OAKLAND (AP) — Mike Fiers stayed busy during the All-Star break and made three trips to the Coliseum to stay on his normal pitching routine.
The payoff? A seventh consecutive win that inched the Athletics a little closer to first-place Houston in the AL West.
Fiers pitched into the eighth inning without allowing a run, Oakland hit three solo home runs and the Athletics beat the Chicago White Sox 5-1 on Friday night.
“I didn’t want to take off too long and get out of rhythm,” Fiers said. “We had the break but I still have a job to do. It paid off because I felt really good.”
Fiers (9-3) allowed eight hits and struck out four in 7 2/3 innings to remain unbeaten over the past two months. Fiers, whose streak began with his second career no-hitter on May 7 against Cincinnati, pitched with runners on base in nearly every inning but worked out of trouble each time.
Yusmeiro Petit and Joakim Soria combined to retire three batters. Liam Hendriks struck out Yoán Moncada with runners on first and third for his sixth save.
“There’s still a lot of value in a starter that might not throw too terribly hard but a guy that you can throw a lot of pitches with and can do some different things and get you different looks,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. “He might not strike out 10 guys and overpower you but in his own way he does.”
Ramón Laureano, Jurickson Profar and Mark Canha went deep for the A’s. Laureano and Profar went back-to-back in the second inning, the sixth time this season that Melvin’s club has hit consecutive home runs.
Marcus Semien had an RBI triple and Matt Chapman singled twice. Every A’s starting position player collected at least one hit.
Oakland has won eight of 10 and moved within six games of Houston in the AL West.
Moncada had three singles for Chicago to extend his hitting streak to 14 games. The White Sox have lost six of their last seven games at the Coliseum.
“We strung some things together but we weren’t able to get a big hit or put any runs across,” Chicago manager Rick Renteria said. “(Fiers) seemed to be able to get himself out of some jams. He pitched very well.”
The A’s backed Fiers by homering in their 13th consecutive game, matching their season high.
Laureano hit his 17th home run on a 2-2 pitch from Chicago starter Iván Nova, a towering drive into the second deck in left field. Two pitches later Profar hit his 11th homer to right field. Canha homered off Nova in the sixth.
“We feel good throughout our lineup,” Melvin said. “It’s not like we have to take a break and swing back around to the top of the lineup to feel like we have to score runs.”
Nova (4-8) beat the Chicago Cubs in his last outing to halt a seven-start winless streak but couldn’t make it two in a row. The right-hander allowed 10 hits and four runs in six innings.
“We didn’t get the results that we wanted but we feel good about it,” Nova said. “The first two months really killed me but I’m pitching better.”
The White Sox called up first baseman A.J. Reed from Triple-A Charlotte before the game. Reed, who was claimed off waivers from Houston on Monday, went 1 for 4 as Chicago’s designated hitter.
Athletics: LHP Sean Manaea (shoulder surgery) will start for Double-A Stockton on Saturday. RHP Jharel Cotton (elbow surgery, hamstring surgery) will make a rehab start for Triple-A Las Vegas.
Oakland RHP Chris Bassitt (5-4, 4.29 ERA) is winless in two career starts against the White Sox. White Sox manager Rick Renteria has not named a starting pitcher, although RHP Dylan Covey (1-4, 4.58) is expected to be activated off the injured list to make the start.
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