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A's use big innings to topple Astros, 11-5

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HOUSTON (AP) - For the first time in nearly eight years, two Houston Astros had multi-homer games.

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Jason Castro and Matt Dominguez each belted two home runs for the Astros. It was the first time two Houston teammates have had multi-home run games since July 25, 2005, when Craig Biggio and Lance Berkman each had two.

The firepower wasn't enough to keep pace with the Oakland Athletics in an 11-5 loss on Saturday night.

By the end of the fourth inning, every Oakland hitter had driven in at least one run.

The home runs - all solo shots - were outweighed early by Oakland's second-inning hitting clinic against Astros starter Lucas Harrell.

After Castro gave the Astros a 1-0 lead in the first with a two-out solo home run to right, Oakland responded with six runs in the second, sending 12 batters to the plate.

Seth Smith and Josh Donaldson led off with back-to-back singles before Moss walked to load the bases. Young hit a two-run double and Eric Sogard followed with an RBI single to make it 3-1. Adam Rosales grounded out to shortstop to extend the lead to 4-1.

Coco Crisp upped the lead to 5-1 with a run-scoring single down the right field line. Yoenis Cespedes walked with two outs, and Smith singled up the middle to make it 6-1. Harrell was pulled after walking Donaldson to load the bases again.

``He just didn't have his good stuff tonight, and Oakland put good swings on him when he put the ball in the strike zone,'' Houston manager Bo Porter said. ``It starts with command.''

Harrell openly disagreed with Porter's assessment, saying it was not his command.

``There's pretty much only two things to say about the game,'' Harrell said. ``It's embarrassing and it's frustrating.''

Harrell (3-6), who has lost four straight, allowed six runs on six hits with three walks and one strikeout in a season-low 1 2-3 innings. Harrell has allowed five or more runs in three of his last five starts, and in two starts against Oakland this season, the right-hander has allowed 14 runs in six innings.

Edgar Gonzalez ended the inning by getting Moss to pop up to short.

Donaldson had four hits, Chris Young had three hits and drove in two as Oakland's bats came alive for a season-high 18 hits. Brandon Moss had a home run as well for the A's, who improved to 8-0 this season against the Astros.

``Nothing against the Oakland A's, but even though you swing the bats well, the fact that you don't pitch well puts you behind the eight ball,'' Porter said.

A's starter A.J. Griffin (5-3) allowed four runs on five hits with seven strikeouts in 5 2-3 innings. He gave up three home runs.

Dominguez cut Oakland's lead to 6-2 with a solo home run to left to lead off the third.

Oakland responded by scoring four times in the fourth. Jaso had an RBI double and Cespedes followed with a run-scoring single. Donaldson and Moss hit back-to-back home runs with two outs in the inning to make it 10-2.

Castro added his second homer of the game - another solo shot to right - to lead off the bottom of the fourth to cut Oakland's lead to 10-3. Castro plated Jose Altuve with an RBI single in the sixth to get Houston within 10-4.

``I picked up on some things from film on how they attacked me last time, so I was looking for certain things,'' Castro said. ``The first one was a change-up that was left up a bit, and the other one was what I was looking for. Luckily, I put a good swing on it and it felt good.''

Dominguez hit his second home run with one out in the seventh - a solo shot off the facade in left - to trim the lead to 10-5 off Kideki Okajima.

``He's really tapping into what we always knew was in there,'' Porter said. ``The pull power is definitely there, and he has proven to the league that he can make adjustments. He has established himself as a hitter.''

Donaldson put the A's back up by six with an RBI double in the eighth, scoring Smith.

NOTES: Oakland SS Jed Lowrie, who was out of the lineup for the third straight game, took ground balls and hit batting practice before Saturday's game. Lowrie has been out since being hit by a pitch on his right foot Tuesday. . Oakland OF Chris Young's three-run home run Friday night snapped an Oakland-record streak of 15 consecutive solo home runs by the A's. . RHP Bartolo Colon takes the mound for Oakland against Houston LHP Dallas Keuchel in the series finale Sunday. . Houston entered the game leading the Majors with 61 double plays turned.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

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The Associated Press
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