Brett Oberholtzer's bouncing between Triple-A and the Majors could be over. After starting the season with a 5.68 ERA in his first seven starts, Oberholtzer was sent to Oklahoma City. In his last six starts -- which have come while vacillating between the Majors and Minors -- he's 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA.
Oberholtzer tossed seven strong innings against the Athletics on Tuesday, and Astros manager Bo Porter opted to keep the young lefty in his rotation in place of the struggling Brad Peacock. On Monday, Oberholtzer will get another crack at Oakland in the first game of a three-game set at Minute Maid Park.
"Obie's impressed each and every time we brought him back," Porter said. "It's not an easy situation to be in, to be the roller-coaster guy going up and being sent down and coming back up. Each and every time he came up, he gave us a quality start."
Oberholtzer matched up with Scott Kazmir last Tuesday, and Houston beat Oakland in 14 innings. This time he will go against Jesse Chavez, who took a no-hitter against Houston into the fifth inning on Wednesday.
Chavez ultimately yielded a pair of runs in 5 2/3 innings to bring his season ERA to 3.14.
A's: Crisp to have neck examined
The A's sent outfielder Coco Crisp back to the Bay Area on Sunday evening for further evaluation on his sore neck, MLB.com has learned.
Crisp has been dealing with the issue for much of the season and was out of the lineup on Sunday in Arlington for the second time in three days.
The A's will wait for the results of the examination to determine whether a stint on the disabled list is necessary, but Crisp is not expected to be available for any of the club's three games in Houston, according to a team source.
Astros: Fields thriving in 'pen
Right-hander Josh Fields has quietly been one of the best relievers in the Majors the past two months. Since being called up on May 14, he has an 0.70 ERA with 41 strikeouts in 25 2/3 innings. He's allowed just 14 hits and five walks in that span.
"He's gaining more and more confidence in all of his pitches, and you see now he's starting to throw his changeup in some primarily fastball counts," Porter said. "When you throw 95, 96 [mph] and you have the confidence to throw your change when you fall behind, 2-0, that becomes very troublesome for the hitter. They can't just sit there and look dead red and know they're going to get a heater.
"He's done a tremendous job, which is why the strikeout numbers are what they are. He's been able to keep hitters off balance."
• Houston's Jose Altuve has hit safely in 15 of his last 16 games, and he leads the Majors in hits, batting average and multihit games.
• On Thursday the A's clinched a winning record for July, marking a franchise-long string of 14 winning months.
David Wilson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.