Samardzija hurls as A’s hammer Astros

O.CO COLISEUM — Thursday afternoon was about as ugly as Wednesday evening. This time, though, it was pure domination from the A’s.

Hours after Jim Johnson was designated for assignment, the A’s pounded to Houston Astros into submission with an 13-1 win.

A’s starter Jeff Samardzija (W, 8 IP, 1 ER, 5 H, 6 K) was brilliant, going eight innings with only 101 pitches, 70 for strikes.

Houston could only get 5-1/3 innings out of starter Scott Feldman (L, 9 H, 6 ER, 5 BB), who took his eighth loss of the year.

Photos by Godofredo Vasquez/SFBay

Samardzija lowered his season ERA to 2.70, the only run coming from a solo shot by former Athletics outfielder Chris Carter. He also became the first A’s pitcher to make it through seven innings in each of his first four starts since world war II. On the feat, manager Bob Melvin said:

“He knew it going out there, too. He has to take pride in that type of thing.”

After Wednesday night, the A’s bullpen was taxed. They’d gone 12 innings the previous night, and had no fresh arms to eat innings. Melvin’s game plan following the win, was summed up in one word:

“Samardzija.”

Samardzija was in his hotel room, still trying to settle in with the A’s, when he heard. He thought to himself that he’d better get a good night’s rest:

“It was pretty cool to hear that. I love when people put some pressure on you and expect a lot out of you. You really make sure that you come to the park ready to pitch and pick those guys up.”

Four of Oakland’s runs came just after third baseman Josh Donaldson was hit by a pitch, loading the bases. First baseman Brandon Moss was next to hit, and did he ever. Melvin chuckled when he said:

“12 RBI’s in three at bats, that’s not fair. A lot of guys have to work to get 12 in a month, and he has them in three at bats. … For a patient guy with the bases loaded, the pitcher really has nowhere to go.”

On the first pitch, Moss swatted a shot to deep right field, clearing the out-of-town scoreboard, for his third grand slam of the season.

Donaldson also finished with a solid line, going 2-for-3 with two runs, one RBI and a stolen base. He also got two free bases, being hit by the pitch following Moss’ slam, and taking a base on balls.

When Samardzija heard that the 13 runs that Oakland scored Thursday were equal to all of the run support he had with the Cubs this season, he could do nothing but laugh:

“As a pitcher, you’re just trying to work quick innings and don’t let those guys stand out there on defense for too long. Keep them in that hitting rhythm. … It’s outstanding to have a great defense behind me that allows me to just go out there and do my job.”

Only catcher John Jaso finished the game without an RBI or run scored for Oakland. Meanwhile, the swiss army knife better known as Stephen Vogt finished with three RBI. A’s catcher Derek Norris posted three hits, as did shortstop Jed Lowrie.

Evan Scribner, who was brought up to the big club Thursday morning, took the final three outs in the ninth. He has pitched 3-1/3 innings this season, not allowing a run in any of the starts.

Jed Lowrie collected a season-high tying three hits, the last time being at Houston and is batting .379 with nine runs, five doubles, nine RBI and eight multiple hit games in his last 15.

Lowrie had a home run Wednesday against his former team, and will look to continue his dominance over Houston during the final week of July.

The A’s now leave Oakland and begin a six-game road trip starting Friday in Texas.

Notes

Josh Donaldson (2-for-3, 2 runs, RBI, walk) is 13-for-36 (.361) with 10 runs, five doubles, four home runs, 12 RBI and 12 walks in 10 games against Houston this season. … Josh Reddick (2-for-4, run, two doubles, RBI, strikeout) hit a career-high tying two doubles for the sixth time. The last was July 20, 2012 vs. the Yankees. Reddick is 14-for-33 (.424) with four doubles, one triple, and one home run against Houston this season. … The Oakland Athletics are 23-11 over the last 34 games. They have won 10 of the last 12 home games, 28 of the last 36, and are 34-17 for the season… Oakland went 4-2 on this six-game homestand against Baltimore (2-1) and Houston (2-1).


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