ST. LOUIS -- The only consistency for the A's this season has been inconsistent play and health, making for a mostly disappointing period that's been relieved every so often by a surge of good vibes like those that radiated in St. Louis this weekend.
The A's series win over the playoff hopeful Cardinals, secured with a 7-4 victory at Busch Stadium on Sunday, could not have been predicted: They trotted out three starters thrust into those roles only by necessity, along with a designated hitter-less lineup in uniform with National League rules.
Yet the A's claimed two of three from the Cardinals, outscoring them, 11-9. Their starters -- Ross Detwiler, Zach Neal and Andrew Triggs -- allowed only seven earned runs in the three games, while the offense kept pace.
Triggs' work, continually impressive from a career reliever, earned him his first big league win Sunday. The right-hander held St. Louis to three runs and four hits in six innings with a career-high eight strikeouts while lowering his ERA as a starter to 2.92 in five showings.
"That was so awesome," said catcher Stephen Vogt, who aided the cause with a three-run homer off Jaime García. "He's been a competitor for us all year, and no matter what the role is he's been in, he's been great for us. He pitched outstanding."
Triggs' eight stints with the A's this year are believed to be the most in one season in Oakland history, yet he's handled the back-and-forth journey with ease. Sunday's win was very much a reward for Triggs, who earned it in front of about 15 friends and family members who made the drive up from his hometown of Nashville, Tenn.
"A win's a win, but that makes it a little more sweeter," Triggs said.
"I've said several times," A's manager Bob Melvin said, "that this guy has been as good a guy as we've had here with all the ups and downs and giving us three or four innings out of the bullpen when we've needed some length, knowing he's going down the next day because of it. And then to pitch as well as he has and pitch his way into the rotation, it's very rewarding to get him a win today."
Vogt's actions equaled in significance. The catcher entered the day batting just .172 over his previous 27 games, only to smack one out to right field for his first homer off a lefty this season. Each of his other 10 home runs not only came against right-handers, but were solo shots.
"I knew that, so when that one finally went out, I was like, 'Holy cow, I finally broke the streak,'" Vogt said, smiling. "It felt really good. Any time you hit a homer, it's great, and any time you can put up multiple runs for your teammates, that's what you want to do, and I haven't been having exactly great at-bats lately.
"I worked with Bushy [hitting coach Darren Bush] a lot yesterday on slowing down at the plate, giving myself a chance to hit a fastball, which I haven't been able to do lately. So fortunately I got a mistake fastball from him and didn't miss it."
Added Melvin: "Nobody works harder, nobody is more of a team guy than Vogter. Everyone is going to go through some struggles during the course of a season, but he ends up getting a huge hit for us today. The home run was really kind of the key to the game."