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Astros forcing Donaldson to pull ball, and he’s doing it well

Josh Donaldson had the first two-homer game of his big league career Thursday.

Josh Donaldson had the first two-homer game of his big league career Thursday.

Josh Donaldson said he’s not looking to pull the ball, that when he’s at his best, the ball flies toward the gaps in right-center and left-center.

For the first time in his career Thursday, Donaldson hit two home runs. The first was pulled dramatically to left, the other was hit more to left than is usually the case for Donaldson. And he also had a double hit sharply to left.

It was, he said, an evening when he just took what the Astros gave him.

“I’m not up there trying to pull the ball,’’ he said. “But they’re sort of forcing me to hit that way. They put the ball at my hands. When I adjust, I’ve got to pull the ball.’’

It was the 16th time in the last 17 games in which Donaldson has had at least one hit. In seven of those 17 he’s had at least two hits, and in three of the 17 he’s had three hits.

He’s pulled some of those hits, to be sure, but for the most part he’s spread that largess across the field, from right field corner to left field corner as he’s on one of the hottest streaks of his career.

He’s hit in six consecutive games and he’s wreaked particular havoc on the Astros. He’s 7-for-15 with three homers and eight RBIs in five games.

“As long as they’re going to keep pitching me this way, I’m going to keep swinging this way,’’ Donaldson said.

Maybe the Astros need to rethink their strategy.

John Hickey

Returning to the Oakland A's beat after a dozen years covering the Seattle Mariners. Covered the A's through the late 1980s and 1990s.