Ben Ross

A's notes: Josh Phegley shines in rare start

A's notes: Josh Phegley shines in rare start

OAKLAND — Josh Phegley made just his 17th start of the season Saturday. Maybe he should play a little more. The A's improved to 15-2 in Phegley's starts this year.

The 30-year-old went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles and a team-high three RBI. He also caught Trevor Cahill's seven-inning, one-hit gem. Jonathan Lucroy will obviously still be the A's everyday catcher, as he should be, but it's good to know that he can get a day off every once in awhile, and Phegley won't miss a beat.

--- Phegley, Khris Davis, Matt Olson, and Stephen Piscotty all recorded two doubles. The A's eight doubles tied the Oakland single-game record, last accomplished in 2013.

--- Matt Chapman was the only A's starter who failed to reach base. That snapped his career-high 30-game on base streak, as well as his career-high 14-game hitting streak. Chapman is still slashing .276/.362/.500 for the season.

--- Oakland improved to 40-13 in its last 53 games, the best record in MLB during that stretch. The A's also clinched another series victory, improving to 15-1-2 in their last 18 series.

--- The A's 74-49 record in their best after 123 games since 1992. It is tied for the fourth best record through 123 games in Oakland history.

--- Oakland remains the only team in MLB that is undefeated when leading after seven innings, improving to 51-0. The A's are 60-0 when leading after eight.

--- The A's have won 19 of their last 23 games at home and are 37-24 at the Coliseum for the season.

--- During the game, the A's announced that they sent 23-year-old RHP Nolan Blackwood to the Tigers as one of the two prospects in the Mike Fiers trade. Blackwood was 6-3 with a 4.08 ERA and nine saves at Double-A Midland this season. He was ranked as the A's 30th best prospect by MLB.com.

Back with A's, Trevor Cahill finds home sweet home in Oakland

Back with A's, Trevor Cahill finds home sweet home in Oakland

OAKLAND — Find someone who loves you as much as Trevor Cahill loves pitching at the Coliseum.

Following Saturday's one-hit gem, Cahill's home ERA is a league-leading 0.85. Away from the Coliseum, that number skyrockets to 6.62.

“Being at home, (I'm) just comfortable,” Cahill said. “I've made a lot of starts here in my career. Just everything from the bullpen to warming up before the game and going out there first to try to set the tone. You have the ball. You're throwing the first pitch when you're at home.”

Cahill tossed seven shutout innings Saturday, allowing just two base runners -- one on an infield single, the other a walk -- with seven strikeouts.

“He dominated us,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “He was clearly doing whatever he wanted to with the ball. He could cut it, sink it, threw changeups. When they got the lead, he pitched pretty aggressively and we chased. He controlled the game.”

In eight home starts this season, Cahill has allowed a total of five earned runs on 28 hits in 52 2/3 innings. He has notched 57 strikeouts, compared to 12 walks, a ratio of almost 5-to-1.

“I don't know that I've ever seen Trevor pitch better than he did today, even the old version," A's manager Bob Melvin. "This version, at times, is better than the old version. He's got a changeup, he's got a cutter, he's got more weapons to go to. When he's throwing strikes, the ball is not in the zone very long. It's sinking, the changeup is a couple feet short of that, and then the curveball and cutter on top of it. It was really good.”

Cahill's mastery over the Astros continued a tremendous stretch by Oakland's starting rotation. Over their last 16 games, A's starters have gone 9-1 with a 1.79 ERA. Combine that with one of the best bullpens in baseball, and it's not hard to see why the A's are the hottest team in baseball.

“I think my curveball was a lot better [than last start],” Cahill said. “I was able to throw it for strikes early on, and then I was able to put that extra gear on the two-strike ones, the putaway pitches.”

A's tied for first place in AL West after crushing Astros

A's tied for first place in AL West after crushing Astros

OAKLAND — After trailing the Astros by 12 games exactly two months ago, the A's have pulled even. Oakland beat Houston 7-1 Saturday afternoon to improve to 74-49 and move into a first-place tie atop the AL West.

Trevor Cahill was masterful, pitching seven shutout innings, allowing just an infield single and a walk, while striking out seven. Cahill improved to 5-2 on the season, lowering his league-leading home ERA to 0.85, and his overall ERA to 3.12.

With the win, the A's clinched yet another series victory, improving to 15-1-2 in their last 18 series. They have now won 40 of their last 53 games overall, and 19 of their last 23 at the Coliseum.

Here's what else you need to know from Saturday's victory...

--- Khris Davis busted out of a mini-slump, going 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles and two RBI. Davis entered the game 0 for his last 13, but staked the A's to an early lead when he ripped a 2-run double to left in the first inning. He doubled again in the sixth inning, his 24th two-bagger of the season. Davis increased his RBI total to 95, second most in MLB behind Boston's J.D. Martinez.

--- The A's added three more runs in the sixth inning, thanks to four doubles. Davis, Matt Olson, and Stephen Piscotty led off the inning with three straight doubles, and Josh Phegley added another one later on. The A's notched eight doubles in the game, tying the Oakland single-game record, last accomplished in 2013.

--- Phegley made his 17th start of the season at catcher and went 2-for-4 with two doubles and three RBI. The A's are now 15-2 in games Phegley has started this season.

--- Olson and Piscotty had big days as well, both going 2-for-4 with two doubles and a run batted in. Piscotty leads the A's with 33 doubles on the season. Olson has 26.