OAKLAND -- The A's rolled over their potential Wild Card opponent Wednesday and presumably struck fear in the Yankees, who will surely have to think twice about putting Luis Severino on the mound for a possible one-game playoff with Oakland next month.
The A's toppled Severino and the Yankees for an 8-2 victory at the Coliseum and yet another series win; they have won or drawn a tie in 21 of their last 23, building an MLB-best 50-21 record since June 16. Just 3 1/2 games separate them from the front-running Yankees in the AL Wild Card race -- home-field advantage is on the line -- with 21 to play.
The A's also remain 3 1/2 back of the first-place Astros in the AL West as they ready for an off-day following a grueling stretch of 20 consecutive games -- including six with Houston and four against Seattle -- that netted them 12 wins.
"In the middle of August, against the teams we were matched up against, pretty impressive," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "I told them that after the game. They play the same pace every day. Doesn't make a difference to them who they're playing. They're going out there to win a ballgame, and it's impressive to watch."
Oakland struck for four runs in the first inning, with generous help from New York's battery. Severino was charged with two wild pitches in the opening frame, while catcher Gary Sanchez permitted a pair of passed balls, helping the A's take charge from the get-go. Ramon Laureano, making his first career start in the leadoff spot, delivered a double to ignite the commotion, and the A's also got back-to-back doubles from Khris Davis and Matt Olson.
Severino entered the matchup with a 3.32 ERA and was chased by the A's in the third inning for his shortest start of the season following a two-out, two-run double off the bat of Stephen Piscotty. The A's racked up 11 hits on the night, after mustering two in Tuesday's loss.
"Everybody got it going," Laureano said. "Every guy sparked the other guy. It just put that pressure on them right away."
"To get off to the start we did against a really tough pitcher today after a tough game yesterday just shows you what these guys are all about," Melvin said. "They don't worry about the day before."
Counterpart Mike Fiers, meanwhile, found himself on cruise control after a disconcerting first inning, which saw the right-hander escape a bases-loaded jam but with loud outs. He went on to face the minimum over his next five innings, before walking his first batter of the seventh, Aaron Hicks, and yielding a homer to his next, Sanchez.
The blast prompted Fiers' departure, but it was an otherwise impressive night for the right-hander, who could be in serious consideration for a winner-take-all assignment. He has a 2.94 ERA in six starts since joining Oakland's staff last month, the A's winning each of them.
"It could be any of us," Fiers said. "We take every game right now as a playoff game. We're a couple games back from a couple teams. Every game matters. Every pitch matters. But we're not locking up in these situations. The boys are playing ball, making it tough on those other teams."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Fiers fell behind leadoff man Brett Gardner, 3-1, to open the game, and a down-the-middle fastball would have cleared the right-field wall if not for the marine layer, instead landing in Piscotty's glove. Fiers was then struck for a double by Giancarlo Stanton, and the righty issued consecutive walks to Hicks and Sanchez following Andrew McCutchen's long drive to center for the second out of the inning.
On the ropes, Fiers was not only tasked with wiggling his way out of the mess but doing so against the red-hot Luke Voit, who homered in seven of his previous 12 games. Fiers buckled down to induce a ground ball for the forceout, allowing his offense to get to work and claim a sizeable lead.
"That was the key, was getting out of that first inning," Melvin said. "He gets a ground ball, and then after that it seems like he really settled in. Mixed his pitches to where he was tough to think along with."
The A's are 24-15 (.615) against the Yankees since the start of the 2013 season, the best winning percentage by any AL team in that span.
HE SAID IT
"It's cool to contribute to a team like this. I'm just glad I'm here. I'm just another guy trying to get a ring on his finger." -- Laureano
The A's will enjoy an off-day Thursday before resuming play Friday at the Coliseum. Right-hander Chris Bassitt (2-3, 3.19 ERA) is scheduled for a start against righty Yovani Gallardo (8-3, 5.14 ERA) and the Rangers. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. PT.