OAKLAND, Calif. -- The A's didn't get much of a chance to prepare on Sunday for starter Lucas Harrell: He was a late replacement, announced only about an hour before game time.
That didn't matter much to Oakland, which battered Harrell around in a 7-2 victory over the Astros on Sunday. The A's won for the eighth time in 10 games and maintained their lead in the American League West over the Texas Rangers.
In eight lifetime appearances against the A's, Harrell has allowed 28 hits, 19 walks and 23 runs in 21 2/3 innings. This year, the damage inflicted: 22 hits, 21 runs, nine walks, four homers in 13 1/3 innings.
Seth Smith delivered the biggest, and final, blow, with a three-run homer to cap the A's seven-run third inning. All seven of Oakland's runs in the inning came with two outs.
Smith is 5-for-7 with six RBIs against Harrell in his career.
The A's have hit a major league leading 44 homers over the past 30 games, dating back to Aug. 9.
Brandon Moss also did some damage that inning with a two-run double, while Yoenis Cespedes and Daric Barton delivered RBI singles.
Cespedes has started to come on strong after spending most of the season in an offensive funk. He is 11-for-28 in September after batting .216 in August.
Oakland's starter, Bartolo Colon, settled down quickly after allowing a leadoff single by Jonathan Villar and an RBI double to Jose Altuve to start the game. Colon retired 11 of the next 12 batters and worked six innings in all, allowing five hits and one walk while striking out seven.
With a team-high 15 wins, Colon became the first pitcher in AL history with 15 victories for four clubs -- the Indians, White Sox and Angels being the other three. It was Colon's first victory since July 26 against the Angels.
Brett Anderson, the A's Opening-Day-starter-turned-reliever, took over in the seventh inning and allowed consecutive hits to L.J. Hoes, Matt Pagnozzi and Brandon Barnes, the latter of which drove in the Astros' second run of the game.
Anderson recorded his third three-inning save of the season.
Paul Clemens, Houston's scheduled starter, was scratched with a blister on his right, middle finger. Clemens has had better success with Oakland this year; he'd allowed the A's only three hits, two walks and one run in 7 2/3 innings of work.
Clemens' status for his next start will be determined later in the week.
NOTES: Colon went 4-1 against the Astros this season. ... The A's went 15-4 against the Astros, which is the third most wins for the A's against any one team in a season, and most since they beat the Mariners 17 of 19 times in 2006. ... The Astros, who have the majors' worst record at 47-96, are 6-11 after 17 games of a stretch of 20 games in 20 days. They have lost their past three in a row. ... Houston opens a three-game series at Seattle on Monday night. ... Oakland is off on Monday and travel to play the Twins in Minnesota on Tuesday.