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Poor defense, pitching doom Astros in 10-1 loss to Athletics

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HOUSTON — The Houston Astros made five errors, gave up 10 runs and had a pitcher ejected Thursday night against the Oakland Athletics.

And all that came before Oakland's Jed Lowrie called them out after the 10-1 win by the A's because he believed he was intentionally hit by a pitch for something that happened last week.

The Astros were swept by the A's in a three-game series in Oakland last weekend 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, 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 tossed in the seventh inning after hitting Lowrie on the backside with the first pitch of the at-bat with Oakland leading 8-1. Lowrie had doubled off him in the fifth.

"It's flat-out embarrassing," Lowrie said of the incident. "There's no other way to say it. Every perspective, every angle you look at it it's embarrassing. That kind of conduct shouldn't be condoned."

The Astros denied that Lowrie was hit intentionally.

"There was no carry-over on my end," Clemens said. "What happened in Oakland was squashed in Oakland. Bad pitch there. It just so happened I cut a fastball. We wanted to go inside on him."

Lowrie got a bit of justice when Josh Donaldson hit his second home run after the plunking.

"I love it. I love it," Lowrie repeated when asked about the homer.

Porter was evasive when asked if Clemens hit Lowrie on purpose.

"I think the game of baseball takes care of itself," he said. "George Springer got hit tonight and it's part of the game."

Lowrie said he's never seen anything like this and that he holds Porter responsible for what happened.

PHOTO: Houston Astros manager Bo Porter, left, catcher Carlos Corporan, Jesus Guzman (14) and Jose Altuve (27) wait after relief pitcher Paul Clemens was ejected in the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics Thursday, April 24, 2014, in Houston. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
Houston Astros manager Bo Porter, left, catcher Carlos Corporan, Jesus Guzman (14) and Jose Altuve (27) wait after relief pitcher Paul Clemens was ejected in the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics Thursday, April 24, 2014, in Houston. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

"At the end of the day the buck stops with him, so if you look at it that way, yes, he's the one that's responsible for players' conduct," he said.

Donaldson hit a pair of two-run homers to help the Athletics cruise to the victory.

It was the first career multihomer 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 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 (3-0) allowed five hits and a run with seven strikeouts in six innings for the win. 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 and eight hits, which tied a career-high, in just 3 2-3 innings.

"They just did a really good job of boxing me in and I didn't feel much let up from them," Oberholtzer said. "I didn't have my stuff tonight, either."

Houston's only run came on a bases-loaded walk in the first inning and they had trouble stringing hits together. Their terrible night on defense came after entering the night leading the majors with a .992 fielding percentage and just seven errors.

Donaldson's homer 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 when Craig Gentry doubled with one out. Oberholtzer then plunked Brandon Moss before a two-out RBI bloop single by Coco Crisp. Crisp advanced to second on an error by 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.

"It was just a bad play," Dominguez said. "I mean, I should have caught it, I think I got a little frustrated and tried to throw it ... that can't happen."

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.

NOTES: Athletics' RHP Jesse Chavez opposes RHP Brad Peacock in the second game of the series on Friday night. ... Houston reliever Matt Albers wasn't available for a third straight game on Thursday because of tightness in his right shoulder. Porter said he doesn't think the problem is serious.

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