(SportsNetwork.com) - The Oakland Athletics try to continue their mastery of the Houston Astros on Friday when the American League West foes continue a four-game series at Minute Maid Park.
Oakland swept the Astros last weekend, and in 2013, they dominated Houston, winning 15 of 19 meetings between the two teams. In fact, the A's are 24-5 against the Astros all-time.
"Any time you play in your division, you have to play well," Houston manager Bo Porter said. "To make strides as an organization and become champions, it starts with beating the teams in your division."
That trend continued on Thursday, as Josh Donaldson hit a pair of two-run homers, Scott Kazmir tossed six solid innings and Oakland beat the Astros for the seventh straight time in a 10-1 rout.
Alberto Callaspo added a two-run homer for the Athletics, who snapped a three- game skid. Kazmir (3-0) allowed one run on five hits with seven strikeouts.
"Those things were tape-measure shots," Kazmir said of Donaldson's home runs. "It was fun to watch."
Chris Carter drove in the lone run for the Astros, who have lost two in a row. Brett Oberholtzer (0-4) got the start and gave up six runs on eight hits over 3 2/3 innings.
"They got to me early," Oberholtzer said of the A's. "They're a good team. They come out swinging the bat and they play together."
Getting the call for the A's on Friday will be surprising right-hander Jesse Chavez, who is 1-0 with a 1.38 ERA. A reliever for most of his seven-year big league career, Chavez came into camp this spring with a chance to land in the rotation. Injuries to Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin aside, Chavez earned a starting role this spring and has been one of the A's best pitchers this season.
"When somebody goes down or somebody's struggling, you give somebody else an opportunity, and it's their turn to shine," said A's manager Bob Melvin. "Jesse's been focused and ready for that opportunity and continues to run with it."
Chavez continued his eye-opening start on Sunday against the Astros, as he earned his first win of the season and held them to a run and four hits over six innings. He has given up just one earned run in each of his four starts this season.
Houston will counter Chavez with the same pitcher it did last Sunday in righty Brad Peacock, who is 0-2 with a 6.14 ERA. Peacock pitched well last weekend in Oakland, but absorbed the loss nonetheless, allowing a pair of runs in five innings. He also walked three batters and has issued 11 free passes in 14 2/3 innings this season.
"Our record against them says a lot about our inability to throw strikes," Porter said. "They're a real patient team and always understand what they're trying to do in their offensive approach. If you don't throw strikes, they'll work you all game. We can sometimes struggle with that.
Peacock has faced the A's four times and is 1-2 with a 3.92 ERA.