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ATHLETICS-ASTROS

Donaldson leads A's past Astros 10-1

HOUSTON (AP) - Josh Donaldson hit a pair of two-run homers to help the Oakland Athletics cruise to a 10-1 win over the Houston Astros on Thursday night.

It was the first career multihomer game for Donaldson, who connected in the first inning and pushed the lead to 10-1 with a second shot in the seventh. Alberto Callaspo added a two-run homer in the third and Jed Lowrie had three hits for the A's, who improved to 24-5 against Houston, which joined the American League before the start of last season.

Scott Kazmir is off to a 3-0 start for the first time in his career after allowing five hits and a run with seven strikeouts in six innings. He lowered his ERA to 1.62.

The Athletics jumped on Houston starter Brett Oberholtzer early and tagged him for a career-high six runs on and eight hits, which tied a career-high, in just 3 2-3 innings.

ASTROS-CLEMENS EJECTED

Houston's Clemens ejected for plunking A's Lowrie

HOUSTON (AP) - Houston reliever Paul Clemens has been ejected in the seventh inning for hitting Oakland's Jed Lowrie with a pitch.

Clemens hit him in the backside with the first pitch of the at-bat and home plate umpire Toby Basner immediately threw Clemens out with Oakland leading 8-1 on Thursday night.

The situation seems to have stemmed from Houston's series with Oakland last week when it appeared that Clemens tried to hit Lowrie with a pitch in the third inning. Lowrie had attempted a bunt in the first inning when the A's had a seven-run lead.

In that game, Houston manager Bo Porter came out of the dugout to scream at Lowrie after he hit a fly out after two inside pitches.

STARS-DUCKS

Ducks stumble home even with Dallas for Game 5

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - Two-thirds of the Anaheim Ducks' top line is injured, including their captain and leading scorer. Their most beloved player has been benched, and their rookie goalie looks shakier with every game.

Just four games into the Stanley Cup playoffs, the top-seeded Ducks are generating enough drama to fill an entire spring.

And a series that appeared to be in their control last weekend is even again.

The upstart Dallas Stars are rolling back to Anaheim for Game 5 on Friday night after consecutive victories, running the Ducks out of Texas with speed and aggression.

Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau doesn't know whether Ryan Getzlaf will return after missing Game 4, but Matt Beleskey is unlikely to play. Boudreau also isn't saying whether Jonas Hiller will replace rookie Frederik Anderson in net.

OKLAHOMA-TEXAS TECH

Oklahoma to visit Texas Tech in Big 12 baseball

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) - The Oklahoma baseball team is on the road to play at Texas Tech in Big 12 Conference baseball.

The Sooners and Red Raiders are to play Friday, Saturday and Sunday in Lubbock, Texas.

OU is 25-17 overall and 5-7 in conference play while Texas Tech is 32-13 on the season and is 8-7 in the Big 12.

OKLAHOMA ST-TEXAS

Oklahoma State visits Texas in Big 12 baseball

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) - The Oklahoma State baseball team will be on the road at Texas for a three-game Big 12 conference series in Austin.

The first-place Cowboys and third-place Longhorns will play Friday night and Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

OSU is 29-12 on the season and 11-4 in the Big 12 - one game ahead of second-place TCU. Texas is 31-11 overall and 9-6 in the conference - one game behind TCU and two in back of OSU.

Game times are 7 p.m. Friday; 1 p.m. Saturday; and 2 p.m. Sunday.

FORMER ASTROS PITCHER-LAWSUIT

Jury deliberations slow in Backe brutality trial

HOUSTON (AP) - A federal judge is urging all sides to work toward settling a former Houston Astros pitcher's multimillion-dollar brutality lawsuit against Galveston police officers who beat him in 2008.

The Houston Chronicle reports U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison urged settlement talks Thursday after the jury in the Brandon Backe (BA'-kee) police brutality suit reached an impasse in its deliberations in Houston.

The jury has deliberated three days on the claim made by the former Astros right-hander, who contends the beating ended his baseball career. Backe seeks up to $15 million in damages for injuries he says left him with limited use his pitching arm. Police contend the allegations are exaggerated and that any force used was justified.

Backe helped pitch the Astros to the 2005 National League pennant.

ROCKETS-TRAIL BLAZERS

Blazers return home with a 2-0 advantage

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Houston has a LaMarcus Aldridge problem.

The Trail Blazers' All-Star forward has been dominating with more than 40 points in each of the opening two playoff games between the two teams in Houston.

Portland is up 2-0 as the series moves to Rip City on Friday night, giving the Rockets little time to figure out how to defend Aldridge.

He opened the playoffs with a franchise postseason-best 46 points in the Blazers' 122-120 overtime victory, then followed it up with 43 points in the 112-105 win on Wednesday night.

Aldridge found success in the paint in the opener so the Rockets adjusted - but so did Aldridge, who went outside to pepper Houston with midrange jumpers. Thirteen of his 18 field goals came from 10 feet out or more.

SPURS-MAVERICKS

Mavs home after split at Spurs, but is that good?

DALLAS (AP) - Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks are coming home after showing they won't go quietly in a first-round series with top-seeded San Antonio.

Part of the big German wants to stay in South Texas after the Mavericks let the playoff opener slip away when they went cold late before dominating most of the way in Game 2 and squaring the best-of-seven series.

Dallas had the worst home record among the eight playoff qualifiers in the Western Conference, including a late-season loss to the Spurs. The eighth-seeded Mavericks have been weak enough in their building that Nowitzki even said it was "a little dangerous" going back after playing so well in San Antonio.

Game 3 is Saturday.

TEXAS-CLEARE

Maryland transfer Cleare signs with Texas

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Former Maryland center Shaquille Cleare has signed to play the rest of his college basketball for Texas.

Texas said in a statement Thursday that Cleare signed a scholarship agreement and plans to enroll in classes this summer. Although he'll train and practice with the Longhorns, he'll be ineligible under NCAA rules to play until the 2015-16 season when he'll have two seasons of eligibility left.

Maryland granted Cleare and guards Nick Faust and Roddy Peters releases to transfer earlier this month.

The 6-foot-9 Cleare came to Maryland two years ago as a highly touted recruit from the Bahamas but started only 28 of 69 career games. He averaged 3.0 points and 2.5 rebounds as a sophomore last season.

RANGERS-INJURIES

Texas checking Kouzmanoff back before Beltre move

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) - Texas third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff is returning home to be evaluated by a back specialist Friday before the Rangers have to make a roster move to active Adrian Beltre from the disabled list.

Kouzmanoff, who is hitting .362 in 13 games and is the reigning AL player of the week, came out of Tuesday's game at Oakland because of a sore back.

General manager Jon Daniels said Kouzmanoff has some history of lower back problems and was still having symptoms Thursday.

Daniels said left-hander Pedro Figueroa, who has had Tommy John surgery in the past, has a torn ligament in his elbow and damage to a flexor tendon. The reliever, who last week got his first two major league victories in consecutive games, will likely have surgery next week.

BIG 12 GOLF

OU, OSU prepare for Big 12 Golf Championship

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Both the Oklahoma State and Oklahoma golf teams are set to take part in the Big 12 Golf Championship.

OSU is the top seed in the tournament that begins Friday at Whispering Pines Golf Club in Trinity, Texas. Oklahoma is seeded No. 2.

The Cowboys are seeking their 12th Big 12 title while the Sooners are in search of their first conference championship since 2006. Texas is the defending champion.

Texas is the third seed in this year's tournament and will be part of a group with OSU and OU that begins play at 8 a.m. Friday.

The women's Big 12 tournament also begins Friday with the Oklahoma State team looking to defend its title. The women's tournament is being played at the UT Golf Club in Austin, Texas.

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