OAKLAND (AP) — With a postseason berth within their sights, the Oakland Athletics are leaving nothing to chance.
Marcus Semien had three hits and a career-high five RBIs, Stephen Piscotty homered and drove in four runs and the Oakland Athletics hammered the Los Angeles Angels 21-3 on Thursday.
The Athletics reduced their magic number for clinching a playoff berth to five. Since June 15, Oakland is a major league-best 58-25.
Going into Thursday, Oakland trailed Houston by four games in the AL West, led Tampa Bay by 5 1/2 games for the second wild-card spot, and was 2 1/2 games behind the New York Yankees for the first wild card.
Catcher Francisco Arcia pitched the last two innings for the Angels, who were outscored 31-2 in the last two games of the series. He also homered in the ninth, becoming the first player in Major League history to catch, pitch and hit a home run in the same game, according to the Angels.
“Honestly, when I saw the score up there on the board, it looked like a football score,” Piscotty said. “It doesn’t happen all that often, but it’s a crazy game when you have position guys throwing.”
The A’s tied an Oakland record for runs scored first set on June 18, 2000, against Kansas City.
Piscotty was 2 for 3 with a three-run homer. He’s 4 for 6 with two home runs and nine RBIs in his last two games and has seven home runs and 22 RBI this month.
Matt Chapman was 2 for 4 with a double and two RBIs. He leads the majors with 24 doubles since the All-Star break and has 41 on the year.
Edwin Jackson (6-3) struck out seven, walked three and gave up two runs in 5 1/3 innings of three-hit ball.
“When you’re getting runs like that, it’s always fun,” Jackson said. “The main thing you want to do is continue to pitch and see how many shutout innings you can have to get them back in the dugout to continue to hit.”
Mike Trout hit his 36th home run for the Angels. They have lost five of their last seven.
Matt Shoemaker (2-2) gave up five runs in 2 2/3 innings in his third start since returning from a forearm strain.
“He’s trying to get back his game at the major league level because he missed most of the season,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.
“There’s going to be some rough spots here or there. He’s at times pitching very well and at times he’s missing his spots, getting behind and making mistakes. But his stuff is there, no doubt.”
Oakland’s Nick Martini hit his first career home run, a two-run shot off Arcia.
The A’s evened their season series with the Angels at 8-8. Oakland will look for its winning season against the Angels since 2013 when it concludes its regular season with a three-game series in Los Angeles later this month.
Oakland was 12 for 17 with runners in scoring position.
The A’s are unbeaten in 14 straight home series (12-0-2), the longest such streak in franchise history since the 1931 Philadelphia A’s went 17-0-2 through their first 19 home series.
Rookie 2B/utilityman David Fletcher (strained left hamstring) was held out of the starting lineup for a third straight game.
Athletics: Early reports on LHP Sean Manaea’s surgery Wednesday were good, manager Bob Melvin said. Manaea had arthroscopic surgery that included posterior labral repair performed in Los Angeles by Dr. Neil ElAttrache. “In the beginning, hearing about where this thing could go, we anticipated him being out for the entire (2019) season,” Melvin said. “We’ll leave a ray of hope to potentially he could come back next year.” ... RHP Trevor Cahill (upper back strain) reported no significant discomfort after throwing a 35-pitch bullpen Wednesday. Cahill could start Sunday against Minnesota.
Angels: LHP Andrew Heaney (9-9, 3.97 ERA) will pitch Friday’s series opener in Houston against RHP Gerrit Cole (14-5, 2.88 ERA).
Athletics: RHP Liam Hendricks (0-1, 5.30 ERA) will be the “opener” in Friday’s series opener against visiting Minnesota. The A’s haven’t announced who will follow him.