A's snap five-game skid, keep pace with Angels
Crisp, Kazmir lead way as Oakland stays a half-game back in AL West
OAKLAND -- The A's returned to the Coliseum on Tuesday in search of some answers. They had lost five straight games and seven of their last eight. They had scored three runs or fewer in seven of eight, as well. And, most importantly, they had slipped behind the Angels in the American League West.
But home cooking is often a good remedy for these A's, and that was the case in the first of two meetings with the Mets. Oakland won, 6-2, and while it was not quite an offensive eruption for the team that has scored the most runs in baseball, it was a step in the right direction.
The most positive sign of all: a three-run triple in the fourth inning by Coco Crisp, who entered the night batting .123 (9-for-73) since the All-Star break.
With two outs and the bases loaded, Crisp roped a fastball from right-hander Dillon Gee into the right-field corner to break a 1-1 tie.
"Felt like about 10 runs at the time," A's manager Bob Melvin said.
As Crisp goes, so go the A's. They are 38-24 this year in games where the center fielder tallies at least one hit. He went 2-for-5 on Tuesday, his first multihit performance since July 8.
"He's clutch, man," said closer Sean Doolittle. "He loves having the spotlight on him, and tonight he came through for us when we needed it the most."
If their leadoff hitter starts rolling, the A's could experience a ripple effect down the lineup.
"It's been tough. I haven't been hitting well at all," Crisp said. "I'm trying to figure out some things to try to be successful with whatever I'm dealing with, and I felt like these past couple of days, whatever I've been trying to do seems like it could work, so I'm trying to stick with that and see what happens."
Josh Reddick added a two-run homer in the eighth to pad the A's advantage.
"The offense was a little bit more like what we're used to seeing -- making pitchers work, making them throw some pitches, drawing some walks, getting some big hits," said Melvin.
Oakland's pitchers played their usual part in the victory. Scott Kazmir gave up one run to his former team in six innings, a homer by Travis d'Arnaud in the fourth. The southpaw struck out six and walked three, and he has posted consecutive quality starts after a couple of rough ones to open the month.
Back in June, the Mets scored seven runs off Kazmir in three innings. In the early innings on Tuesday, he again had some trouble settling in, but he made the necessary adjustments to his offspeed stuff and earned his career-high 14th win.
"I had to change my game plan a little bit," Kazmir said. "I had to try to get them off the fastball a little bit. Threw a lot of offspeed early in the counts. If I had a little bit better feel for it, I think maybe I would cut down the pitches a little bit, but I had to change my approach. Towards the end of the game, I started to feel more comfortable about throwing my curveball and my slider and my changeup."
Ryan Cook surrendered an RBI double to former A's catcher Anthony Recker in the seventh, but the Mets came no closer. For the first time in a while, Melvin was able to finish off a win with a familiar formula: Luke Gregerson in the eighth and Doolittle in the ninth.
"It's been a while," said Melvin. "We had to get them in the game at some point today."
Lately, Doolittle and the A's relievers have spent much of their time performing rally-starting voodoo to try to jolt the offense. When Crisp hit his triple, though, he was on his own.
"Fortunately, we didn't have to use any of our magic tonight," Doolittle said. "He did it himself."
For now, the A's remain a half-game out of first place in the AL West, but they will have three chances to rectify that when the Halos come to town this weekend.