A's improve to 8-0 vs. Astros

MoiseKapenda Bower, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

HOUSTON -- With a pair of regular contributors -- right fielder Josh Reddick and shortstop Jed Lowrie -- watching from the dugout, the Oakland Athletics continue to showcase the depth that makes them an undeniable contender to repeat as American League West champions.
Oakland continued its dominance of the Houston Astros, turning its offensive depth into an 11-5 win on Saturday night at Minute Maid Park.
The win gave Oakland an 8-0 record against the Astros in 2013.
All nine Oakland starters recorded at least one RBI, with Yoenis Cespedes and Adam Rosales the only players who failed to score. Even with Reddick (right wrist) on the disabled list and Lowrie slowed by a bruised right foot, the Athletics have plenty in reserve.
"That was part of the philosophy this spring or in the offseason was to get depth, because we knew that as hard as (center fielder) Coco (Crisp) plays he's going to be out some injury-wise. We want to rest him," Athletics manager Bob Melvin said. "Cespedes is the same way. We were able to bring in a Chris Young, who gives everybody a rest and is now starting to really hit his stride.
"And we have guys that are versatile players, too, where you can move some guys around a little bit and give some guys a rest. I think the front office did a good job with that this offseason."
Third baseman Josh Donaldson finished 4 for 4 with a home run and was one of five Athletics (27-23) with multi-hit games. Crisp, Young and Seth Smith each finished 3 for 5 while Eric Sogard went 2 for 5.
While the Astros (14-35) were outhit 18-9, they did double the Athletics' home run output. Third baseman Matt Dominguez and catcher Jason Castro became the first set of Houston teammates with multi-homer games in the same game since Craig Biggio and Lance Berkman both homered twice against the Philadelphia Phillies on July 25, 2005.
Having already battered Astros right-hander Lucas Harrell (3-6) into submission earlier this season, the Athletics required even less time to knock Harrell from the game during their second confrontation.
On April 7, Oakland hung eight runs on Harrell before he departed in the fifth inning of a 9-3 setback. On Saturday, he failed to escape the second.
The first five Athletics that inning reached base, including a surprise bunt single by Smith against a defensive shift that served to ignite the rally. Young then continued his torrid hitting in his hometown with a two-run, bases-loaded double that pushed the Athletics ahead to stay.
Oakland strung together three consecutive run-scoring at-bats following Young, and when Smith and Donaldson reached in succession for the second time, Harrell was pulled with two outs and Oakland leading 6-1.
"There's pretty much only two things to say about the game: It's embarrassing and it's frustrating," Harrell said.
Astros right-hander Edgar Gonzalez stemmed the tide to close the second, but the Athletics scored four additional runs in the fourth, highlighted by back-to-back home runs from Donaldson and Brandon Moss. Their consecutive blasts marked the third time this season that Oakland has managed back-to-back home runs. Donaldson teamed with Cespedes on the prior occasion against the Texas Rangers on May 13.
"It's awesome," Donaldson said. "That's what we want to do every night. It is not that kind of production, but it's nice to know that the guys can do it. We believe everyone in the lineup can do it."
Athletics right-hander A.J. Griffin (5-3) had a curious start. He allowed just three hits through five innings, but all three were solo home runs.
Castro had his second career multi-homer game via solo home runs in the first and fourth while Dominguez cranked his sixth and seventh homers -- all coming over the last 12 games -- in the third and seventh.
"I've been working hard and concentrating on slowing my body down and taking batting practice with a purpose," Dominguez said. "I think we've got a good approach, and I trust it."
NOTES: Reddick took part in batting practice Saturday. Participation in the batting cage Sunday is the next step in his return from the 15-day disabled list. If Reddick progresses as planned, he could start a rehab assignment with High Class A Stockton on Monday. ... Harrell endured the shortest start of his career. In his second start with the Astros (Sept. 25, 2011), Harrell allowed five runs (three earned), seven hits and one walk in three innings in a 19-3 loss to the Colorado Rockies. ... Young extended his hitting streak at Minute Maid Park to 16 games. He is hitting .385 during that streak, which dates back to Aug. 8, 2011.

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