Series: Game 3 of 3

Oakland won 3-0

Game 1: Monday, April 15
Game 2: Tuesday, April 16
Game 3: Wednesday, April 17

Astros 5

(4-11, 3-6 away)

Athletics 7

(12-4, 6-4 home)

    3:35 PM ET, April 17, 2013 Coliseum, Oakland, California 

    123456789 R H E
    HOU 100000301 5 11 1
    OAK 60010000 - 7 11 0

    W: B. Colon (2-0)

    L: B. Norris (2-2)

    S: G. Balfour (3)

    Astros-Athletics Preview


    It's still very early, but the Oakland Athletics own the best record in the AL.

    Nearly all of their success has come at the expense of their division rivals -- most notably the newest member.

    The A's look to sweep the Houston Astros for the second time this month Wednesday when they conclude this three-game set in Oakland.

    Oakland (11-4) has the second-best record in baseball behind 12-1 Atlanta, an outstanding start for a team many felt couldn't repeat as the AL West champ.

    The A's have won 10 straight division games against Seattle, Houston (4-10) and Los Angeles after opening the season with back-to-back losses to the Mariners.

    Oakland has pounded those West foes, hitting .319 while averaging 8.0 runs over the past 10 games. It's outscored the Astros 38-14 in five meetings with the division's new addition.

    Tuesday's victory was a rare close call for the A's against Houston. They trailed 2-0 after three innings and needed Josh Donaldson's tiebreaking triple in the eighth inning to escape with a 4-3 win.

    "You're not going to score 10 runs every night, so it's nice to win a one-run ballgame," said closer Grant Balfour, who has converted 20 straight save opportunities dating to last season.

    Donaldson's heroics Tuesday also helped Oakland improve to 10-1 all-time against Houston.

    The third baseman may make an impact in the series finale since he's batting .364 with a .432 on-base percentage and six runs over the past eight games. He's also driven in five in that stretch, three of which have been game-winners.

    It would seem the A's may have a tough test with Houston turning to Bud Norris (2-1, 1.96), who is emerging as their top starter after going 7-13 with a 4.65 ERA last year.

    The right-hander, however, struggled in a 6-3 loss to Oakland on April 6. He surrendered five runs -- two earned -- and six hits, including homers to Jed Lowrie and Coco Crisp, while throwing 122 pitches in 5 2/3 innings.

    Norris, though, rebounded in tremendous fashion Friday, yielding three hits in seven innings of a 5-0 road win over the Los Angeles Angels.

    "This guy's a No. 1 starter and he's pitched a lot of big games," manager Bo Porter said. "I think his best years are definitely ahead of him. He's growing up right in front of our eyes, and it's a pleasure to see."

    Porter isn't finding any pleasure in watching his lineup muster a .192 average during a four-game losing streak

    Jason Castro, though, managed to find some success against Bartolo Colon (1-0, 4.15), who beat Norris on April 6. The catcher hit a three-run homer off the right-hander and also singled.

    Colon lasted six innings in his 2013 debut, which was his first start since being reinstated from a 50-game suspension for a positive testosterone test last August.

    A three-run homer was again the only damage Colon allowed over seven innings Friday. This one came off the bat of Prince Fielder in a 4-3 win in 12 innings over Detroit.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Gameday Matchup

    Current StreakL15W1
    Last 100-107-3

    Pitching Matchup

    B. Norris
    10-12, 4.18 ERA

    Last Game:
    9/25 vs TOR
    4.0 IP, 3 ER
    Dec = ND
    B. Colon
    18-6, 2.65 ERA

    Last Game:
    9/27 at SEA
    6.0 IP, 2 ER
    Dec = Win

    Gameday Lineups

    1. J. Altuve, 2B J. Jaso, C
    2. J. Maxwell, CF C. Young, CF
    3. J. Castro, C S. Smith, LF
    4. C. Carter, DH J. Lowrie, SS
    5. C. Pena, 1B J. Donaldson, 3B
    6. J. Martinez, LF J. Reddick, RF
    7. B. Barnes, RF D. Norris, C
    8. M. Dominguez, 3B E. Sogard, 2B
    9. M. Gonzalez, SS S. Peterson, 1B