Cahill sharp, A’s beat Astros 7-1 to tie for AL West lead
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The Oakland Athletics were an average team two months ago, a dozen games behind the Houston Astros and closer to the bottom of the AL West than the top.
Well, look at the A’s now.
Trevor Cahill pitched one-hit ball for seven shutout innings and the Athletics kept up their unlikely turnaround, tying Houston for the division lead by beating the Astros 7-1 Saturday.
“It’s been a nice run for sure,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said.
Khris Davis, Matt Olson, Josh Phegley and Stephen Piscotty each hit two of Oakland’s team record-tying eight doubles as the A’s won for the sixth time in seven games.
The Athletics trailed the defending World Series champion Astros by 12 games following play on June 18, having just reached the .500 mark, and were still 10 out on July 10.
Houston has lost seven of eight and dropped 12 of 19 since owning a six-game lead on July 24. The next day, reigning AL MVP Jose Altuve went on the disabled list with knee trouble, and the star second baseman is still out.
Cahill (5-2) allowed only an infield single by Yuli Gurriel in the second inning. The right-hander struck out seven, walked one and retired 14 straight batters during one stretch.
“I was able to attack the zone a little more and got some quick outs,” Cahill said. “The offense came through and made it a lot easier.”
Cahill, who was on the disabled list in June because of an Achilles injury, improved to 4-0 over his last six starts, his longest winning streak in five years. He also has won 10 decisions in a row at the Coliseum.
“He dominated us,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “He was clearly doing whatever he wanted with the ball. When they got the lead he pitched pretty aggressively and we chased. He controlled the game.”
Tony Kemp homered in the ninth for Houston’s only other hit.
Phegley had three RBIs and Davis drove in two.
Dallas Keuchel (9-10) gave up five runs and nine hits in 5 2/3 innings. It’s the most runs he has allowed since giving up six against Toronto on June 27, a span of nine starts.
The A’s matched their best record after 123 games since 1992 and are 25 games over .500 for the first time since Aug. 14, 2014. They’re now 15-1-2 over their previous 18 series dating to June 15.
Houston’s Alex Bregman walked to lead off the seventh, extending his on-base streak to 38 consecutive road games, the longest such active streak in the majors.
Oakland’s Matt Chapman went 0 for 4, ending his 14-game hitting streak and 30-game on-base streak.
The Athletics honored members of the 2002 team that had a 20-game winning streak and was featured in the movie, “Moneyball.” Scott Hatteberg, who hit a home run in the bottom of the ninth for the 20th win on Sept. 4, always felt then-manager Art Howe got a bum deal in the movie. “The story is seen through Hollywood and they needed a villain. He was not that guy,” Hatteberg said Saturday. “He was never too high or too low. That season was chock full of memories and he was not one for speeches. He stayed calm and that helped us play better.” Howe sent a video message acknowledging the team and fans.
PERPLEXED AND PUZZLED
Hinch is still not convinced that Ramon Laureano was safe at home in the bottom of the ninth Friday night, despite the play being reversed by replay. “Until I see something with his hand on the plate without the tag I’m not going to like it,” he said before Saturday’s game. “I don’t know fully what they have but we trust they have something because they have to. It feels pretty hollow.” Laureano scored the tying run and the A’s won 4-3 on Olson’s homer in the 10th.
Astros: RHP Chris Devenski struck out three and allowed two hits in a scoreless inning at Triple-A Fresno on Friday night in his second rehab appearance. ... C Brian McCann was 1 for 4 in his first rehab appearance with the Grizzlies on Thursday night as the DH. ... Altuve is scheduled to start a rehab assignment on Sunday in Tacoma and is expected to rejoin the team next week in Seattle.
Astros right-hander Justin Verlander (11-8, 2.52 ERA) faces Athletics lefty Sean Manaea (11-8, 3.44 ERA) in the series finale Sunday.