Piscotty leads resourceful Athletics past Angels, 7-4
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — The Oakland Athletics know they can count on their power. Their last two performances in Anaheim demonstrated they’ve got what it takes to score in many other ways.
Stephen Piscotty homered and drove in two runs, and Mike Fiers pitched six solid innings in the A’s 7-4 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday night.
Ramon Laureano had two RBIs and Mark Canha reached base four times for the A’s, who rebounded from a five-game skid by taking two of three in Anaheim. Piscotty’s seventh-inning homer was only a grace note on a second straight symphonic display of run production by an offense that can do more than blast the long ball.
“We know we can hit some homers, but when we win games like this, it’s good,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. “We have to be able to win games without the homers.”
The A’s finished third in the big leagues last season with 227 homers, and they’re eighth this year with 94 after hitting at least one in 14 of their last 15 games.
But after they scored nine runs without a homer Wednesday night, the A’s cobbled together six runs in a two-inning stretch Thursday without an extra-base hit against Tyler Skaggs (4-6). Laureano had an RBI single and a sacrifice fly during the rallies.
Oakland scored three in the fourth inning with four consecutive singles and a sacrifice fly during a rally that began with Piscotty’s single. The A’s added three more in the fifth with just one hit, capitalizing on three walks, two errors and two more sacrifice flies.
“I like the runs we’ve been putting up collectively,” said Khris Davis, who had that RBI single in the fifth. “I feel like we’ve got a rhythm going. It feels good to know things are clicking.”
Mike Trout hit a two-run homer for the Angels, who have lost three of four.
One night after these teams played the longest nine-inning game in Angel Stadium history in a glacial 4 hours, 13 minutes, Oakland won another deliberately paced game behind Fiers (5-3), who yielded seven hits and three runs while earning his second career victory at the Big A.
The Halos dropped the series to their California rivals with a performance including three errors and a second straight night of ineffective pitching.
Skaggs couldn’t get an out in the fifth inning, matching his shortest start of the season on a night when Los Angeles was hoping for a lengthy outing from its left-hander. Skaggs yielded six singles and a season-high four walks in his fourth consecutive winless start.
“The command wasn’t there,” Angels manager Brad Ausmus said. “Skaggsy wasn’t as sharp as he has been on other days. He had a couple of 10-pitch at-bats that wore him down. Just an off day.”
Trout trimmed Oakland’s lead to 6-3 in the fifth with his 16th homer, a two-run shot that went 403 feet. The two-time AL MVP homered in his second straight game and for the fourth time in his last seven games, but the Angels couldn’t measure up to their 10-run performance in Wednesday’s extra-long game.
“I think the A’s played the same game as us, and they were fine,” Ausmus said. “I don’t want to use that as a crutch.”
Piscotty got his solo shot in the seventh off Jaime Barria, who pitched five innings of three-hit relief that included five consecutive strikeouts late.
OHTANI HEATING UP
Shohei Ohtani went 1 for 4 and scored a run for the Angels. The 2018 AL Rookie of the Year has a hit in seven of his last nine games.
Athletics: RHP Jharel Cotton had surgery on his right hamstring, delaying his return from Tommy John surgery. Cotton, who hasn’t appeared in a major league game since 2017, made three recent minor league appearances. “Obviously it’s going to be some time, at least a few weeks” until Cotton pitches again, Melvin said. “At least he can still keep his arm in shape, but that’s going to set him back considerably.”
Angels: Andrelton Simmons fielded grounders before the game, taking another step in his return from a sprained ankle. The Gold Glove shortstop still has no firm date for his return, but he is also taking swings.
Athletics: Brett Anderson (6-4, 3.95 ERA) takes the mound when Oakland opens a four-game series at Texas, which will start Lance Lynn (7-4, 4.50).
Angels: Andrew Heaney (0-0, 4.09 ERA) makes his third start of the season when Los Angeles opens a three-game home series with the Mariners, who counter with Marco Gonzales (5-6, 4.89).