A’s Beat Pirates 9-5 for Second Straight Win

Oakland Athletics’ Jace Peterson doubles off Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Roansy Contreras, driving in two runs, during the first inning at PNC Park in Pittsburgh on Wed Jun 7, 2023 (AP News photo)

By: Mary Anne

The Oakland Athletics concluded a three-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on Thursday. The A’s looked to win two games in a row and hung on to beat the Pirates 9-5 in the series finale. With the win, Oakland improved to 14-50 and Pittsburgh dropped to 32-29.

The A’s starting lineup consisted of Ryan Noda, Seth Brown, Brent Rooker, Ramón Laureano, Jace Peterson, Jonah Bride, JJ Bleday, Shea Langeliers, Kevin Smith, and Hogan Harris. Harris pitched for five innings and gave up four hits, three earned runs, three walks, two strikeouts, and one home run before exiting the game.

The A’s jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Brent Rooker singled on a line drive to Ji-Hwan Bae, and Ryan Noda scored for a 1-0 lead as Seth Brown went to third base. Jace Peterson doubled on a ground ball to Connor Joe, and Brown scored for a 3-0 lead as Ramón Laureano went to third base.

Jonah Bride singled on a line drive to Bae, and Laureano scored for a 4-0 lead as Peterson went to third base. JJ Bleday singled on a line drive to Bryan Reynolds, and Peterson scored for a 5-0 lead as Bride went to second base. Noda walked, and Bride scored for a 6-0 lead as Bleday went to third base and Kevin Smith went to second base. Brown walked, and Bleday scored for a 7-0 lead as Smith went to third base and Noda went to second base.

The Pirates avoided being shutout by the A’s in the bottom of the second inning. Rodolfo Castro homered on a fly ball to center field to cut the A’s lead to 7-1.

The Pirates added two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Rodolfo Castro doubled on a fly ball to JJ Bleday, and Carlos Santana and Ke’Bryan Hayes scored to cut the A’s lead to 7-3.

The A’s extended their lead in the top of the seventh inning. Ryan Noda homered on a fly ball to left field for an 8-3 lead. Brent Rooker doubled on a sharp line drive to Bryan Reynolds, and Seth Brown scored for a 9-3 lead.

The Pirates scored a run in the bottom of the seventh inning. Connor Joe walked, and Jason Delay scored to cut the A’s lead to 9-4 as Andrew McCutchen went to third base and Bryan Reynolds went to second base.

The Pirates inched closer to the A’s in the bottom of the ninth inning, but that’s all she wrote. Bryan Reynolds singled on a line drive to Ramón Laureano, and Ji-Hwan Bae scored to cut the A’s lead to 9-5 as Andrew McCutchen went to second base.

The A’s will take on the Milwaukee Brewers at American Family Field on Friday, June 9 at 5:10 pm Pacific.

MLB podcast with Charlie O: Automatic strike out has impact on first day of spring training games; plus much more news

San Diego Padres third baseman Manny Machado took the first auto strike in baseball history Sat Feb 25, 2023 against the Seattle Mariners. Here is Machado  following through on an RBI-double during the third inning in Game 2 of a baseball NL Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Oct. 12, 2022, in Los Angeles (AP file photo)

On the MLB podcast with Charlie O:

#1 Charlie needless to say lots of changes in baseball we’ll start with living and dying with the clock how much of a factor will the clock play that could decide a big game or even knock a team out of playoff contention?

#2 Charlie Saturday was the first day of the automatic strike call rule and that’s how the Boston Red Sox and Atlanta Braves ended their game. With the bases loaded, two outs and a full count Braves second baseman Cal Conley was called out on strikes when the batter’s clock ran out on him thus the game was called in a 6-6 tie.

#3 San Diego Padres superstar third baseman was called for the very first automatic strike in MLB history when plate umpire Ryan Blakney called him for the strike for not being ready as the eight seconds ran out. Machado did end up going 2-2 against the Seattle Mariners none the less.

#4 Charlie lots of choices for Oakland A’s manager to make particularly in the outfield first JJ Bleday play left, center or right. Seth Brown will platoon between first and left field, Esteury Ruiz is slated for center and Ramon Laureano in right.

#5 The Minnesota Twins Carlos Correa who returned to Minnesota with a six year $200 million said “I could sit down and cry about it (not passing the physicals and loss of salary money with the Giants and Yankees) or I could keep working” and Correa has returned can he live up to the expectations even with the lower leg injury?

Join Charlie O for the MLB podcasts Sundays at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Cease, Desist, Refrain: A’s have no success with ChiSox ace in 3-1 loss

By Morris Phillips

These days, Dylan Cease has everyone fooled. The foolish Oakland A’s just happened to cross paths with the Chicago’s AL Cy Young contender on Sunday.

Again, Cease was flawless, capping a July in which he went 5-1 with an ERA of 1.87, beating the A’s 4-1 in a neat, eventless stint that lasted six innings.

Framber Valdez, Justin Verlander, Alex Manoah, Martin Perez and Logan Gilbert are also among the American League’s ten best starting pitchers in 2022, and all six pitchers have seen the A’s in the last six weeks. It’s unlikely the A’s would say that any of the other five impressed them as much as Cease, who had balls darting in and–at last second–out of the strike zone throughout.

“You have to give credit to Cease, because we came out aggressive on the fastball and Cease immediately went to his breaking ball,” manager Mark Kotsay said. “It’s a plus breaking ball and a wipeout pitch.”

Cease improved to 11-4 on the season, winning each of his last four starting assignments. In an unearthly stretch dating back to May 24, the right hander’s allowed five earned runs in 12 starts, and no more than one run in any of the 12.

Adam Oller took the loss, allowing homers to Jose Abreu (2nd inning) and Eloy Jimenez (7th) while pitching quite effectively in between those two bookmarks. Oller’s record fell to 1-4 with a 7.68 ERA but this particular outing was one of his best.

“I thought I executed pretty well, and threw two cutters that backed up,” Oller said afterwards. “Aside from those two, I made good catches and was ahead in the count a decent amount.”

The A’s started the post All-Star break with wins in seven of nine games before dropping the last two in Chicago. The team’s spirits are up, their play has been sharp, and their home run numbers have made a sharp increase. On Sunday, Ramon Laureano homered, and later on, doubled with both blows coming against Cease.

Outside of those two Laureano highlights, the A’s did little offensively, including an unsightly two at-bats all afternoon with runners in scoring position that both ended their respective innings. Not only was Cease good, but the A’s saw familiar faces Kendall Graveman and Liam Hendricks, also good, with Hendricks pitching the ninth and earning his 20th save.

The A’s have a pair of off-days this upcoming week before facing the Giants at the Coliseum on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Frankie Montas faces Noah Syndergaard on Tuesday in the A’s next game at Anaheim.

NOTES: The A’s improved play hasn’t immediately impacted their century-low offensive numbers with the team batting average at .214 and the A’s scoring one run or no runs in 34 of their 104 games. This week is the critical one in regard to the team’s streak without at least one triple, which reached 64 games on Sunday. The major league mark for a team going without a triple is 68 games.

Early Start Equates To Early Offense: A’s fall behind and lose to the Guardians 6-3

By Morris Phillips

Right now, a matchup between baseball’s most productive hitter and the game’s least effective offense is a mismatch. That’s more bad news for the struggling A’s.

The A’s got their final look at the Cleveland Guardians and it didn’t do much to change the current state of affairs. The Guardians–winners on Sunday by a 6-3 score–are heating up, and the A’s continue to struggle, losing for the 32nd time in their last 43 games, despite ending a lengthy losing streak on Saturday. The Guardians have won 11 of 15 to plant themselves firmly in the race for the AL Central crown.

Jose Ramirez knocked in three runs for Cleveland, the first two to give the hosts a first inning lead after the A’s got a home run from Ramon Laureano. The Guardians went on to score three in the first, two in the sixth and one in the seventh to build a 6-1 lead. Ramirez leads all big league hitters with 59 RBI.

The A’s staged a late rally in the eighth with back-to-back home runs from Christian Bethancourt and Seth Brown. Sean Murphy then drew a walk, but Cleveland reliever Trevor Stephan settled down and got Elvis Andrus to fly out to end the inning.

The A’s hit the road this week after a 1-9 home stand hoping to reverse their fortunes. But through the first two stops on the roadie, they’re 1-5. The A’s have the lowest team batting average at .211 and despite hitting three home runs for only the third time this season on Sunday, they’ve hit the second fewest in baseball at 44.

“I think guys are getting more confident, taking better at-bats,” manager Mark Kotsay said. “We’ve known the power is in there for the guys that hit the home runs.”

As the A’s issues have persisted, those issues have multiplied. The team’s pitching has deteriorated with the team ERA above 5 1/2 runs over the last 28 games. Cole Irvin, Sunday’s starter allowed at least six hits in a start for the sixth, consecutive start despite settling down considerably after a rocky first inning.

However, the defense contributed to Sunday’s poor start as Andrus misplaced a ground ball hit by leadoff hitter Myles Straw. That was the A’s 41st error on the season.

Winning pitcher Cal Quantrill went six innings, allowing four hits and a run, his fifth win of the season. Emmanuel Clase pitched the ninth and struck out Matt Davidson and Tony Kemp with Chad Pinder on second base to end the game and earn his 11th save.

The A’s travel to Boston and face the Red Sox starting Tuesday with Jared Koenig the team’s scheduled starting pitcher.

Oakland A’s podcast with Jeremiah Salmonson: A’s look to Marte after Laureano’s 80 game suspension

Oakland A’s outfielder Ramon Laureano said that he is educated enough about banned substance abuse and that he would never dishonor teammates, family and coaches. MLB says they have found traces of banned substance in Laureano’s test and Laureano has been suspended from baseball for 80 games effective immediately (file photo from athleticsnation.com)

On the A’s podcast with Jeremaiah:

#1 Oakland A’s outfielder Ramon Laureano suspended for 80 games for traces of a anabolic steroid the traces were minimal enough for MLB to rule that Laureano violated baseball’s zero tolerance policy on steroid or illegal substance abuse policy.

#2 The A’s newly acquired outfielder Starling Marte who also was suspended for the same substance in 2017 when Marte played with the Pittsburgh Pirates will be heavily relied on to pick up the pieces of the loss of Laureano.

#3 The A’s can’t afford to get too relaxed with the Texas Rangers (36-69) who are without Joey Gallo who was dealt to the New York Yankees. Even so the A’s have split their first ten meeting with the Rangers who are looking for more wins.

#4 The right now would love to get within range of the AL West first place Houston Astros who have a 4.5 game lead on Oakland and the A’s are hoping to cut down some of those games before it gets away from them.

#5 For the first of the four games at the Coliseum the Texas Rangers will be sending Mike Foltynewicz (2-10 ERA 6.00) he’ll be matched up against the Oakland A’s Chris Bassitt (11-3 ERA 3.28) Jeremiah tell us how you see this match up tonight at the Coliseum.

Join Jeremiah for the A’s podcasts each Friday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

A’s survive two Twins comebacks, and win 7-6 at Target Field

By Morris Phillips

The A’s 7-6 win over the Twins Sunday wasn’t wild solely based on the game’s dramatic ebbs and flows, but also because numerous pitches were wild, and timely enough to decide the game’s outcome.

Oh yeah, and the umpiring was wild enough to have the A’s declare this a win against all odds.

“If you want to look at one game and say ‘what are the Oakland A’s made of?’ this was the game,” starting pitcher Chris Bassitt said. “I mean, every single thing went against us… and we still won.”

The A’s needed responses to a pair of Minnesota comebacks, the second of which concluded with Ramon Laureano scoring the winning run in the ninth on Taylor Rogers’ wild pitch. Matt Chapman actually struck out swinging on the pitch that crossed up catcher Mitch Garver, with the ball bounding all the way to the backstop, then up the first base line.

The setup for the dramatic, go-ahead run could have been an A’s hard-earned hit-and-run single, but it wasn’t. Instead, the Twins’ Josh Donaldson dropped Rogers throw off a come-backer that was tailor-made for an inning-ending double play. That set the A’s up with the go-ahead run at third with one out.

“Probably could have been better on my part,” Rogers said, not particularly enthusiastic about reliving a nightmare ninth inning. “Probably could have been caught on his part. I don’t know. It is what it is. No sense in looking at it, because it ain’t changing.”

The decisive ninth encompassed all of the weekend’s storylines: the Twins desperate to climb out of a dismal start to the season, and build on a dramatic, Saturday night win, couldn’t, while the far more fortunate, first-place A’s found a way to keep things rolling.

To wit, the Oakland offensive attack was quite unconventional for 2021: no homers, no run-scoring doubles, instead base hits, sac flies, advancing runners –and thanks to the home team–take full advantage of opponent’s mistakes. Incredibly, again given how teams attack these days, the A’s scored all seven runs one at a time with at least one base runner aboard each time.

Unconventional? Elvis Andrus found himself in a run down in between third and home, one out and the A’s trailing by a run in the fifth. Dead to rights, right? But the veteran Andrus took advantage of rookie Twins catcher Ben Rortvedt, by inducing a quick throw to third, then reversing ground to home, and slyly brushing Rortvedt, who wasn’t savvy enough to concede the baseline.

The call? Catcher’s interference, an Andrus scores to tie the game. Resourceful? You bet, leaving manager Bob Melvin to marvel at his team’s resolve.

“People keep asking me about how you respond from something like (Saturday’s loss). Guys keep doing it. A lot of heart on this team,” Melvin said.

Bassitt pitched five innings that were anything but smooth. In the second, he hit two batters, which conveniently set the table for Max Kepler’s three-run homer. The veteran pitcher then saw his pitch count explode through three innings, with 52 of his 61 pitches expended in the second and third.

But he continued to battle, somehow getting through five innings without exposing the Oakland bullpen early.

The A’s finish their brief trip to Boston and Minneapolis at 4-2 and now return to the Coliseum for Tuesday’s showdown with the second-place Astros.

Ramon To The Rescue: Laureano takes control late, A’s rally to beat the Orioles, 7-5

By Morris Phillips

OAKLAND–The second Ramon Laureano fist pump came about six minutes after the first. And in Oakland A’s parlance, that’s the definition of winning time as the centerfielder hand-delivered a 7-5 win over the Orioles at the Coliseum.

Laureano’s first act was a leaping catch of D.J. Stewart’s drive to the centerfield wall that would have broken a 5-5 tie and given the Orioles an eighth-inning lead. Instead, Stewart stood motionless at the plate staring at Laureano with the ball snow-coned in his glove. The great catch picked up reliever Yusmeiro Petit–who responded with a fist pump of his own–and left Ryan Mountcastle stranded at second base.

Then with two outs in the bottom of the inning, and Mark Canha on board with a single, Laureano delivered a go-ahead two-run homer off Travis Lakins, who hadn’t allowed a run and only two hits in his previous nine appearances this season.

“He’s unbelievable out there in center,” starting pitcher Sean Manaea said of Laureano. “Each time it just impresses you a little bit more than it already has, which is insane because the bar is already crazy high. It’s awesome.”

“That’s just taking over a game,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “It’s taking away two and giving you two. That’s pretty dramatic stuff.”

The win eased the frustration of dropping three straight to Baltimore and kept the A’s ahead of the pack in the AL West, a game in front of the Mariners, and a game-and-a-half ahead of the Astros.

The A’s came in a week removed from their 13-game win streak, a stark reminder in itself that the team had won just three of 15 outside the streak, including eight losses at home. Getting swept by the Orioles, along with producing baseball’s most bizarre story of the weekend–Jesus Luzardo breaking his finger while playing video games–wasn’t the team’s preference for sure.

But the improving O’s gave the A’s all they could handle, tying the game, 2-2 in the third, 4-4 in the fifth, then briefly leading 5-4 in the seventh.

It was at that point the A’s took control and the Orioles’ two bullpen standouts–Lakins and Paul Fry–uncharacteristically allowed runs to score. That Laureano was in the middle of it all wasn’t a surprise, the defensive standout has developed a reputation for lifting his team in high-leverage situations.

The A’s welcome back Marcus Semien on Monday, as the Blue Jays arrive for a four-game set with Frankie Montas and Steven Matz battling in the opener.

Cut down at Camden Yards: A’s 13-game win streak ends with 8-1 loss to the Orioles

By Morris Phillips

Well, you can’t argue about a 13-game win streak, especially the A’s just concluded job with all the runs they scored and how lopsided many of the wins were.

No stretch to say that the A’s were hot enough that they weren’t going to lose to just anyone, not after constructing the biggest win streak in MLB in nearly four years.

Well, on Sunday afternoon John Means wasn’t just anyone. Means pitched into the seventh inning and refused to let any Oakland hitter get solid contact on his pitches outside Ramon Laureano’s solo shot in the fourth, his only blemish.

Austin Hays was the just the high-level sidekick Means needed, with homers in the second and fourth innings to give the Orioles a lead then give them lead for good. Baltimore added five runs in the bottom of the eighth to win convincingly.

Bob Melvin was philosophical after such a disappointing ending to a brilliant two-week stretch.

“I mean, you do want to win series but you also want to get greedy. And we’ve been greedy here recently,” the A’s manager said. “It’s about winning every game that you go out there and play. At the end of the day, if you leave and you win a series, that’s a good thing. But we wanted to win today. We wanted to win bad today.”

Means lowered his ERA in April to 1.50 by being the master of versatility, mixing in a moderate number of strikeouts (6) with a lot of weak contact on balls put in play, along with a hint of caution, three walks issued all at strategic junctures. On a day where Means threw more balls and had pitches fouled off (57 of 101 total pitches) than guys normally do and have success, the 28-year old veteran helped himself with a lot of patience and determination.

“He was exceptional today,” manager Brandon Hyde said of his ace. “The way he’s throwing the baseball right now — you feel good about your chances when John Means is on the mound. This is a guy who is going to pound the strike zone and be really competitive with multiple pitches to mix. He’s facing playoff-type lineups and going into the seventh inning.”

Means, a draft day afterthought who has worked himself into a staff number one, has seen just three starters perform better through the season’s first five starts: only Jacob de Grom, Corbin Burnes and Joe Musgrove have lower ERAs. The key for a Cy-Young level performer who has never had overpowering stuff?

Keep ’em off-balance.

“Because of the breaking balls, they can’t just look high-low anymore,” Hyde said of Means’ repertoire. “Being a little more unpredictable and his pitch mix is going to create guys not being on time. That’s the difference between this year and in the last couple years.”

The first-place A’s aren’t a playoff-type lineup just yet–not after the most fascinating and confounding 22-game start to a season in a lengthy period of big league history. But after Sunday, they know what needs fixing: an anemic team batting average of .218.

The best American League pitchers will take advantage of a lineup that makes too many outs and strikes out nearly nine times a game. The A’s and Bob Melvin are aware of it, as were Jose Berrios, Matthew Boyd and Jose Urena, the other starting pitchers that pitched well against Oakland during the 13-game streak. The A’s ability to draw walks, hit home runs, and make decisive, offensive plays in close games will only take them so far. In this case, 13 games into what could have a been a 14-game win streak.

The A’s head to St. Petersburg for a three-game set with the Rays that starts Monday. A potential rematch with Means looms for the opener of the homestand on Friday night at the Coliseum.

Not Socially Distant: Astros get closer to the A’s physically and verbally than with their play in a 7-2 loss

By Morris Phillips

Just to be clear: no masked men or well-to-do baseball players were seriously injured in Sunday’s un-socially, close-up basebrawl at the Coliseum. Combatants got face-to-face–a no-no in 2020 in itself–and choice words were exchanged, clearly audible in an empty stadium. But both sides were fully aware their actions will draw suspensions and hefty fines. More than bearhugs, the likelihood of penalties prevented things from escalating.

The dustup grabbed the headlines, but the bigger takeaway was that the A’s dealt the Astros a technical knockout with a sweep that gives them a sizeable, division lead in a pandemic-truncated season.

Simply, the A’s are hot, and that’s changing things in the AL West.

A 7-2 win completed the three-game sweep over the Astros, giving the A’s a 5 1/2 game lead (5 games ahead of second-place Texas) over their rivals. The A’s have won nine straight, and have their best record after 16 games since 2013.

“It doesn’t damper anything. We swept these guys, and that was our intent,” manager Bob Melvin said of the brawl. “That won’t damper what transpired.”

Jesus Luzardo pitched five plus innings to earn the win in just his second-ever, big league start. The 22-year old allowed two runs on five hits and outpitched 23-year old Cristian Javier in a matchup of up-and-coming arms.

Rex Grossman, Matt Olson and Matt Chapman homered off Javier as the A’s built a 5-0 lead after three innings. The A’s have homered 21 times in 16 games, the needed counterpoint to their 164 strikeouts and .214 team batting average.

Juli Gurriel’s two-run homer in the fourth put the Astros on the board, but they would be shut out the rest of the way. The A’s added on with Mark Canha’s infield single in the fifth that scored Marcus Semien, and Chapman’s RBI double in the seventh.

Laureano was hit in the back by rookie Humberto Castellanos’ pitch in the bottom of the seventh which prompted a jawing session between the batter and Houston coach Alex  Cintron who was yelling and gesturing on the dugout steps. The incident marked the second time Laureano was hit in the game, and the fifth time an A’s batter was hit by a pitch in the series.

Of course, these teams didn’t figure to be buddy buddy after A’s pitcher Mike Fiers blew the whistle on the Astro’s sign stealing scheme that aided their run to the World Series in 2017 and 2019. But the A’s somehow avoided confrontation with the earlier plunking, but not in the seventh inning with Cintron and Laureano yelling at each other as the batter moved toward first base.

“Ramon doesn’t go over there unless something completely offensive came out of the dugout,” Melvin said. “I think the league will know who that is. That person should get suspended. Hopefully, that’s the case. Nowadays, without fans in the stands and mics everywhere, my guess is they know who it was.”

“Everybody wants you to just control your temper, which you should, but sometimes things flare out of control,” Astros manager Dusty Baker admitted. Ironically, Baker was thrown out in the previous inning for verbally disputing balls and strikes’ calls made by home plate umpire Nick Mahrley. Baker departed without confronting Mahrley.

Laureano charged the Astro’s dugout, but was tackled and never reached Cintron, then Olson, from the on-deck circle, and Chapman arrived quickly in their teammate’s defense.

Commissioner Rob Manfred has promised heavy punishment for all on-field confrontations given the additional complications of the Coronavirus. Manfred delivered on that promise two weeks ago when Dodgers’ pitcher Joe Kelly was suspended for eight games after he threw a pitch in the vicinity of batter Alex Bregman’s head.

But no one charged the mound–or the opposing dugout–in the Dodgers-Astros’ bench-clearing incident. Laureano did. That probably will cost the valuable centerfielder five games or more.

The A’s travel to Anaheim for a three-game series with the Angels that starts Monday evening with Sean Manaea getting the start. Julio Teheran will pitch for the Angels.

No Frustration When You Win: A’s slip past the Mariners 3-2 at T-Mobile Park

By Morris Phillips

The pandemic-truncated season doesn’t allow much time for teams to figure things out. But the A’s bought themselves a few extra measures with an unlikely, 3-2 win over the Mariners on Sunday.

The A’s are in mental quarantine, having hit just .175 over their last six games while scoring a measly 16 runs and enduring a three-game losing streak.

But they won the last two, they’re back over .500, and they just might get their full allotment of 51 more opportunities to look more like their true selves.

Ramon Laureano’s two-out, three-run homer in the fifth was all the offense the A’s could muster, but they made it stand up in a one-run win. The big moment was set up by two, subtle pieces of good fortune.

Former A’s starter Kendall Graveman was cruising for Seattle, but after two seasons removed from action due to Tommy John sugery, Graveman isn’t going to throw 25 plus pitches in the fifth inning of any start in 2020. Frustration had set in as well as that 25th pitch turned into a well-placed, infield single from Marcus Semien, the A’s struggling leadoff man hitting below .200 coming into the at-bat.

With runners at the corners, manager Scott Servais summoned reliever Anthony Misiewicz, a lefty facing the right-handed hitting Laureano with two outs. Why a lefty? Maybe Servais was focused on the possibility of lefthanded hitting Matt Olson coming up with the bases loaded, and wanted Misiewicz for the possibility of that task. Instead, the hot-hitting Laureano saw a second, consecutive off-speed sinker, this one in the middle of the plate, and he pounced without having to protect and speed up his bat. Laureano, Oakland’s one in-sync hitter, saw his swing produce a leisurely home run ball that exited at 98 mph.

“A hit would have been great, but a home run is a whole different ballgame,” A’s starter Chris Bassitt said of the support he received from Laureano. “It changed the whole complexion of the game. It was a big sigh of relief for everybody.”

Bassitt would depart after facing three batters in the sixth and after throwing 83 pitches. Leading 3-1 at that point, Bassitt earned the first win of the season for an A’s starter after the first eight starts resulted in an 0-4 record.

The A’s are one of six American League teams with a winning record, along with the Astros, Yankees, Twins, White Sox and the surprising Orioles at 5-3. Oakland maybe the least impressive of the six, but in a season where the top eight will qualify for postseason a winning record is where it’s at, all the style points can be inserted in October and early November. CBS’s Jon Heyman picked the A’s and Braves for an unlikely Fall Classic an he stood with the prediction over the weekend.

So now is not the time to fret over meager batting averages and faulty starters. The A’s have to just hang in there and remain positive.

“Now, we just gotta hit the ball on the barrel and find some holes,” Laureano said.

Frankie Montas faces Justus Sheffield in the finale of the four-game series on Monday.