OAKLAND -- Jonathan Villar was acting on his own accord, but he had been given a nudge.
That was the case during Villar's impressive RBI bunt in the fourth inning of Friday night's loss to the A's. For the Astros shortstop, whose career has yet to comprise 40 big league games, this was a heady play, nonetheless. It comes on the heels of Villar being pulled from Wednesday's game against the Twins for an aggressive baserunning mistake.
Villar, who matched his career high with three hits in five at-bats, was batting left-handed in the fourth inning when he dropped a bunt down the first-base line to score teammate Brett Wallace, giving his team a temporary 4-3 edge. Villar said A's first baseman Brandon Moss playing on the dirt well behind first base was what led him to square around.
Villar, who entered Saturday batting .276 with four RBIs in 37 games, said Astros manager Bo Porter had told him to look for that very situation. It's a style of bunt he has practiced often in batting practice, he added.
"That didn't surprise me," second baseman and double-play partner Jose Altuve said of Villar's handiwork. "He can do a lot of different things. He can be a five-tool player."
Porter confirmed Saturday during his pregame gaggle with reporters that no call for a bunt came from the bench. The skipper added that he was as impressed, if not more, with Villar "eating" a potential double-play ball throw during Friday night's loss to the A's.
"It tells you the court awareness, the clock that's in his head," Porter said, borrowing basketball jargon. "He plays the game at a good speed.
"This guy's a baseball player. You watch him on the field and he continues to do things that probably go unnoticed by some people."
Astros add four from Triple-A
OAKLAND -- The Triple-A Oklahoma City RedHawks were swept out of the Pacific Coast League playoffs by the Omaha Storm Chasers on Friday night. As a result, four players from that club were called upon to help out Houston for the final 20 games of the season following Saturday's 2-1 loss to the A's.
Utility man Jimmy Paredes, infielder Brandon Laird and right-handed pitchers David Martinez and Rhiner Cruz were recalled. All four will be in uniform and available to play in Sunday's series finale.
In separate transactions announced by the team, Houston outrighted right-handed hurler Hector Ambriz off the 40-man roster and reinstated fellow righty Edgar Gonzalez from the 60-day disabled list and outrighted him to Double-A Corpus Christi.
Astros slugger Carter stands out on defense
OAKLAND -- It's never too late to see something new. Just ask Astros manager Bo Porter in the wake of his team's 141st game on Friday night, during which left fielder Chris Carter stood out for his defense.
Carter, who has played 44 of his 129 games this season in left field, made a full-length dive to steal a hit from A's outfielder Chris Young in the fifth inning. The snag brought a smile to his face and earned him a handshake from center fielder Brandon Barnes.
"That's the first time I've seen him leave his feet the whole season," Porter said on Saturday. "It was a really good play."
Carter's other significant defensive play came three pitches later: He committed a one-base error on A's slugger Brandon Moss' single.
Porter said he would have preferred that Carter "run through the ball." There is a tendency, the skipper said, to simply catch up to it when a left-handed hitter such as Moss slices a ball down the left-field line.
As for Saturday's penultimate game of the teams' series, a 1:05 p.m. PT start, Porter expected his outfielders to be challenged by the brightness of the day.
"I've done it. It's tough. This is a really tough ballpark with the sun," Porter said, referencing his own playing days at the Coliseum. "As the game starts to progress, it's just going to move. You have to really allow the ball get to its highest point, block the sun, shield it and then attack the baseball."
• Manager Bo Porter offered an update on outfielder Robbie Grossman (strained oblique), who was out of the lineup for the fourth consecutive game on Saturday.
"Grossman is still a little sore, a little tender," Porter said. "It's just going to be day to day. It's going to take a little time with the oblique."
Also on the injury front: Porter was pleased to write the names of his fourth- and fifth-place hitters, catcher Jason Castro and third baseman Matt Dominguez, in Saturday's lineup. Both were playing a second straight game after returning from minor ailments.
• In his second rehab game -- but first back behind home plate -- Carlos Corporan grounded out twice in two plate appearances at Double-A Corpus Christi on Friday night. He was replaced at catcher after five innings. Corporan has been on the disabled list since suffering a concussion on Aug. 19. He made his first rehab start on Thursday as the designated hitter.
Andrew Pentis is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.