Behind six crisp, scoreless innings from starter Frankie Montas, the A’s shut out the Tigers 3-0 Friday night and are now a .500 team for the first time in 2021.
Oakland (7-7) becomes the third team in MLB history to chalk up both a 6-game winning streak and a 6-game losing streak in the first fourteen games of a season.
The A’s bats were flowing in the fourth, scoring two runs off three hits and two walks. Matt Chapman hit a solo homer to add an insurance run in the eighth. The bullpen followed Montas lead and kept the Tigers (6-8) quiet all night.
Frankie Montas (W 2-1, 4.91 ERA) threw 100 total pitches, striking out seven, walking one and allowing just two hits, one to former teammate Robbie Grossman in the third, who reached on a bloop that Montas couldn’t field to his left off the mound. The second hit came from center fielder Víctor Reyes, who led off the sixth with a solid single but was left stranded.
Montas summarized the new Oakland A’s homestead vibe and what allowed him to be so successful:
“We winning, so we good. The vibe is definitely good. We are finally starting to play how we know how to play, how we expected to play and that feels great… I feel like I am the kind of pitcher when I hit my spots and I am throwing strikes, it’s tough for hitters to get a good timing on my two-seam. Especially on my two-seam when I put it where I want it and I feel like that was one of the things I did good tonight.”
The Oakland A’s pitchers have a yearly joke about which pitcher is the best athlete, but Montas will have to prove it in his next outing. He joked about his Grossman fielding play when asked if it bothered him giving up a hit to his old friend instead of allowing just one hit through six innings:
“Nah, not really. That doesn’t really bother me. I just laugh it off. I was laughing the whole time. I was like ‘man, I wish I could have got to that ball’ and it was just a funny moment during the game.”
José Ureña (L, 0-3, 5.52 ERA) kept the A’s scoreless until a two-out Oakland rally in the fourth where they scored two runs. Ramon Laureano walked before Matt Olson beat the shift in his second at-bat in a row to put runners on first and second. Matt Chapman hit into a fielder’s choice and then, with runners on the corners and two outs, Mitch Moreland beat the shift up the middle to make it 1-0.
Sean Murphy followed with an RBI double down the third base line just fair to make it 2-0. Ureña completed seven full innings and allowed two runs off seven hits. He struck out eight and walked two before being relieved in the eighth.
Bob Melvin explained what has been the key to the team’s success after a rough start. Melvin said he hadn’t really focused on getting to .500, just on just getting wins and winning series:
“I think coming up with big hits where we weren’t doing that early on and then the pitching has been a complete turnaround to this point. It all starts with our starters and our starters set the tone, they go out there and give you your confidence and give you your mojo each and everyday and now they’re kinda following each other and pushing each other and trying to better it. Our defense too, it’s really everything because we didn’t do anything for a while.”
LHP Derek Holland gave up a solo homer to Chapman (3) 409 feet to straight center to add an insurance run. Chapman leads the American League in strikeouts (21) but has come in clutch for the A’s late in games when it matters.
Melvin explained what caused such a quick shift in the team just a week after a rough week:
“I mean we didn’t excel at any facet of the game for the first six. Now you also have to give Houston credit … I think the Dodger game, the last Dodger game was big for us to get on the board and then to go to Houston, win two out of three, kinda give us our mojo back. Since then, obviously we played a lot better at every facet of the game.”
Lou Trivino came in for the ninth with a 3-0 cushion, he is the only A’s reliever to earn a save and the A’s were the last team in the majors to get a save this season. He gave up a single but needed just eleven pitches to end the game in just two hours and 31 minutes for him his second save of the season.
Stephen Piscotty hit a solo home run (2) before he exited Thursday’s game early to be with his wife, Carrie for the birth of their firstborn child, a baby boy. Piscotty was placed on the paternity list and will be out for two to three days. … Infielder Vimael Machin was called up and brings depth to a banged up roster. … Jed Lowrie was 2-for-4 on Friday with a double and single, marking his sixth-straight multiple hit game, the longest ever in his career. Lowrie has eight mutiple-hit games this season and leads the American League.