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A's ride Josh Donaldson's strong night, defeat Astros 7-5

  • A.J. Griffin works against the Houston Astros in the first inning of a baseball game on Friday, Sept. 6, 2013, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot) (BEN MARGOT/Associated Press)

OAKLAND — The Oakland Athletics are in sole possession of first place in the AL West for the first time in more than a month.

It's just not that big of a deal to Josh Donaldson.

Donaldson had three hits, including a two-run homer in the sixth inning, and the A's beat the Houston Astros 7-5 on Friday night to jump ahead of Texas in the division.

Jed Lowrie added two hits and two RBIs for Oakland, which has won six of eight. Yoenis Cespedes and Nate Freiman had two hits apiece.

The A's grabbed a half-game lead over the Rangers, who lost 6-5 at the Los Angeles Angels. But it was around this time last year that Oakland began its late push to overtake Texas for the division crown.

"It doesn't matter until the end of the season, we know that too well," Donaldson said. "We're really not trying to focus on it right now. We're trying to take care of our business."

A.J. Griffin (13-9) gave up four runs over six innings but matched his career high of nine strikeouts to win his third straight decision.

Matt Dominguez drove in a pair of runs for Houston after sitting out the past three games with a sinus infection.

The A's trailed 3-1 and 4-3 before scoring twice in the fourth on Lowrie's RBI single and a groundout by Cespedes.

Donaldson doubled and scored in the third, and then singled and scored in the fourth. But his big blow came in the sixth, a towering drive to center against reliever Phil Humber that gave Oakland a 7-4 lead.

Donaldson went 3 for 5 and is batting .349 with two homers and nine RBIs in 17 games this season against major league-worst Houston (47-94).

Eight of the A's nine starters had at least one hit, and five different players drove in runs.

"That shows that we have multiple ways that we can score runs," Donaldson said. "That's what it takes. If you're going to score seven, eight runs, it's not all the time going to come by the long ball. It's going to come by guys manufacturing and having good approaches at the plate."

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