OAK@HOU: Melvin on Chavez's start, rally in the 9th

HOUSTON -- A's manager Bob Melvin is hopeful that any leftover tension between his club and the Astros remains just that.

The two teams have engaged in a beanball war of sorts in the last week, with Houston apparently throwing at the A's on multiple occasions -- including Brandon Moss twice in one inning Friday -- before Oakland lefty Fernando Abad hit Jason Castro with a pitch in the bottom of the frame.

"It's gone on a little too long for everyone to be comfortable with," said Melvin, "and I wish we'd just move past it."

"It's pretty crappy when they hit our guys," Daric Barton said Friday night. "It's not the first time it's happened. When it happens over and over, it's obviously not unintentional. It is what it is, and it shouldn't go farther than that."

Houston manager Bo Porter, thrown out in the ninth inning Friday after arguing for Abad's ejection, was also asked Saturday about pushing the drama aside.

His response?

"It's baseball," said Porter, who offered the same remark when asked about the dangerous aspect of such affairs.

Questioned further, Porter said: "I worry about my guys every day, but I also have a job to do in protecting our guys and making sure that they know that they're protected."

Cespedes may make return to field soon

OAK@HOU: Cespedes exits the game with injury

HOUSTON -- Yoenis Cespedes could be back in action Sunday.

Oakland's left fielder, who suffered a strained left hamstring Friday in Houston, went through a variety of running drills Saturday afternoon. If it all went well, the team's medical staff could potentially give him the green light.

"When I'm told he's available off the bench," said manager Bob Melvin, "that's a nice little thing to have in your pocket.

"We'll get a read on what his running ability will be, which is obviously important for him getting back in the game."

Cespedes is just 2-for-15 over his last five games ,but has hit the Astros well, batting .333 (25-for-75) against them in his career.

Brandon Moss started in left field in Cespedes' stead for a second straight night, while Craig Gentry played in center, with Coco Crisp getting the start at designated hitter for the third game of a four-game set.

Worth noting

• The A's bullpen entered Saturday having yielded just 12 runs over the last 20 games for a 1.61 ERA. Their 2.25 ERA is the lowest in the American League, and they haven't allowed a run to Houston this season.

• Entering Saturday, Oakland was successful in each of its last 12 stolen-base attempts. The A's were 16-for-17 (94.1 percent), the best rate in the Majors.