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Athletics 7, Astros 5

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OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Oakland Athletics continued giving the Houston Astros a rude welcome to the American League West on Wednesday.

The A's scored six runs in the first inning off Astros' starter Bud Norris and held on for a 7-5 victory at the Coliseum, sweeping the three-game series less than two weeks after sweeping the Astros in a three-game set at Houston's Minute Maid Park.

The A's improved to 11-1 all-time against Houston and 9-0 at the Coliseum, including a three-game sweep in 2002 when the Astros were in the National League.

At 12-4, Oakland owns the best record in the American League, and half of their wins are against the Astros.

A's right-hander Bartolo Colon allowed just one run on four hits over six innings, improving to 2-0 and beating the Astros for the second time this season. He struck out three, walked none and threw 97 pitches, 69 for strikes.

A's left fielder Seth Smith went 3-for-5, raising his average to .447. Shortstop Jed Lowrie went 2-for-3 with a double, driving in a run and scoring one on his 29th birthday. Right fielder Josh Reddick went 1-for-3 with a two-run double in the first inning.

Houston's Carlos Pena hit a home run for the second straight game, a solo shot off A's reliever Chris Resop during a three-run rally in the top of the seventh when the Astros cut Oakland's lead to 7-4. Pinch hitter Rick Ankiel hit a solo home run off A's closer Grant Balfour in the ninth, making it 7-5.

Norris, the Astros' Opening Day pitcher, came into the game with a 2-1 record and 1.96 ERA, but he didn't get out of the first inning. Norris gave up five hits and six earned runs in two-thirds of an inning, the shortest outing of his career, spanning 101 starts. Norris' early exit came two days after Astros left-hander Erik Bedard lasted just one-third of an inning against the A's, his shortest career start.

Norris, a Bay Area native, walked three, didn't record a strikeout and threw 46 pitches, just 24 of those for strikes in his first career start in Oakland.

The Astros took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when Jose Altuve led off with an infield single, moved to third on Jason Castro's single and scored on Chris Carter's fielder's choice ground ball to third.

Oakland answered with six runs in the bottom of the first.

John Jaso led off with an opposite-field double to left, a slicing shot that landed just inside the foul line. Young brought Jaso home with a single to center and took second on center fielder Justin Maxwell's error. Smith followed with an infield single on a checked swing, beating third baseman Matt Dominguez' throw to first.

Norris walked Lowrie, loading the bases. After Josh Donaldson popped out, Reddick one-hopped a two-run double off the right-field wall, giving the A's a 3-1 lead. A's catcher Derek Norris walked, re- loading the bases, and Eric Sogard roped an RBI single to right, scoring Lowrie to make it 4-1. Shane Peterson drew a bases-loaded walk, recording his first major-league RBI and giving the A's a 5-1 lead. Jaso drove in the final run of the inning with a ground out to second.

That was it for Norris, as left-hander Xavier Cedeno came out of the bullpen to replace him.

Peterson got his first major-league hit in the fourth inning, a line drive single to center off Cedeno and later scored, making it 7-1.

Cedeno held the A's to one run over 2.2 innings, and Wesley Wright blanked the A's for 2.1 innings. Hector Ambriz followed with 1.1 scoreless and hitless innings of relief, and Jose Veras pitched a scoreless eighth.

NOTES: A's INF Adam Rosales (strained left rib cage muscle) was scheduled to begin a rehab assignment Wednesday night with Single-A Stockton in a road game at San Jose. He has been on the disabled list since March 26. "We'll see how many games that will take," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "You like to bring a guy up when he's doing well. When we get back from the road trip, we'll see how he's doing." The A's next home game is April 25 vs. Baltimore. ... A's CF Coco Crisp was out of the starting lineup Wednesday after starting back-to-back games following a two-day absence because of a strained left groin. "That was the plan when he came back," Melvin said. "We were going to give him two games then give him the off day today followed by the off day tomorrow. Then he should be good to go." ... A's OF Yoenis Cespedes (strained muscle, left hand) still has swelling and has not been able to hit since being hurt on April 12. "He's keeping that hand semi-immobile," Melvin said. "He's doing some throwing and running but can't do anything with the left hand at this point." ... Jeff Murphy, the Astros' bullpen catcher and catching instructor, was helped off the field and to the clubhouse after suffering injuries to his left hamstring and knee while pitching batting practice. He took a hard fall when the protective screen in front of the mound was blown over by a strong gust of wind. After that mishap, sandbags were placed on the base of the screen. ... OF Fernando Martinez (strained left oblique) was scheduled to play in his fourth rehab game Wednesday night for Triple-A Oklahoma City. He went 1-for-11 with two RBIs in his first three rehab games.
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