OAKLAND (AP) — Whether playing 20 straight games without a break, bouncing back from a tough loss or pulling off a late-game rally, manager Bob Melvin sure appreciates his resilient Oakland Athletics.
Stephen Piscotty hit a two-run single, Matt Chapman and Matt Olson each doubled in a run, and the A’s jumped on the New York Yankees early for an 8-2 win Wednesday night.
Jed Lowrie added a run-scoring single as the A’s backed righty Mike Fiers (11-6), who escaped a bases-loaded jam in the first after Giancarlo Stanton’s one-out double and a pair of two-out walks. Fiers is 4-0 in six starts since joining Oakland, and the A’s have won all his outings.
The A’s moved within 3 1/2 games of the Yankees for the top AL wild card, also remaining 3 1/2 back of the AL West-leading Astros.
“These guys play hard,” Fiers said. “I love playing for this team. They back me up no matter what. Long first inning, then we come up and put together good at-bats and put up four. You can’t ask for anything more and I think that kind of settled me down as well.”
Fiers struck out the side in order in the sixth, and the lone hit he allowed after the first was Aaron Hicks’ leadoff single in the fourth before Gary Sanchez’s two-run homer in the seventh chased the Oakland starter.
Fiers fanned five in six innings, giving up three hits as the A’s concluded a grueling stretch of 20 games without an off day.
“Grinding through the 20 days, it’s finally over, in the middle of August, against the teams we were matched up against, pretty impressive,” Melvin said. “I told them that after the game. They play with the same pace every day.”
New York right-hander Luis Severino (17-7) reached 200 strikeouts for the second consecutive season but was done with two outs in the third for his shortest outing of the season. He allowed six runs — five earned — on six hits.
Severino threw two wild pitches that scored separate runs in the first, when Sanchez also had a pair of passed balls.
“A couple misunderstandings at the plate. A leadoff double, then another double. A bunch of stuff. A couple of cross-ups with the signs. It was a mess,” Severino said. “I need to do a better job. I need to communicate more with Gary. I have to try to make it better.”
Sanchez’s 13 passed balls matched the Angels’ Martin Maldonado for most in majors. Sanchez tied for the big league high with 16 last year. He also has been behind the plate for 37 wild pitches after being part of 53 in 2017.
The home run was Sanchez’s first since June 20 against Seattle.
HALL OF FAME
The first class in the Athletics Hall of Fame was enshrined during a pregame ceremony.
Hall of Famers Dennis Eckersley, Rollie Fingers, Rickey Henderson and the late Jim “Catfish” Hunter, along with Reggie Jackson and 1989 World Series MVP Dave Stewart were part of the class. So was late A’s owner Charlie Finley.
Yankees: RF Aaron Judge took soft-toss swings and hit off a tee. He also did baserunning and outfield work as he works back from breaking his right wrist July 26. He will continue a similar rehab regimen through the weekend. “Another positive step forward,” manager Aaron Boone said. “He’s building a little bit of momentum.” ... SS Didi Gregorius, sidelined with a bruised left heel he hurt Aug. 19 in a collision with Toronto’s Kendrys Morales beating out an infield single, had another good day of baseball activity and the plan is to activate him Friday at Seattle. “In a lot of ways he’s one of the heartbeats of this club,” Boone said. ... OF Clint Frazier is unlikely to play again this season as he continues to deal with concussion symptoms. He was examined by renowned specialist Dr. Micky Collins at the University of Pittsburgh on Tuesday and Frazier returned to Tampa, Florida. ... 3B Miguel Andujar had the night off to give him a two-day break with no game Thursday.
Athletics: LHP Brett Anderson (strained forearm) threw off a mound and will throw an extended bullpen Saturday during which he gets up and sits down three times while throwing about 15 pitches each session. If all goes well he could be activated to make a start on the next road trip beginning Tuesday at Baltimore.
Yankees: RHP Masahiro Tanaka (10-5, 3.83 ERA) takes the mound in Friday’s series opener at Seattle with an extra day of rest. He is 6-0 with a 2.34 ERA in seven career starts against the Mariners and 3-0 with a 2.17 ERA in four outings at Safeco Field.
Athletics: Following Thursday’s off day, RHP Chris Bassitt (2-3, 3.19) pitches the opener of a weekend series at home against Texas.