HOU@OAK: Crisp's deep count ends with two-run shot

OAKLAND -- Coco Crisp, who had started just two of the A's last six games and none since Sunday, was back in the lineup for the A's three-game series opener against the visiting Astros on Friday.

He made his presence felt by hitting a two-run homer in the fifth inning of Oakland's 11-3 victory over Houston.

Crisp was hampered by a sore left wrist in the second week of the season, and a hamstring injury limited his activity most of this week.

As of Friday, "I think he's as close to 100 percent as you'll get," said manager Bob Melvin.

Crisp pinch-hit in Wednesday night's loss in Anaheim and proceeded to steal a base quickly after, showing no noticeable issue with the hamstring.

"I wasn't sure he was going to do that," Melvin said Friday. "He had a green light and he did."

Despite his early injury woes, Oakland's center fielder has four stolen bases on the year. He has also reached base safely via hit or walk in each of his eight starts.

A's content to close by committee

SEA@OAK: Johnson fans Almonte to notch the save

OAKLAND -- Oakland's closer situation is "status quo" until further notice, Bob Melvin said Friday.

The A's manager, who removed Jim Johnson from the closer's role less than two weeks into play because of ongoing struggles, will mostly stick with either lefty Sean Doolittle or right-hander Luke Gregerson in the ninth inning, depending on the matchup.

Melvin also isn't afraid to use right-handers Ryan Cook and Dan Otero in save situations, should Doolittle or Gregerson's services be necessary beforehand.

"I think right now we're fine with this, but there's the potential for anything," said Melvin. "I know, at times, it's a little easier for guys in the bullpen to know exactly when they're going to pitch, but that's not where we are right now.

"Even with how I look at things sometimes, I'm mixing and matching a little more to try to get to who the closer is on that particular day, and it's a little different for some of those guys, but we feel like we have the guys who are able to do that."

Johnson is included in that mix, having bounced back from a rough beginning with five consecutive scoreless innings spanning three appearances.

"Johnson's really been the wild card for us, and fortunately for him he's been great," said Melvin. "He's pitching a lot better right now and showing that he can be used for more than one inning, too."