The Astros still have time to turn the ship around, to bump the A's right back and signal their sturdiness as they attempt to earn their stripes in the American League West.
The turnaround can't start soon enough.
Bud Norris is on the hill for the Astros opposite fellow right-hander Bartolo Colon and the A's in a Wednesday matinee at the Coliseum.
The A's beat their new division foes yet again on Tuesday night, improving to 5-0 against the Astros this season.
In those five games, Oakland has outscored Houston, 38-12. The A's have outscored all other opponents, 51-44.
While the Astros haven't scored much against Oakland, they entered Tuesday's game with 53 runs, 15th in the Majors.
Jason Castro, in his third full season with the Astros at 25 years old, has been hitting third as one of the few veterans on the team.
"It's a crazy thing," said Castro, who went 0-for-4 on Tuesday to lower his season average to .200. "Overall I don't have that much experience, but here, I'm one of the older guys."
Norris, who is from the Bay Area, makes his first career start in Oakland. The 28-year-old right-hander is 2-1 with a 1.96 ERA and 14 strikeouts to six walks in 18 1/3 innings.
Colon has pitched admirably for the A's, though a three-run home run proved costly his last time out, when he struck out five and walked none in seven innings. The homer produced the only runs he allowed as he was left with a no-decision.
A's: Peterson takes over at first base
With Brandon Moss on the paternity list, Shane Peterson will get a chance to play some first base, a position he feels natural at, though he's played mostly outfield the last two years in the Minor Leagues.
Peterson, who hit .408 in 11 Spring Training games, was a second-round Draft pick by the Cardinals in 2008, but has spent the past six seasons in the Minors. In 400 career plate appearances in Triple-A Sacramento, Peterson has hit 13 home runs with a .344 average and .442 on-base percentage.
"I'm trying to go out there and not do too much, not get too excited or too amped up and just keep doing what I've been doing the last couple of weeks," he said.
In his Major League debut Tuesday, Peterson went 0-for-4, but made a diving grab on a Rick Ankiel liner to halt an Astros rally in the third inning.
Moss is expected to be back in action Friday.
Astros: Long relief a good option
If the starting pitcher doesn't have it, the Astros have options.
Brad Peacock lasted just 4 2/3 innings Tuesday but Dallas Keuchel threw three scoreless innings in relief to keep the Astros in the game. Keuchel has pitched at least two innings in all three of his appearances this year.
Paul Clemens, another option for multiple innings, has relieved Erik Bedard in both of his starts this season and thrown 9 1/3 innings.
"We really don't know who will start and who will pitch long relief in the long run," pitching coach Doug Brocail said. "We made the decision to build starting pitching at Triple-A by the piggyback system, where one guy goes five innings and the other tries to close out the game."
• Oakland's Coco Crisp tripled Tuesday and has hit safely in 11 straight games.
• The A's stole four bases Tuesday and lead the Majors with 15 steals. Crisp, Josh Reddick and Chris Young each have four.
• Astros designated hitter Carlos Pena hit his first home run of the season Tuesday.
• Houston second baseman Jose Altuve had two more hits to raise his average to .345. He was also caught stealing for the first time Tuesday. He has yet to swipe a bag this season after stealing 33 bases last year.