HOUSTON — Josh Donaldson hit a pair of two-run homers to help the Oakland Athletics cruise to a 10-1 win over the Houston Astros on Thursday night.
It was the first career multi-homer game for Donaldson, who connected in the first inning and pushed the lead to 10-1 with a second shot in the seventh. Alberto Callaspo added a two-run homer in the third and Jed Lowrie had three hits for the A’s, who improved to 24-5 against Houston, which joined the American League before the start of last season.
Scott Kazmir is off to a 3-0 start for the first time in his career after allowing five hits and a run with seven strikeouts in six innings. He lowered his ERA to 1.62.
The Athletics jumped on Houston starter Brett Oberholtzer (0-4) early and tagged him for a career-high six runs on eight hits in just 3 2/3 innings.
Houston’s only run came on a bases-loaded walk in the first inning and they had trouble stringing any hits together. They had a terrible night on defense, committing five errors after entering the night leading the majors with a .992 fielding percentage and just seven errors.
The Astros were swept by the A’s in a three-game series in Oakland last week and there still seemed to be some animosity between the teams from an 11-3 loss in the first game of that series.
In that game, Houston reliever Paul Clemens appeared to try to hit Lowrie with a pitch in the third inning after Lowrie had attempted a bunt in the first with Oakland up by seven runs. Houston manager Bo Porter came out of the dugout to scream at Lowrie after he hit a fly out after two inside pitches.
On Thursday night, Clemens was ejected after hitting Lowrie on the backside with the first pitch of the at-bat with Oakland leading 8-1. Donaldson hit his second home run after the plunking.
Donaldson’s towering 389-foot homer, which clanged high off the foul pole in left field, gave Oakland a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Houston cut it to 2-1 when Chris Carter drew a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the inning.
The trouble continued for Oberholtzer in the second inning when Craig Gentry doubled with one out. He then plunked Brandon Moss before a two-out RBI bloop single by Coco Crisp. Crisp advanced to second on an error by George Springer on the play.
Donaldson hit a leadoff double in the third and scored on a single by Derek Norris with one out to make it 4-1. Callaspo followed with his two-run home run to the Crawford Boxes in left field to push the lead to 6-1.
Gentry ended up on second base after a fielding error and a throwing error by Matt Dominguez on the same play.
Moss added an RBI single in the fifth inning and Lowrie had a run-scoring double later in the inning to push the lead to 8-1.