HOUSTON -- The A's dominance of the Houston Astros in 2013 is starting to get ridiculous, but manager Bob Melvin swears it hasn't been as easy as it's appearing.
The A's roasted the Astros 11-5 on Saturday night, batting around twice and roaring out to a 10-2 lead in the first four innings in winning their eighth straight against Houston. It was also their fifth victory in a row at Minute Maid Park.
Josh Donaldson led an 18-hit Oakland assault with four hits, including a double and a home run, and every player in the lineup had at least one RBI. The A's have outscored the A.L. West's last-place team 62-29, but Melvin isn't buying the sad-sack notion about the Astros.
"We don't look at it that way," he said. "What we look at it is we have to play hard against them every game. You look around, they just beat Kansas City two out of three. They've handled Seattle before. So it's not an easy team to just throw your glove out there and beat."
But this looked awfully familiar. The only change in pattern is the A's waited until the second inning instead of the first to begin their latest merry-go-round on the bases against Houston. After going down 1-2-3 in the first, they sent 12 men to the plate and scored six runs in the second. Oakland batted around again in the fourth and scored four more times.
Mercy? Melvin said it's not in his or his team's constitution.
"We have to play very well to beat them, and in the eight games we've played them, we have played very well," he said. "So that will continue to be our focus, play them like they're the '27 Yankees, because you have to. The minute you back down a little bit or assume something, that's when you get bit."
On this night, though, it was if all the A's players went to hometown hero Chris Young's house to fuel up on his mother's Texas barbecue. The benefactor was starter A.J. Griffin (5-3), who gave up three solo homers -- two to Castro Valley native Jason Castro -- but didn't mind the long waits between innings.
"When your team is putting up runs like that, you can't complain about that stuff," Griffin said.
The A's had a lot of well-struck balls, notably Donaldson's laser homer to left field in the fourth that was immediately followed by a long blast to right by Brandon Moss. It was the seventh homer of the year for each.
Young also had three hits for the second straight night, including a two-run, bases-loaded double to start the Oakland scoring.
He raised his career average at Minute Maid to .429 (36 for 84) in 20 games and also has a 16-game hitting streak against the Astros.
For all the fireworks, though, the hit of the game might not have gone more than 70 feet.
It was Seth Smith's surprise bunt to the left side to open the second when the Astros employed an infield shift to the right side. Houston starter Lucas Harrell (3-6) scrambled to try to field the ball and fell on his posterior.
"We've been trying to get some more lefties to do that, not only because it gets you a hit if you can do it, but all of a sudden, the defense has to play you a little differently," Melvin said. "We've been playing several teams now that have been shifting us and taken a portion of the field away. So I think it's prudent to take it when it's given to us."
Smith, who was unavailable after the game to talk about his bunt, came up a second time in the inning and delivered an RBI single up the middle.
He'll hit in the cage Sunday, and barring a setback, will report to Single-A Stockton on Monday to begin what he hopes is a short rehab assignment.
A's (Bartolo Colon 4-2) at Houston (Dallas Keuchel 1-1), 11:10 a.m. CSNCA