OAKLAND (AP) — The Oakland Athletics have rarely endured even short losing streaks this season.
They’re unfazed. These A’s just keep swinging for the fences and, they hope, right into the playoffs.
Stephen Piscotty hit a three-run homer and matched his career high with five RBIs, and Oakland beat the Los Angeles Angels 10-0 on Wednesday night to snap a three-game skid.
“I don’t think we were too worried about the losing streak. We control our own destiny,” Piscotty said. “That’s why this team is so great. We don’t have to have a team meeting to talk about it. We understand what’s at hand and we go out and do it.”
Oakland moved within four games of first-place Houston in the AL West and stayed 2 1/2 behind the New York Yankees for the top wild card. The A’s are 5 1/2 games ahead of streaking Tampa Bay for the second wild card with 10 to play.
Jed Lowrie and Piscotty each hit a two-run double in a six-run fourth inning to back Brett Anderson (4-5).
Piscotty keeps delivering key hits in what he considers his best season. A’s manager Bob Melvin certainly thinks so.
“He’s been huge,” Melvin said. “He’s as productive and as clutch a guy as we’ve had all year, too.”
Ramon Laureano added an RBI single and a sacrifice fly for the A’s, who had lost four of five.
Anderson pitched 6 2/3 scoreless innings, giving up three hits with three strikeouts and no walks. Three relievers finished the four-hitter as Oakland’s 14th shutout of the season took just 2 hours, 23 minutes.
“It was good to get back on the winning track,” Anderson said.
The lefty delivered the longest outing by an A’s starter in 26 games, becoming the first to go more than six innings during that stretch — which has included Melvin starting games with a reliever who works just one inning before giving way to a regular starter. The 25 straight games with a starter going six or fewer innings was the second-longest streak in franchise history.
“It’s just kind of the way we’re set up,” said Melvin, who also has dealt with an injury-plagued rotation.
The left-hander made his second start since coming off the disabled list and taking the loss last Thursday in Baltimore, where he lasted only 3 1/3 innings. He has walked one or fewer batters in each of his past 10 starts, with just five free passes over 54 2/3 innings during that stretch.
Anderson retired his first eight batters and got through the second inning on five pitches.
Angels starter Felix Pena (3-5) was done after the fourth, allowing six runs on six hits with three strikeouts and a walk. The right-hander retired his first nine batters.
“As these guys got their second look at him, they didn’t miss anything in that fourth inning,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “It was a tough inning for Felix.”
Los Angeles shortstop Sherman Johnson made his major league debut in the sixth for the Angels, who were shut out for the 10th time and second by the A’s.
Angels: RF Kole Calhoun, who was 0 for 5 with three strikeouts a night earlier, had the day off. … Rookie 2B and utilityman David Fletcher, who exited Sunday’s game against Seattle in the first inning with a strained left hamstring, missed a second straight game and won’t be rushed back.
Athletics: RHP Trevor Cahill, scratched from his scheduled Saturday start at Tampa Bay with a strain in his upper back before getting trigger-point injections, threw a 35-pitch bullpen and could start this weekend against the Twins if everything feels right Thursday. “We’ll see how he feels tomorrow. If he feels good tomorrow, then we’ll probably slot him in some point in time on the weekend,” Melvin said. … LHP Sean Manaea had arthroscopic shoulder surgery performed by Dr. Neil ElAttrache in Los Angeles that included posterior labral repair. The A’s said Manaea will begin his rehab program Monday in Arizona.
Angels: RHP Matt Shoemaker (2-1, 3.98 ERA) makes his fifth start of the season after returning Sept. 3 from a strained right forearm. He is 6-2 with a 3.61 ERA in 13 career appearances (12 starts) against the A’s.
A’s: RHP Edwin Jackson (5-3, 3.17) beat the Angels in a 7-0 road win for the A’s on Aug. 11.
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