Mike Fiers leads Oakland Athletics to fifth win in a row

The Oakland Athletics’ bats went oddly quiet against the worst team in the major leagues on Tuesday, but yet another dominant performance by Mike Fiers led the A’s to a 3-2 win in the series opener against the Baltimore Orioles.

A three-run top of the third inning made for enough offense to back Fiers, who improved to 5-0 in an A’s uniform. Oakland (88-57) has won all seven of his starts.

Fiers allowed just four hits and a walk over six innings while striking out seven. The only blemish came on a Jonathan Villar solo homer in the bottom of the sixth. Fiers threw just 84 pitches, but with cracks starting to show during the third time through the order, manager Bob Melvin turned to the bullpen for the final three innings.

Having struggled over four consecutive outings, Fernando Rodney pitched a perfect seventh with a pair of strikeouts. Third baseman Matt Chapman made an impressive throw on the run to rob former teammate Renato Nunez to end the inning. Lou Trivino allowed a leadoff single in the eighth to Breyvic Valera, who scored on a two-out Villar single, but Ramon Laureano made a diving catch to rob Trey Mancini and end the inning. With Villar running on the pitch, Mancini could have tied the game if not for the rookie center fielder’s defensive expertise.

Even with Monday off, Blake Treinen had pitched in all three games of the weekend series against the Texas Rangers, so he got Tuesday off, as well. Jeurys Familia closed the game out for his first Oakland save, striking out Joey Rickard to end the game.

It looked like a promising night for the A’s offense when Baltimore (41-103) lost starter Alex Cobb — who has tormented Oakland for years — after just two innings thanks to a blister. Mike Wright Jr. took over and immediately struggled with command, walking Jonathan Lucroy and allowing a run-scoring double to Chapman, his 21st since the All-Star Break. After a Jed Lowrie walk, Chapman scored on a laser beam single by Khris Davis. A line-drive single by Stephen Piscotty scored Lowrie — a fellow Stanford product — and extended his hitting streak to 12.

Though the A’s would go quietly against Wright for the next two innings and muster very little against the combination of Yefry Ramirez and Mychal Givens, they would have a chance in the eighth against hard-throwing lefty Tanner Scott.

Lowrie started the inning with an infield hit and went to third on Piscotty’s two-out double — a hit that put him back in the team lead for doubles with 39, one ahead of Chapman and three ahead of Lowrie. Scott would get Marcus Semien to ground out to third to escape the jam, but the combination of the A’s bullpen and defense ensured a fifth consecutive win as they have continued to handle last-place teams and other non-contending clubs.

Since the All-Star Break, Oakland is 9-1 against the Rangers, and the A’s have won four of their last six meetings with the Los Angeles Angels. They swept the season series against the fourth-place Toronto Blue Jays and fourth-place Detroit Tigers and now sit at 4-0 against the Orioles. They also swept the interleague season series with the last-place San Diego Padres.

Oakland is also now 19-8 against the AL East, having also won the season series with the Boston Red Sox and splitting with the New York Yankees. The team owns a 1-3 mark against the Tampa Bay Rays, but will have a chance to improve on that this weekend in a clash of two of the league’s hottest clubs.

Ethan Kassel

Recent Posts

Flashy stunts, sketchy story in Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Volta’

At the outset of “Volta,” the Cirque du Soleil show now under the big top in San Francisco, a lively…

3 hours ago

Family members launch GoFundMe for Chinatown woman killed in fatal collision

Family members of a woman killed while crossing the street in San Francisco’s Chinatown earlier this month have launched a…

4 hours ago

San Francisco Dons men’s basketball postpones clash with Arizona State

Friday's University of San Francisco men's basketball game against Arizona State, slated for a 6:00 p.m. tip, has been postponed due…

4 hours ago

SF Preps: San Francisco Section postpones semifinal football games to Saturday due to air quality

The San Francisco Section has officially postponed its two semifinal football games yet again. After having already moved the games…

7 hours ago

Golden State Warriors drop fourth loss of the year as Draymond Green returns

By C.J. Peterson Special to S.F. Examiner Pushing the ball down court on a fast break opportunity in the first…

15 hours ago

The number of missing people in Butte County fire jumps dramatically to 631

The death toll from the devastating Camp fire in Northern California jumped to 63 on Thursday as search crews recovered…

17 hours ago