HOUSTON -- The A's embarrassed the Astros on Thursday by running roughshod over them 10-1, Josh Donaldson cashing in with his first career two-homer game.

And while starting pitcher Scott Kazmir went to 3-0 for the first time in his career despite a slow start, it was hard to disagree with A's shortstop Jed Lowrie, who said the Astros embarrassed themselves by hitting him with a pitch.

Paul Clemens, who was on the mound last week when Lowrie bunted with the A's holding a 7-0 first-inning lead, threw at Lowrie and missed him twice later in that game last Friday. Lowrie doubled off Clemens in the fifth inning Thursday, then Clemens hit him with a pitch in the seventh inning with the Astros already in a seven-run hole.

HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 24:  Josh Donaldson #20  of the Oakland Athletics celebrates after his two-run home run in the seventh inning of their game against the
HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 24: Josh Donaldson #20 of the Oakland Athletics celebrates after his two-run home run in the seventh inning of their game against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on April 24, 2014 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images) ( Scott Halleran )

"I still don't understand why they made a big deal of (the bunt) the first time." Lowrie said. "And then he throws at me twice in Oakland, then throws at me again (Thursday).

"For a number of reasons it's embarrassing but that in particular. And to speak that I had him in an at-bat before and hit a double off him, then he throws at me the first pitch.

"I've never seen anything like it. It should not be condoned."

Clemens told the Houston media that the pitch just got away from him, but none of the A's believed that, particularly manager Bob Melvin who said "I don't know what to say," when asked about it.

Lowrie said he thought the situation was over when the Astros left Oakland. To listen to Clemens, you'd think the pitcher had no connection to Lowrie being hit on his back leg.


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"There was no carryover 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. The guy's been hot, swinging a good bat. He can play the game of baseball. He's made a very good living hitting the baseball. We really wanted to get in on him and let him I'm not afraid to come inside. That happens sometimes, so be it."

Donaldson had perhaps the best retort. After Clemens had been ejected -- the umpires didn't think the pitch was an accident -- Donaldson stepped up and clubbed Anthony Bass for a two-run homer that capped the A's scoring for the night. Donaldson had opened the scoring with a two-run homer in the first inning off starter Brett Oberholtzer.

In between he walked twice and doubled and has now hit safely in 16 of his last 17 games after a 2-for-22 start to the season.

"I've seen a lot in this game," Donaldson said of seeing Lowrie hit by the pitch. "I've been thrown at a lot. So nothing in this game surprises me."

Donaldson, who finished with three runs scored and four driven in, gave Kazmir more than enough cushion to survive the rockiest start of the season. Given the chance to start after the A's lost three consecutive games to the Rangers in Oakland, Kazmir was far from his usual crisp self, needing 25 pitches to get through the first inning and another 22 to make it through the second.

Still, a bases-loaded walk to former A's slugger Chris Carter was the only run to score as the lefty sputtered successfully through the Astros lineup the first half of the game.

It wasn't the homecoming the Houston native wanted, at least from an artistic point of view. He'll take the win and the six innings of work that lowered his ERA to 1.62.

It wasn't a good night for Yoenis Cespedes, either. He was hitless in his first four trips, then strained his left hamstring beating out an infield hit in the seventh. He will miss at least a couple of games but potentially more. The A's should have a better read on that Friday.

  • The A's are facing the possibility that starting pitcher A.J. Griffin will need surgery to repair his right arm. Five weeks after he was told to rest his arm and right flexor tendon, he still can't throw without pain. He will get a second opinion Tuesday in Houston from Dr. Thomas Mehlhoff on Tuesday.

    Mehlhoff performed a successful Tommy John-style elbow ligament replacement surgery on A's pitcher Fernando Rodriguez last year.

  • The A's had no need of late-inning help Thursday night, but Oakland is welcoming Jim Johnson back into the mix for the team's closer-by-committee. Johnson, who began the season as the closer, isn't the closer, Melvin made clear. But Johnson joins lefty Sean Doolittle and right-hander Luke Gregerson in the core of pitchers to whom the A's will turn to close out games. After losing his first two starts and having an 18.90 ERA after five games, Johnson has not allowed a run in his last five appearances to lower his ERA to 6.30.

  • Ryan Cook, who pitched mostly as the setup reliever last year, is getting closer to getting back in that kind of role again. After starting the season on the DL, Cook has not allowed a run in his last four appearances and he's allowed just one in seven games over 6.2 innings for an ERA of 1.35. Melvin said he's not ready to have Cook join the closer-by-committee mix but he's impressed by the progress Cook has made.

    For more on the A's, see John Hickey's Inside the A's blog at ibabuzz.com/athletics. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JHickey3.

    friday's game

    A's (Jesse Chavez 1-0) at Houston (Brad Peacock 0-2), 5:10 p.m. CSNCA