HOUSTON -- For a second time in three games, the Houston Astros relied on late-inning offense to lead the way to victory, with their 10-9 win Friday night squaring their series with the Oakland Athletics in improbable fashion.The Astros (47-40) went from three runs ahead entering the ninth inning to trailing by two runs entering their final at-bat before third baseman Luis Valbuena continued what has been a torrid homestand with his third upper-deck homer this week, a walk-off, three-run shot off Athletics closer Ryan Madson.For Valbuena, it was his 12th home run this season -- all since May 7. He finished 3-for-5 with four RBI and after being below the Mendoza Line as late as May 22, Valbuena is batting .328 with 10 homers and 26 RBI in the 39 games since.I love the way he conducts his at-bats, Astros manager A.J. Hinch said of Valbuena. Even his empty at-bats are usually inside the strike zone, they are battled over a number of pitches. And hes been doing this for a while. This isnt like a good homestand or a good stretch. This is a good player whos found a comfort zone where he feels good at the plate.Thanks in large part to Valbuena the Astros are in position to earn at least a series split with a win on Saturday. Right-hander Lance McCullers (4-2, 3.57 ERA) will make his third career start against the Athletics, against whom he is 1-0 with a 2.31 ERA. On June 5, McCullers allowed two runs on eight hits and three walks with nine strikeouts in seven innings in a 5-2 win over Oakland.In his previous start, McCullers recorded 10 strikeouts against the Mariners and joined right-handers Don Wilson and Tom Griffin as the only pitchers in club history with four double-digit strikeouts games in their first 31 starts. Per ESPN.com, McCullers induced a career-high 18 swings-and-misses on his curveball, the second-most by any pitcher on that pitch in the past eight seasons behind A.J. Burnett (23 in 2013).Athletics right-hander Kendall Graveman (4-6, 4.57 ERA) is 3-0 with a 3.63 ERA over his last seven starts, his three-game winning streak matching a career high set June 24-July 4, 2015. Graveman has allowed just two home runs during his streak (0.45 per nine innings) after allowing 10 over his first nine starts of the season (1.91 per nine).Graveman, 3-3 with a 5.72 ERA in 10 road starts, is 1-1 with a 6.91 ERA in three career appearances (all starts) against the Astros. He did not factor in the decision in his only start against Houston this season, allowing five runs on seven hits and one walk with one strikeout over 4 1/3 innings in a 6-5 Athletics loss on June 4 at Minute Maid Park.The Athletics (37-50) are hopeful Graveman can provide the momentum right-hander Daniel Mengden failed to deliver on Friday night. After a promising start, Mengden collapsed in the fifth inning in what was his first professional start in his hometown.Mengden, a product of Houston Westside High School and Texas A&M, had more than 100 friends and family at the game. A former Astros farmhand, Mengden played with current Astros Carlos Correa, Lance McCullers and A.J. Reed in the minors. He took a deflected line drive off the chest in the fourth inning.Those are always nerve-wracking, Mengden said. Never fun. One of the fears of a pitcher is to have one come at your head or body like that. Maybe it affected me, maybe it didnt. I dont know.Reds Jerseys China . -- Vincent Lecavalier got everything but the desired result in his return to Tampa Bay. Custom Tony Perez Jersey . The team says the Spain international has a muscle pull in his right leg. 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The promotion boasts 14-straight years of business and is operated by MFC president Mark Pavelich, who is often overlooked in this country for the foundation hes established for MMA in Canada.RIO DE JANEIRO -- First, the opening ceremony drew praise from all over the world. Then there were parties all over Rio de Janeiro, and Brazils first medalist on Saturday.A sweet start to the Olympics prompted the return of a familiar chant from the 2014 World Cup that had been pushed into the darkness by years of bad news. I am Brazilian, with a lot of pride, with a lot of love, they celebrated.With the Olympics in full swing, beleaguered Brazil is smiling again.We are not stupid, we know the economy crisis doesnt end with Olympic Games, 46-year-old volunteer Marcos Silveira said at a bar hours after an opening ceremony steeped in local culture and history.But I just want a break, to feel proud of what we can do, too. Let me enjoy these Olympics that we built to be great for all. We can do great things here, too, said Silveira, an unemployed engineer.On Saturday, some of the proud locals watched as Brazils womens handball team beat Olympic champion Norway. They went on to cheer Felipe Wu to the countrys first medal in shooting in 96 years -- a silver in the 10-meter air pistol. A sequence of beach volleyball and volleyball victories made it up for disappointing losses in judo and womens basketball.On the streets of bohemian neighborhood Laranjeiras, which is more carioca than touristic, all TV sets were showing Olympic competitions, regardless of the involvement of Brazilians.I wasnt veery excited until last night, I admit, waiter Wilson Elias said.dddddddddddd But it is so many people criticizing us that now I want them to be proved wrong. We have our flaws, but we have our tricks, too. If I have the chance to buy a ticket for something, I will.Reports from the ticket office at a shopping mall in one of the wealthiest areas of Rio said lines were big all day long.On Copacabana beach, the nationalistic feel was also present in light-hearted jokes. After Alison Cerutti and Bruno Schmidt beat Josh Binstock and Samuel Schachter of Canada in beach volleyball, 21-year-old university student Carlos Silva predicted more success for his country in 2018 in South Korea.Be ready, because soon we will beat you at the Winter Olympics, too. It is all ours now, he said with a strong Rio accent.At the Sochi Games in 2014, Brazil sent its biggest delegation ever to the Winter Games: 13 athletes.Not even news of huge lines to get in the Olympic Park, of a suspect package near the finishing line of the road cycling race or a stray bullet shot into the equestrian venue changed the positive atmosphere for Brazilian fans.Local fans were gracious enough to celebrate a gold medal for South American rival Argentina -- judoka Paula Pareto in the 48-kilogram category. ' ' '