth with a single.
After allowing two singles in the fourth, Milone got on track, getting 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."
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.
Yoenis Cespedes was out of the A's lineup for the fourth consecutive game because of a sore left wrist, but he took swings off a batting tee and is scheduled to take batting practice today.