Athletics 11, Astros 5. New approach.
"My goal every day is to go out there and put good at-bats together," Donaldson said. "The last two games or so I have felt a little bit more overaggressive. I was trying to be a little more patient tonight and get a good pitch to hit. They fell behind me a couple times, and I was able to get a pitch to hit."
Donaldson said he and hitting coach Chili Davis worked on a few things before the game. He tied a career-high with four hits and was a triple shy of the cycle.
"He went through one little period where he was down some, but he's been consistent all year on base every time tonight and getting good swings almost every single time," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "There's a reason he's hitting in the middle of the order for us."
Chris Young had three hits and drove in two as Oakland's bats came alive for a season-high 18 hits, and the A's scored their most runs in a month. Every Oakland hitter drove in at least one run. Brandon Moss had a home run as well for the A's, who improved to 8-0 this season against the Astros.
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.
"Other than the home runs, I felt all right," Griffin said. "Those home runs happen, so obviously, you have a little bitter taste in your mouth at the end of the day. I made it 5 2-3, and I always would like to make it 6, 7, 8. It was a great team win. I just tried to keep us in the game and keep making pitches."
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.
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 Donaldson led off with back-to-back singles before Moss walked to load the bases. Young laced a two-run double off the wall in left, 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. Yoenis Cespedes walked with two outs, and Smith singled up the middle to make it 6-1. Astros starter Lucas Harrell was pulled after walking Donaldson to load the bases again. Edgar Gonzalez ended the inning by getting Moss to pop up to short.
Dominguez cut Oakland's lead to 6-2 with a solo home run to left to lead off the third.
Oakland answered 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.
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.
Donaldson put the A's back up by six with an RBI double in the eighth, scoring Smith.
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.
Houston manager Bo Porter said Harrell did not have his good stuff, and Oakland put good swings on him when he put the ball in the strike zone.
"I think it starts with command," Porter said. "When you're a sinker ball pitcher, you're one pitch away from a double-play and getting out of it. You have to lock into it, get the ground ball, and minimize the damage."
Harrell said his command was not off.
"There's pretty much only two things to say about the game," Harrell said. "It's embarrassing and it's frustrating. That's pretty much all I have to say."
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.