HOUSTON — Jeff Samardzija was determined to get back on track Monday night after a couple of bad starts, so he was thrilled to see Josh Donaldson back in the Oakland lineup.
Samardzija pitched eight solid innings and Donaldson drove in three runs after sitting out Sunday with a knee injury to lead the Athletics over the Houston Astros 8-2.
“I told him there’s no chance he’s not starting the day I pitch. So I’ll give him a massage on his knee if I have to, to get him in there,” Samardzija said, joking.
It didn’t come to that, but Donaldson acknowledged after the game he’s still feeling pretty banged up despite returning to the lineup.
“It’s not something I think about too much,” he said. “It’s just one of those things, 126 games now. You learn how to play with stuff.”
Samardzija (4-3) allowed six hits, two runs and tied a season high with 10 strikeouts to bounce back from a two-game skid in which he yielded 11 runs combined. The right-hander was 2-7 with the Chicago Cubs before getting traded in early July.
“I took that last one pretty personally and I wanted to come out and have a good one and get back into my groove and how I do things,” Samardzija said.
Josh Reddick hit a two-run homer and Donaldson had three hits. Donaldson doubled twice for his first extra-base hits and RBIs in his last nine games.
Reddick’s 10th home run sailed into the seats in right field to push Oakland’s lead to 3-0 in the fourth.
Chris Carter hit an opposite-field, two-run homer in the eighth to pull the Astros within one, but the A’s added five runs in the ninth to extend the lead to 8-2.
Houston manager Bo Porter was disappointed that his bullpen let a close game get away.
“Getting an opportunity to come up in the ninth inning of a one-run game is completely different than coming up down by six,” he said. “The whole object is to keep the game right there.”
Scott Feldman (7-10) allowed seven hits and three runs in seven innings.
Rockies 3, Giants 2: At San Francisco, Four errors. A balk that scored a run. A manager ejected and an irate starting pitcher.
The San Francisco Giants largely cost themselves a close game because of mistakes, losing 3-2 to the Colorado Rockies on Monday night.
Rookie Tyler Matzek outdueled Jake Peavy (2-4), who had won his previous two starts following three straight losses after being acquired in a trade from Boston on July 26.
“We certainly didn’t play our best baseball tonight. I could have done things better,” Peavy said. “Yeah, you’re frustrated. I think you guys saw that unfortunately. I’m an emotional guy and it’s all directed at wanting to win and wanting to be as good as we can be as a team. We certainly could have done better all the way around tonight, starting with me.”
San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy was ejected in the eighth by plate umpire Doug Eddings for arguing a called third strike on Buster Posey. Bochy removed his hat in frustration from the dugout and got tossed before he even got out to argue. He left to chants of “Bochy! Bochy!”
“That’s a critical pitch,” Bochy said. “You got Posey up there and that’s a tough way to end that at-bat.”
Matzek struck out seven in seven innings to end a five-start losing streak and help the Rockies to a three-game winning streak.
Colorado also has won four straight games in San Francisco for the first time in club history, kicking off a stretch of 13 straight games against the NL West with an impressive victory.
“It’s been a house of horrors for us for a long time,” manager Walt Weiss said. “It’s great to see us winning some games here, some tight games, some games that in the past we used to lose, those one-run games like tonight.”