OAKLAND -- Cue the "We control our own destiny" mantra.It's been heard from every corner of the A's clubhouse down the stretch, but on Thursday they simply let their bats do the talking in another rout of the Angels that brought their magic number down to four with nine games
OAKLAND -- Cue the "We control our own destiny" mantra.
It's been heard from every corner of the A's clubhouse down the stretch, but on Thursday they simply let their bats do the talking in another rout of the Angels that brought their magic number down to four with nine games to play.
Oakland's 21-3 series-winning victory at the Coliseum moved them within 1.5 games of the Yankees for the top American League Wild Card spot.
The A's have a 6 1/2-game lead on the Rays, who lost to Toronto, for the second Wild Card berth, while 3 1/2 games separate them from the first-place Astros in the AL West after they improved to an MLB-best 58-25 since June 16.
"We just keep grinding and try to win every game," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "We know there are limited games left."
Their second straight win, coming on the heels of an atypical three-game losing streak, featured a familiar formula, a sneak attack of sorts. Less than 24 hours after breaking out for six runs in the fourth inning, the A's used a five-run third to break away.
That would have been plenty, but they struck for seven more runs -- all with two outs -- in the fourth and, just for fun, six in the sixth. It got downright silly in the seventh, when the Angels turned to position player Francisco Arcia on the mound and watched him surrender back-to-back homers to Nick Martini, the first of his career, and Chad Pinder to punctuate the season-high 21-run day and hand the Angels their worst loss in franchise history.
"You know, down the road maybe I'll tell people that guy was throwing 98 [mph] with a nasty slider," Martini said, grinning. "No, I mean I was definitely happy to get that for sure. It was definitely an exciting feeling."
Stephen Piscotty also homered, a three-run blast against starter Matthew Shoemaker -- who was around for just 2 2/3 innings -- for his second in as many days, seventh in 17 games this month and 26th on the season.
"That was special, a lot of fun," Piscotty said. "Honestly, when I saw the score on the board, it was like a football score. It doesn't happen all that often. It's a crazy game."
Right-hander Edwin Jackson held the Angels to two earned runs and compiled seven strikeouts across 5 1/3 innings for the A's, who are 13-3 when the veteran toes the rubber.
They outscored the Angels, 31-3, in the final two games of the series to pad their AL-leading run total for the month (118), getting a career-high five RBIs from Marcus Semien. The team finished 12-for-17 with runners in scoring position, totaling 22 hits -- including at least two apiece from all but one of their starting nine. Moreover, eight of their players scored two or more runs for the first time since July 25, 1929, as they fell two runs shy of the Oakland single-game record.
"When you're getting runs like, that it's always fun," Jackson said. "The main thing you want to do is go out and continue to pitch and get back into the dugout so they can continue hitting."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
A's pounce after miscue: There were two outs in the fourth inning when Martini reached base on a throwing error by Andrelton Simmons, opening the floodgates once again. The A's responded with seven straight hits before Josh Phegley -- responsible for the first two outs of the inning on a double play -- flied out for the third out. All seven runs in the inning were unearned.
"Obviously, we have the ability to score some runs, and we've been doing a really good job of it at home here recently," Melvin said. "Our lineup is deep all the way through. We feel like we have a chance to score every inning. We find different ways to do it, and we did again today."
This was the third time in Oakland history the A's scored five or more runs in an inning three times in one game. They also did it Sept. 30, 2000, against the Rangers, and June 14, 1969, opposite Boston.
HE SAID IT
"Everyone on this team has a chance to shine. It's not necessarily one person hogging all the shine. Every day it's a different hero, and everyone is cheering everyone on and everyone is happy for everyone. It's a bunch of go-getters. They aren't afraid of a challenge, and they're up for whatever the task may be."
Right-hander Liam Hendriks will make his seventh start of the month Friday, acting as an opener for the first of a three-game series with the Twins at the Coliseum. Hendriks, who will likely be limited to one inning, has not allowed a run in the first inning in any of his starts. Minnesota will counter with right-hander Jose Berrios (11-11, 3.81 ERA) in the 7:05 p.m. PT tilt.
Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB.