Their pitching only required a minimal amount of offense Saturday, and the A’s managed to find just enough.

They rallied for two runs in the eighth and held on for a comeback 3-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday at Busch Stadium. With that, the A’s improved to 20-20 in one-run games this season. That’s significant because the A’s won only 19 one-games all of last season, when they set an Oakland record for most losses by a single run (35).

Zach Neal held the Cardinals to two runs over six innings, and one of those scored on a two-out error from Ryon Healy. Daniel Coulombe chipped in with 1 1/3 scoreless innings in relief of Neal, then Liam Hendriks and closer Ryan Madson shut the door as the A’s won for the third time in their past four games.

Oakland scraped together just four hits total on the night, but then again, the Cardinals only had six themselves, and the A’s tied this three-game series at one game apiece.

Starting pitching report

The A’s have to be happy with the work their starters have given them so far this series. Ross Detwiler threw 5 1/3 innings of three-run ball Friday night, and Neal turned in more solid work Saturday. The right-hander give up six hits over his six innings, struck out three and didn’t issue a walk. Randal Grichuk homered off him in the second, and the only other damage came when Healy had Stephen Piscotty’s sharp grounder ricochet off his knee for an error that allowed Greg Garcia to score and give the Cards a 2-0 lead at the time.


Bullpen report

Hendriks continues to be a bright spot for the A’s over the second half. He struck out Jedd Gyorko and Brandon Moss upon entering in the eighth to shut down that inning and transfer a lead to Madson, who rang up his 26th save.

At the plate

The A’s generated little against hard-throwing Cardinals rookie Alex Reyes, their top prospect making his first big league start. Reyes gave up just two hits over 4 2/3 innings, but four walks helped drive up his pitch count and manager Mike Matheny dipped into his bullpen early. The A’s squeezed out a run in the fifth when Zach Duke hit Danny Valencia to load the bases, then walked Khris Davis to force in a run and cut St. Louis’ lead to 2-1. The A’s were still stuck on two hits when the eighth rolled around. But facing closer Seung Hwan Oh, they rallied. Davis singled with one out, then Ryon Healy doubled him to third before a crucial play unfolded.

Max Muncy hit a grounder to first, and rather than take the sure out at first base, Brandon Moss threw home late as Davis scored the tying run. That put the go-ahead run at third base with one out, and Brett Eibner delivered a sacrifice fly that gave the A’s a 3-2 lead.

In the field

Healy’s misplay in the third was the game’s only error.


A crowd of 41,607 was on hand.

Up next

Giving the A’s a surprising boost in his starting role, Andrew Triggs (0-1, 4.38) takes the hill for Sunday’s 11:15 series finale. Lefty Jaime Garcia (10-9, 4.37) goes for the Cardinals.