In what was an oddly low-scoring series through the first two games, the A’s proved they can win with less just as effectively as they can with more.
After blanking Detroit for the second time in three nights behind a dominant Trevor Cahill outing, Oakland (67-46) completed a three-game sweep of the Tigers (47-65) with a 6-0 drumming. The Sunday run total doubled that from the first two games combined.
The win also locked down a seven-game season sweep of the Tigers, the A’s second such sweep this weeks and fourth in the franchise’s 118-year history.
Khris Davis, Matt Chapman and rookie Ramón Laureano accounted for seven of the nine Oakland runs in the series. After Laureano’s extra-inning walkoff on Friday night and solo homers by Davis and Chapman Saturday, all three pitched in Sunday afternoon. Matt Olson also joined the party, capping off the victory with a two-run shot (22) in the eighth.
Of the three homers Oakland hit, only one was served up by Detroit starter Francisco Liriano (L, 3-6, 4.37 ERA), who was tagged with five hits and two runs in his five innings of work. The lefty struck out three and walked two.
Davis led off the fourth inning with his 31st home run, a liner just over the center field wall. Laureano drove in Olson shortly after with a single to right, giving the A’s a 2-0 lead.
Manager Bob Melvin said he is still caught off guard by what Davis is capable of:
“I didn’t think that ball was going out, he definitely does not have to square it up to hit a home run. I’ve seen a bunch of his homers, and he still surprises me.”
Laureano then got things going in the seventh with a leadoff single, his third in as many at-bats. After Laureano swiped second, the first steal of his major league career, Chapman took Tigers reliever Daniel Stumpf deep for his 15th homer of the season.
Laureano’s offensive accomplishments over his first three career games deserve admiration, but Melvin has been impressed with his rookie outfielder’s overall play:
“The speed dynamic, too. First step in the outfield, you look up, he’s already got a beat on it. He’s made some great plays. It’s great for him to get off to a good start because it makes you confident at the big league level.”
The Tigers lone scoring opportunity came in the opening frame. They were able to load the bases with two outs, but Cahill (W, 4-2, 3.12 ERA) recorded his first of 10 strikeouts to suppress the threat. Cahill allowed only two base runners over his next five innings of work.
Cahill chalked up his performance to his array of pitches:
“Fastball command was kinda shaky, but the curveball was probably the best it’s been all year. And the changeup is still there. I kind of worked off that. Fell behind, threw some changeups behind in the count to get back into it. I was just able to get into a good rhythm.”
Davis is appreciative of not just Cahill, but all of the starters’ efforts during the team’s recent stretch:
“It’s big momentum for our offense, to get us back in the dugout after we score. They’re doing an excellent job.”
Over the last trip through the rotation, A’s starters have worked 25-1/3 innings, allowing a single earned run. The single earned run came Wednesday against the Blue Jays; Detroit’s lone run scored over the past three games was unearned, the product of a first-inning error Saturday. Not since April of 1918 has an A’s pitching staff navigated a three-game series without surrendering an earned run.
Oakland will have a day off on Monday before hosting the Los Angeles Dodgers (62-51) for a quick two-game series. Sean Manaea (10-7, 3.38 ERA) will face Rich Hill (4-4, 3.63 ERA) Tuesday, and Brett Anderson (2-3, 4.64 ERA) will oppose Clayton Kershaw (5-5, 2.55 ERA) when the series and homestand wraps up Wednesday.
Mark Canha returned to the starting lineup after being a late scratch Saturday due to an illness. He went 0-for-3 with a run scored. … Matt Chapman’s career-best 21-game on-base streak is tied with Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez for the longest active streak in the American League. … Ramón Laureano recorded his first multi-hit game Sunday, going 3-for-4 with one run, one RBI and a stolen base. … The A’s acquired right-handed reliever Shawn Kelley and cash considerations from Washington in exchange for an undisclosed amount of international slot money. To clear a spot for Kelley on the 40-man roster, Jake Smolinski was placed on the 60-day disabled list with a blood clot in his left calf. Kelley is 1-0 with a 3.34 ERA and 0.959 WHIP in 35 games with the Nationals this season and boasts a 3.73 ERA and 1.183 WHIP in 10 big league seasons.