OAKLAND -- Jeff Samardzija could get used to this. The man with the third-lowest run support in the majors got plenty of pop from his offense Thursday afternoon at the Coliseum as he dominated the Astros lineup in a 13-1 win that earned the A's a series victory.
Brandon Moss hit the third grand slam of his career -- all of which have come this year -- and the A's totaled 14 hits against Houston, getting runners to third base in every inning except the first, fifth and seventh.
The A's bullpen needed a break after throwing 8 1/3 innings over the first two games of the series and Samardzija made sure the guys got a night off as the All-Star spun eight sharp innings of five-hit ball with six strikeouts.
Oakland now boasts baseball's best record at 63-38, and has a 2.5-game division lead on the Los Angeles Angels, who host the Detroit Tigers on Thursday evening.
Starting pitcher report
The initial analysis was that Samardzija was going to be a perfect fit in Oakland, and four starts in, that certainly appears to be the case.
His lone blemish came in the fourth, when former Athletic Chris Carter spoiled his shutdown inning. Carter wasn't fooled by a first-pitch fastball at 94 miles per hour, and the 6-foot-4, 245-pounder clanged his 20th home run of the season off the left-field foul pole to cut his old team's lead to two.
Samardzija has now completed at least seven innings in each of his four starts with the A's, allowing nine earned runs in 30 innings for a 2.70 ERA.
His final line: 8 IP, 5 H, ER, 6 K, HR, 101 P, W.
Newly promoted Evan Scribner handled the ninth, as he had been doing in Triple-A.
Sean Doolittle, Luke Gregerson, Dan Otero and Ryan Cook were especially appreciative of Samardzija's outing after all pitching in each of the first two games against Houston.
At the plate
The A's offense continues to impress, adding another 13 runs to its MLB-best total of 509.
The A's also lead the majors with 382 walks, and three of their six base on balls scored on Thursday. But it was on the power of 10 singles, three doubles and a home run that they made their mark against the Astros.
Jed Lowrie and Derek Norris each collected three hits; Josh Donaldson, Stephen Vogt and Josh Reddick tallied two apiece; and Moss -- who was pegged in the foot in his next at-bat -- provided the icing with a grand slam in the five-run sixth.
That's when things got out of hand for the Astros, as Burlingame native Scott Feldman was chased from the game and Anthony Bass hit Josh Donaldson before surrounding Moss' big fly.
The A's sent 28 total batters to the plate in innings three through six, including a total of nine in the sixth.
Reddick is announcing his return through a megaphone. The A's right fielder, getting his second consecutive start since returning from his second DL stint this year, turned in another 2-for-4 game with two doubles, a run and an RBI.
It was not a welcome homecoming for the local Feldman, who was charged with six earned runs in 5 1/3 innings.
In the field
The A's played clean defense behind Samardzija. With the sun shining in Oakland, Donaldson and company were tested on seven high fly balls in the first three innings.
Josh Reddick made a nice, ranging catch on a fly ball from Matt Dominguez to lead off the fifth inning, showing that his strained right knee is ready for both offensive and defensive duties.
The A's announced a paid attendance of 22,759, who heartily cheered for Samardzija when he walked off after his 101st pitch ended the eighth.
The A's travel to Texas to open a six-game road trip on Friday against the division rival Rangers, who entered Thursday last in the AL West and 22.5 games behind the first-place A's.
The Rangers called up Jerome Williams (1-4 6.04) on Thursday and will throw him in the opener against Jason Hammel (0-2, 9.00). Nick Tepesch (3-5, 4.75) is now scheduled for a Saturday matchup with Sonny Gray (11-3, 2.73) with Miles Mikolas (1-2, 7.48) opposing Scott Kazmir (11-3, 2.32) on Sunday. All three games air on Comcast SportsNet California.