OAKLAND — Not too long ago, the Detroit Tigers haunted the Oakland Coliseum. They eliminated the Oakland Athletics from the playoffs there in both 2012 and 2013.
After beating Detroit, 6-0, at home on Sunday to finish a weekend sweep, the A’s have now claimed 12 straight wins against the AL Central squad, breaking a 116-year-old record for the franchise’s longest winning streak against the Tigers.
Oakland (67-46) has now won each of its past six games overall, benefitting from a pitching rotation that’s clicked just as many tabbed it to fall apart. This time it was Trevor Cahill going six shutout innings with 10 strikeouts.
“They’re giving us a chance to win every ballgame, and it’s a big momentum boost for our offense … when they’re doing that,” designated hitter Khris Davis said. “They’re doing an excellent job.”
The A’s didn’t acquire a starter at the trade deadline because they believed their hodgepodge rotation could survive with a strong bullpen behind it. So far, that decision has paid off.
Over the past six games, Oakland’s four-man rotation of Cahill, Edwin Jackson, Sean Manaea and Brett Anderson boasts a 0.72 ERA with only three earned runs allowed. The group didn’t allow any earned runs this weekend against the Tigers — the first time the franchise has done that since 1918.
“We know the bullpen is a strength,” Cahill said. “We’re just trying to set it up for those guys.”
On Sunday, Cahill baffled the Tigers with his changeup and knuckle-curveball. Those pitches alone alone led to 14 swinging misses, with the Tigers whiffed on those offerings 31 percent of the time.
While Cahill said his changeup has been his go-to pitch this year, he felt his curve was the best it’s been all season. His ERA is now down to 3.12.
“He’s just been really, really consistent for us,” manager Bob Melvin said. “Had a good sinker, again the swing-and-miss changeup, [used] the curveball just enough to keep you off balance. His ball is never straight, so it’s not in the zone very long and it’s tough to square up.”
Davis led off the fourth inning with his 10th home run in the past 14 games. Later in the frame, center fielder Ramón Laureano gave the A’s a 2-0 lead with an RBI single though the right side of the infield. Laureano went 3-for-4 with a stolen base just two days after hitting a walk-off single in his MLB debut.
“[Laureano] has been great,” Melvin said. “The speed dynamic too in the outfield, you look up and he’s already got a bead on it. … It’s great for him to get off to a good start because it makes [him] confident at the big league level.”
Third baseman Matt Chapman hit a two-run home run in the seventh, and first baseman Matt Olson hit another two-run shot in the eighth. Again, the A’s topped an inferior foe, extending their winning streak against sub-.500 teams to 16.
“It’s tough to sweep a team seven games [in a season], and we’ve done that twice with Toronto and Detroit,” Melvin said. “We’re on a nice roll.”