OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)Frankie Montas allowed two hits in six sharp innings and the Oakland Athletics won their sixth straight game by beating the Detroit Tigers 3-0 on Friday night.
After opening the season with six consecutive losses, the roller-coaster A’s are back at .500 after 14 games thanks to their follow-up winning streak.
Oakland joined the 1991 Mariners and 1915 White Sox as the only teams to have both a six-game winning streak and six-game losing streak in the first 14 games of a season, according to SportRadar.
”Once you get in a hole like that you’re just trying to win games and win series and try to get your footing again,” manager Bob Melvin said. ”I guess there’s some significance with the fact we were 0-6 to start and pretty good since.”
The recent run has been fueled by strong starting pitching. Montas (2-1) gave up only an infield single to Robbie Grossman and a clean single to Victor Reyes during an impressive 100-pitch outing. The right-hander walked one and struck out seven.
A’s starters are 4-0 with a 3.13 ERA during the winning streak after going 0-7 with a 7.91 ERA in the first eight games.
”I felt like I’m the kind of pitcher when I hit my spots and am throwing strikes, it’s tough for hitters to get good timing on my two-seamer when I’m putting it where I want to,” Montas said. ”That’s what I did tonight. I located my two-seam pretty good.”
Mitch Moreland and Sean Murphy had two-out RBI hits in the fourth against Jose Urena (0-3). The Tigers have lost back-to-back games to Oakland following a three-game sweep at Houston.
Urena had a career-high eight strikeouts in seven innings and walked only two after issuing nine free passes over 7 2/3 innings in his first two starts this season.
”To see him come in on attack mode and get into the game pretty cleanly and be able to navigate his innings, it was vintage Jose Urena,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. ”It was a good performance. We really needed it.”
Matt Chapman added a home run in the eighth. Lou Trivino pitched the ninth for his second save.
Oakland 2B Jed Lowrie had two hits to give him six straight multi-hit games. Lowrie entered the season with no hits since 2018. Beset by leg injuries, he missed last season and had no hits in seven at-bats for the Mets in 2019.
Tigers: RHP Spencer Turnbull, working to be activated from COVID-19 protocol and nearing his season debut, made a rehab appearance Thursday at the club’s alternate training site and, though his velocity was down initially, threw harder as the game went on. He is getting closer to joining the Tigers, and Hinch spoke to the pitcher Friday. ”There’s a definite chance he would rejoin the rotation sometime in the Pittsburgh series,” Hinch said. ”We’ll see how he recovers, how his bullpen goes, ask him how he’s recovering.”
Athletics: RHP Mike Fiers had his second-to-last rehab outing Thursday and threw 77 pitches at the team’s Stockton alternate training site. He is scheduled to throw once more next Tuesday. ”Nothing’s for sure, everything has to go well and he’s got to be healthy and the whole bit,” Melvin said. ”We’ll try to get him to 90 on the 20th, then we look to do something.” … Oakland placed OF Stephen Piscotty on the paternity list and recalled INF Vimael Machin from the alternate site.
RHP Casey Mize (1-0, 0.82 ERA) has allowed one run over 11 innings with nine strikeouts in two starts this season heading into Saturday afternoon’s matchup with A’s lefty Cole Irvin (0-2, 7.45), tagged for eight runs on 12 hits over 9 2/3 innings in his initial two starts.
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