OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Athletics manager Bob Melvin feels a lot better about his starting rotation than he did four days ago.
Oakland right-hander Frankie Montas feels pretty good, too, if for no other reason than knowing he won’t have to pitch against Khris Davis anytime soon.
Davis homered for the fourth time in six games, Montas became the latest A’s starter to stymie the Angels, and Oakland beat Los Angeles 2-1 on Sunday.
Marcus Semien and Matt Chapman had two hits apiece for the A’s, who took three of four from the Angels after getting swept by Seattle in a two-game series in Tokyo to start the season.
“That’s what winning teams do, they win the close games,” Semien said. “We didn’t have a great offensive day but it felt like we had a great team day. Frankie was throwing really hard and our bullpen did what they do. That’s a good thing for us.”
Montas (1-0) pitched into the seventh inning, allowed three hits and struck out six in a splendid outing for the young right-hander. He gave up a leadoff double and hit Mike Trout with a pitch to begin the game, then retired 16 straight batters before Kole Calhoun connected for a two-out homer in the sixth.
That followed strong outings by fellow A’s starters Mike Fiers, Marco Estrada and Brett Anderson, each of whom pitched six scoreless innings against the Angels.
“We didn’t have enough spring to really think that this could potentially happen,” Melvin said. “I don’t think you ever envision early in the season four guys going out there and giving you the results like that. Frankie was the one guy that we thought was coming along.”
Calhoun’s homer was the first by the Angels this season and the only run they scored off an Oakland starter in 24 innings during the series. Los Angeles was held to two runs or fewer in three of the four games.
“I certainly credit their pitching,” Angels manager Brad Ausmus said. “We just aren’t hitting on all cylinders right now as an offense. We just aren’t clicking.”
Davis remained the hottest A’s hitter with his third home run in four days, a towering shot off starter Tyler Skaggs (0-1) leading off the fourth. The slugger led the majors with 48 home runs in 2018.
Montas, who bounced back and forth between the minors and majors last season, hasn’t had to face Davis. For that he is thankful.
“Every pitcher that steps on the mound and has to face Khris Davis, their heart is pumping hard,” Montas said. “Either he’s going to hit a home run or he’s going to get you good. It’s tough. I feel sorry for them. Thank God we’re on the same team.”
Semien doubled in the fifth and scored on Chapman’s two-out single.
Lou Trivino retired three batters after Montas allowed a leadoff double in the seventh. Joakim Soria pitched the eighth and Blake Treinen worked the ninth for his second save.
Skaggs took a scoreless streak of 17 1/3 innings at the Coliseum into the game before Davis’ home run. The Angels left-hander allowed two runs and five hits in 4 2/3 innings. He struck out two, giving him 400 for his career.
The Angels’ bullpen has not allowed a run this season, a streak of 12 2/3 innings.
EVEN STINGIER CLOSER
Treinen has not permitted a run in four appearances this season, extending his scoreless streak to 23 innings dating to 2018. Treinen has a streak of 24 shutout innings at the Coliseum.
TROUT LOVES FACING OAKLAND
The Angels’ seven-time All-Star has feasted on A’s pitching over the years and got off to another good start in this series, going 4 for 12 with a pair of doubles and three RBIs. Trout didn’t homer in the series but has hit at least one against Oakland in each of the last seven seasons.
Angels: Albert Pujols did not start but grounded out as a pinch-hitter in the eighth. ... RHP Jesus Castillo cleared waivers and was sent outright to Double-A Mobile. Castillo was designated for assignment last week to make room for OF Brian Goodwin.
Athletics: RHP Chris Bassitt (bruised right leg) threw 40 pitches in a side session before the game. Melvin said Bassitt might face hitters in the next step of his rehab program.
Angels: RHP Chris Stratton, acquired in a trade with San Francisco, makes his Angels debut Monday in Seattle. Stratton went 10-10 with a 5.09 ERA last season.
Athletics: RHP Aaron Brooks faces the Red Sox in the opener of a four-game series Monday at the Coliseum. Brooks has pitched against Boston once, as a reliever in 2015.
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/tag/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports