Photo credit: @MLBNetwork
By Matthew Harrington
The Oakland A’s hit a pair of solo homeruns in the first two innings to stake starter Mike Fiers to a 2-0 lead, and it’d be all he needed in a stellar seven-inning performance allowing no runs to the Chicago White Sox. Of course, the A’s would add in another five runs in the top of the eighth to turn the close contest in to a rout in a 7-0 A’s win in the South Side.
Fiers twirled a gem, punching out eight Pale Hosers, while scattering just three hits and walking none to give Oakland a tie with the Tampa Bay Rays for the second wild card spot with Tampa yet to play in San Diego Friday night. Matt Chapman and Stephen Piscotty hit solo shots in the first and second innings off former Athletic Ross Detwiler. Chad Pinder had the big blow in a five-run eighth inning, hitting a two-run homer, while Dustin Garneau knocked in a pair as well.
After Marcus Semien grounded out to open the game, Matt Chapman fell in an early 0-2 against Detwiler. He took a ball then sent an 84-mph changeup on a line over the wall in left for his 25th homer of the season. Piscotty would open the next inning working Detwiler to a 2-0 account before missing on another changeup. He took Detwiler to centerfield on the 4th pitch of the at bat, a sinker belt high for a 2-0 lead.
While Fiers (11-3, 3.30 ERA) was near unhittable, Detwiler did settle in. He exited the game with an out in the fifth having given up only four hits and the two runs, but control was an issue. The lefty (1-3, 5.35 ERA) struck out four, but also walked a quartet. Jose Ruis pitched 1 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball, including stopping a pair of inherited runners from scoring to keep the game in reach.
The game was handed over to Jace Fry in the eighth inning, who struggled for the jump. He worked a full count on Mark Canha, but lost him on ball four, then surrendered Chad Pinder’s 11th homer of the year on a 3-1 count for a 4-0 A’s lead. He then walked Khris Davis and gave up a single to Jurickson Profar before being replaced by former San Francisco Giant Josh Osich without recording an out.
Jurickson Profar gave Osich a rude welcome, sending a line drive past Leury Garcia at second on the first pitch to knock in Khris Davis for a 5-0 A’s lead and a double. Dustin Garneau would also jump on the first pitch, hitting a double to left that would score Piscotty and Profar for a 7-0 lead. He bounced back to strike out Marcus Semien and coax groundouts from Matt Chapman and Matt Olson, respectively.
With the lead in hand, manager Bob Melvin tabbed trade acquisition Jake Diekman with the bottom of the eighth inning. He struck out Matt Skole and Ryan Cordell on four pitches each then forced a ground out from Garcia in his frame. Joakim Soria nailed down the win in the ninth, allowing a single to James McCann but being otherwise flawless.
The A’s and White Sox meet again on Saturday at 4:10 p.m. PT.