Lowrie leads way as A's close division gap

Oakland moves within 2 1/2 games of AL West lead with series win

August 12th, 2018

ANAHEIM -- Welcome to the wild, wild West.

Not long after the Mariners pulled off a four-game road sweep of the first-place Astros on Sunday, the A's overcame a late-inning scare to close out an 8-7 series-clinching victory in Anaheim and pull within 2 1/2 games of the division lead.

Now let the real fun begin.

The A's, clinging to a 1 1/2-game lead over the Mariners for the second American League Wild Card spot, will play host to Seattle at the Coliseum for three games beginning Monday, then break for an off-day before embarking on a 20-game, no-rest stretch -- starting with the Astros.

"The next homestand is going to be a fun one," A's second baseman said. "Hopefully we get some big crowds, because this is playoff baseball essentially."

The upstart A's were as many as 12 games back of Houston in the middle of June but have been on cruise control ever since, winning 36 of their last 48 games while wrecking absolute havoc on the standings.

There was even more to celebrate on Sunday: the All-Star Lowrie, smack in the middle of a potent lineup, collected the 1,000th and 1,001st hits of his career. The doubles-bashing veteran collected one in a three-run first inning, then launched his 18th homer of the season in the fourth and first since July 24.

"There's some poetry in that," the 11-year veteran said of his double. "There's a lot of hard work that has gone into that. It's one of those big, round numbers that's exciting and memorable, so it's a pretty special moment."

Lowrie entered the day hitting just .169 in 23 games since suffering a bone bruise to his left lower leg.

"That's a lot of hits," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "It's something to be proud of, something you'll obviously treasure as the years go on, but I think he has a lot more in the tank as well.

"When you see him driving balls left-handed, that means he's using his backside really well, which means he's using his legs. He got hit in the hand pretty good in that game, too. He had a bone bruise they had to pad up, and he continued to play. Hit a home run with some pain."

chipped in with an RBI single as part of a three-hit day, staking to an early 3-0 advantage. The right-hander needed every bit of help, giving all three runs back by the end of the second, before the A's responded with four in the fourth to reclaim the lead for good. Cahill went 4 2/3 innings, allowing four runs on seven hits.

The Angels kept at it following his departure, picking up a run in the sixth and two more in the eighth when notched a two-out, two-run single against , before quieted things down with a scoreless ninth for his 30th save of the season.

"Every single win matters and, today, even though it wasn't against a team like the Mariners who we're neck and neck against, [Seattle] won, so we needed to win," Cahill said, "and we were able to grind it out and come out on top, and I think that just kind of shows you what this team is made of, and [we] just play every game like it's our last."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED

Right-hander surrendered a one-out solo homer to in the sixth and was pulled with two outs in favor of lefty as stepped to the plate. But Buchter walked Calhoun to prolong the inning and force into the game for a rematch with , who tagged him for a go-ahead, two-run homer in Friday's loss. Trivino walked Upton on nine pitches but buckled down to get Ohtani on strikes and strand two.

"That was big for him to come in and get that strikeout," Melvin said. "He's only had a couple of tough ones, and now you have to come in and face the same guy, and he ends up walking him on a tough at-bat and Upton swinging really well, and now he's facing a guy that's really good with no more. It was good, I think, confidence-wise for him."

SOUND SMART

, one of five A's batters to be hit by a pitch in the game, also singled in the second and delivered a sacrifice fly in the fourth, extending his on-base streak to 26 games. It's the second longest active streak in the Majors; St. Louis' Matt Carpenter ran his streak to 30 games on Sunday.

HE SAID IT

"We got hit five times today. That doesn't feel good. It doesn't sit well." -- Melvin, after Chapman, , Josh Phegley, and Semien were all hit by pitches

UP NEXT

The A's return to the Bay for a nine-game homestand on Monday. First up, a crucial three-game series with the Mariners. Lefty (10-8, 3.50 ERA) will toe the rubber for the A's, while Seattle will counter with southpaw (12-7, 3.79) in the 7:05 p.m. PT matchup at the Coliseum. Manaea is 1-1 with a 3.46 ERA in two starts against the Mariners this season.