Oakland – After a night off on Friday, the A’s couldn’t have looked more rested. Oakland got an early lead and never looked back. Pinch-hitter Chad Pinder’s three-run homer opened up the game and gave the A’s a 8-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.
Dakota Hudson struggled on the mound early and Oakland took advantage. He walked a total of five, including two back-to-back in the first. Hudson loaded the bases with power hitter Khris Davis at the plate.
After striking him out, Mark Canha hit a single and drove in both Robbie Grossman and Matt Chapman to make it a 2-0 game. Hudson hit Stephen Piscotty to put two on with two outs. But struck out Jurickson Profar to end the threat.
By the second Hudson walked his third batter, Chris Herrmann who led off the frame with a walk. Marcus Semien followed with a double and Herrmann scored on Grossman’s sacrifice fly. Chapman walked and while Matt Olson struck out swinging, Semien scored on on a pass ball by catcher Matt Wieters making it a 4-0 game.
An error by third baseman Tommy Edman in the fifth proved costly. Herrmann hit a sharp ground ball, Edman fumbled the ball and tried for the out at first, Herrmann was safe and Davis scored to extend the A’s lead to 5-0.
The Cardinals scored three runs, Paul DeJong”s RBI single put their first run on the board in the sixth. Edman grounded out and Dexter Fowler. And Lane Thomas homered in the ninth but at that point Oakland had secured their lead on Pinder’s three-run blast.
Bottom of the seventh, both Herrmann and Semien had back-to-back walks. Pinder went yard on a fly ball to open up the lead, with no chance of St. Louis rallying back. The A’s 8-3 lead was a good sign this two-game series is off to a great start.
Piscotty returned after being on the injured list for more than a month and made a leaping catch to prevent a home run. Kolten Wong went deep to right field, Piscotty without a thought leaped off the wall for the catch and third out to end the fourth frame.
Oakland’s pitching continues to be phenomenal. Mike Fiers blanked the Cardinals for five frames. He’s been a threat on the mound and earned his career-high eighth consecutive winning decision. During his current eight game winning streak dating back to May 7, he has the lowest opponents slugging percentage (.316) in the American League.
“He’s been as good a pitcher as any in the American League for probably three months, to this point,” said Melvin on Fiers. “It was tough to take a guy like him out.
Fiers lasted 5.2 innings , allowed six hits, one run, one walk and struck out four. Usually, he’d remain in the game longer but Melvin removed him after allowing one run and three hits in the sixth. It was Fiers shortest outing since May 13.
“It was hard to take him out,” Melvin said. “But we got (Jake) Diekman, and wanted to cut down on Fiers pitch count.”
“I’m always confident,” said Fiers. “I always go out there with the mindset to win that ballgame. I like to lead this team and put us in a great chance to win every time out.”