Athletics

Khris Davis, Chad Pinder drive in three runs apiece as A's beat Astros 8-3

Khris Davis, Chad Pinder drive in three runs apiece as A's beat Astros 8-3

BOX SCORE

HOUSTON -- Chad Pinder hit a three-run homer and Khris Davis added three RBIs as the Oakland Athletics jumped on Lance McCullers Jr. early and cruised to an 8-3 win over the Houston Astros on Wednesday night.

Davis, who extended his career-best hitting streak to 13 games, put the A's up 2-0 with a double in a three-run first. Pinder made it 6-0 when he connected off McCullers (10-4) for his ninth homer in the fourth.

Oakland starter Chris Bassitt (2-3) yielded five hits and three runs in five innings for his second straight win after losing his first three decisions.

Yuli Gurriel drove in two runs and Tyler White hit a solo homer that cut the deficit to 6-3 in the fifth, but the AL West-leading Astros lost for the second time in three games.

McCullers allowed four hits and six runs while walking five in four-plus innings for his first loss since May 26. It came after a stellar outing last time out, when he whiffed a career-high 12 while permitting just three hits and a run in seven innings of an 11-4 win over the White Sox.

Things went wrong for him quickly when he walked two batters with one out in the first. The A's took a 2-0 lead when both runners scored on the double by Davis. A single by Stephen Piscotty sent Davis to third and he scored on a sacrifice fly by Matt Chapman.

McCullers plunked Chapman to start the fourth before walking Mark Canha. Oakland pushed the lead to 6-0 on the homer by Pinder to left field.

Bassitt retired nine of the first 10 batters he faced, and the Astros didn't get a hit until Alex Bregman's single with nobody out in the fourth. Jose Altuve singled before Gurriel's two-run single cut the margin to 6-2.

White got the Astros to 6-3 when he hit his first homer this season in the fifth.

Emilio Pagan allowed one hit in two scoreless innings after Bassitt's exit.

Marcus Semien doubled with one out in the sixth and scored on a two-out triple by Davis to push the lead to 7-3. Oakland made it 8-3 on an RBI single by Josh Phegleyin the ninth.

TRAINER'S ROOM:
Astros: INF Marwin Gonzalez sat out after taking a cleat to the left wrist Tuesday night. He is day-to-day. ... SS Carlos Correa (back stiffness) ramped up his activity and said he's feeling good and believes he is inching closer to a return.

Athletics: Piscotty exited in the middle of the fifth inning after being hit by a pitch on the left wrist in the top of the inning. The team said his wrist was bruised.

UP NEXT:
Oakland RHP Trevor Cahill (1-2, 2.77 ERA) will come off the disabled list to start against Charlie Morton (11-2, 2.83) in the series finale Thursday. Cahill has struggled on the road this season, going 0-2 with a 5.66 ERA. Morton has won four of his last five starts.

A's in the thick of a playoff race headed into All-Star break

A's in the thick of a playoff race headed into All-Star break

What a difference a month makes.

On June 15, the A's lost to the Angels to fall to 34-36 on the season, 11 games behind the Seattle Mariners for the second AL Wild Card spot.

Fast forward to July 15, and Oakland owns the sixth-best record in all of baseball at 55-42, just three games behind the Mariners.

The A's enter the All-Star break winners of 21 of their last 27 games, and as serious playoff contenders. The question of whether Oakland would be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline has been answered, emphatically. The A's are buyers.

"This group deserves a chance to stay together,” general manager David Forst told Jim Rome on his radio show. “They deserve a chance to play this thing out."

“I prefer to be a buyer and that’s what (we) are preparing to do,” Billy Beane said to The Athletic.

Don't expect the A's to make any huge additions - perhaps they'll add a starting pitcher or possibly another reliever - but simply holding on to veterans like Jed Lowrie, Khris Davis, and Blake Treinen is better than most fans expected at the start of the season. The current roster has already proven it doesn't need a ton of help.

“I think we're playing really confident baseball and making a charge here,” said outfielder Stephen Piscotty. “We're right there, so we're excited to keep going.”

“It's starting to get that feeling, that playoff vibe,” added Sunday's winning pitcher Sean Manaea.

So buckle up, A's fans. Your team is right in the middle of a playoff chase. It's time to start believing.

A's stay hot before break, take first phase of Bay Bridge Series

A's stay hot before break, take first phase of Bay Bridge Series

BOX SCORE 

SAN FRANCISCO -- Stephen Piscotty homered for the fifth time in nine games, and the Oakland Athletics beat the San Francisco Giants 6-2 on Sunday.

Sean Manaea allowed two runs in six innings for his fourth consecutive win. All-Star second baseman Jed Lowrie walked and scored in his return to the lineup following a scary collision in right field two nights earlier for Oakland. Matt Chapman added two hits.

The surging A's have won nine of 12 and are 21-6 since June 16, the best record in the majors during that stretch.

All-Star shortstop Brandon Crawford had two hits for the Giants, who lost a home series for the first time since dropping two of three at AT&T Park to Arizona from April 8-10.

Piscotty singled in Jed Lowrie in the fourth against starter Andrew Suarez (3-6) then homered off Reyes Moronta in the sixth. It is Piscotty's 12th this season and fifth this month, all of them coming since July 7.

Piscotty's hit in the fourth was the first of three consecutive RBI singles off Suarez. Matt Olson and Matt Chapman also drove in runs while Jonathan Lucroy added a sacrifice fly to put Oakland up 4-1.

Manaea (9-6) gave up five hits, including Chase d'Arnaud's second home run this season in the sixth. Manaea retired seven of the final eight he faced.

Ryan Buchter struck out the side in the seventh. Lou Trivino and All-Star closer Blake Treinen retired three batters apiece to complete the five-hitter.

Suarez allowed four runs in five innings.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Athletics: Lowrie had been nursing a bruised bone and calf bruise in his left leg after colliding with Piscotty in right field. . OF Matt Joyce (lumbar strain) received an epidural shot for his sore back. RHP Daniel Gossett (strained right elbow) began a throwing program.

Giants: RHP Jeff Samardzija was placed on the 10-day disabled list because of right shoulder inflammation. It's Samardzija's third stint on the DL this season. IF Kelby Tomlinson was called up from Triple-A Sacramento and started at second base.

UP NEXT

Athletics: Return to the Coliseum to host the San Francisco in a three-game series beginning Friday. It's the first time since 1986 that the A's have played six consecutive games against the same team.

Giants: Head across the Bay to play three games in Oakland. No rotation has been announced for the series.