Fiers on fire: Righty K's 8 over 7 shutout innings

August 9th, 2019

CHICAGO -- Mike Fiers said he’s battling a summer cold and didn’t feel great at the start of Friday’s game. He then spent the next two-plus hours making the hitters sick.

Fiers tossed seven scoreless innings to extend his winning streak to a career-high nine games, and the A’s hit three home runs in a 7-0 rout of the Chicago White Sox.

“Getting here, I didn’t feel that well,” Fiers said, “but after the first couple of innings I felt like myself.”

Fiers (11-3) allowed just three hits with eight strikeouts and no walks. The 34-year-old right-hander is 9-0 with a 2.12 ERA over his last 17 starts dating back to his no-hitter against the Cincinnati Reds on May 7.

“I think everything was working today,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said of Fiers. “He was spotting his fastball. He was throwing it on the corner and down when he needed to, he was elevating it when he needed to, good curveball, good slider, good changeup, everything.

“It’s one of those games where you look up after seven innings and he’s got no walks and eight strikeouts, that means he’s locating pretty well.”

Chad Pinder had a two-run homer and Matt Chapman and Stephen Piscotty added solo shots as the A’s won for the fifth time in seven games.

It was Melvin’s 700th win (against 649 losses) in nine seasons with the A’s.

“It feels like it’s been a short period of time, and it feels like it’s been forever,” Melvin said.

Chapman, who’s been slumping, provided all the support Fiers needed with a first-inning homer off White Sox starter Ross Detwiler (1-3). It was Chapman’s career-high 25th.

It was also his first at-bat since he had Pinder cut off nearly all of his hair hours before the game.

“It was getting long and annoying and I really didn’t have time for a haircut, so we just shaved it all off,” Chapman said.

He was asked if the new look was a way to try to snap out of a 2-for-47 stretch.

“I’m not going to say it was fully for that,” Chapman said. “I’m just going to say it was a win-win.”

The homer was Chapman’s first hit since a game-winning two-run homer against Brewers closer Josh Hader in the eighth inning on Aug. 1.

Chapman went 0-for-7 in a two-game series against the Cardinals last weekend and 0-for-9 during the three-game stint against the Cubs at Wrigley Field earlier this week.

Before the homer against Hader, Chapman had been mired in a 1-for-30 skid. He finished 2-for-5 on Friday.

Piscotty made it 2-0 when he led off the second with a 403-foot blast to the bleachers in left.

The A’s then broke the game open with a five-run eighth as the first six batters in the inning reached.

Mark Canha led off with a walk and Pinder homered to make it 4-0. After Khris Davis walked and Piscotty singled to put runners on first and second, Jurickson Profar doubled to right to drive in a run and Dustin Garneau followed with a double to left to drive in two more to make it 7-0.

Fiers threw 95 pitches and was going to begin the bottom of the eighth if it was still a tight game.

“He was going out for the eighth regardless in a 2-0 game,” Melvin said. “Once it got a little lengthy and we opened it up, we got some of the other guys some work who haven’t pitched a lot.”

That was about the only way Fiers was coming out prematurely.

“It’s hard to think back and try to remember a run like this for, really, anybody,” Melvin said. “He just continues to throw well, and today was one of his better games, actually.”