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Triggs keeps O's in check as A's sweep

Righty ties a career high with nine strikeouts in seven innings
Special to MLB.com

OAKLAND -- An improved slider that he tweaked in the bullpen and a nasty two-seam fastball were enough to get Athletics pitcher Andrew Triggs back on track. Another timely hit from slugger Matt Olson was also the right remedy for Oakland's suddenly quiet offense and helped lift the A's to a 2-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday.

Triggs pitched seven stellar innings of two-hit ball and matched his career high with nine strikeouts, and the A's made two fourth-inning runs stand up to complete their first series sweep of the sputtering Orioles since 2011.

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OAKLAND -- An improved slider that he tweaked in the bullpen and a nasty two-seam fastball were enough to get Athletics pitcher Andrew Triggs back on track. Another timely hit from slugger Matt Olson was also the right remedy for Oakland's suddenly quiet offense and helped lift the A's to a 2-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday.

Triggs pitched seven stellar innings of two-hit ball and matched his career high with nine strikeouts, and the A's made two fourth-inning runs stand up to complete their first series sweep of the sputtering Orioles since 2011.

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"They're down and we were hoping they stayed down for us," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "Going into the series you're trying to just look at each game individually as opposed to a sweep, but once you win the first two, obviously you want to sweep the series."

Oakland moved two games over .500, matching its high-water mark of the season.

As was the case on Saturday when Oakland's Trevor Cahill and Baltimore's Kevin Gausman traded zeros all night, pitching again dominated the day.

Triggs (3-1) had the upper hand while retiring 21 of the 23 batters he faced. He gave up a solo home run to Pedro Alvarez with two outs in the second and a single to Jace Peterson leading off the fourth, but was otherwise flawless in his second career start against the Orioles.

Video: BAL@OAK: Melvin on Triggs' impressive outing

Triggs had at least one strikeout in each inning and fanned cleanup hitter Chris Davis twice.

"It felt relatively smooth," Triggs said. "Guys were making incredible plays behind me, I was generally putting the ball where I wanted to. It's easier to sort of flow with an outing when there's less traffic out there."

Triggs was touched for four runs in 4 2/3 innings against Seattle on Tuesday when he gave up a home run to Nelson Cruz on a slider. Triggs made a few adjustments to the pitch in between starts, and the results spoke volumes.

"I tweaked a few things here and there in the bullpen," Triggs said. "It felt really good. When you're making pitches and making the pitches that you want to and you're down in the zone and forcing contact, it definitely helps to keep things rolling."

Blake Treinen got Davis to fly out with the tying run on third for his fifth save.

That was key on a day when Baltimore's Alex Cobb (0-4) was just as good. Cobb allowed five hits and had five strikeouts in six innings, but couldn't overcome a costly error by Alvarez at third base.

After Matt Joyce doubled leading off the fourth, Mark Canha hit a comebacker to Cobb, who turned and threw to Alvarez as Joyce broke for third. Alvarez dropped the throw from Cobb, retrieved the ball then threw wildly into right field while trying to get Joyce scampering back to second.

Video: BAL@OAK: Davis plates Joyce with RBI groundout

Joyce advanced to third and scored on Khris Davis' groundout. Olson followed with his RBI double to put the A's in front. 

Video: BAL@OAK: Olson rips an RBI doble to center

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Making them sweat: Treinen didn't have an easy ninth inning. He gave up an infield single to pinch-hitter Trey Mancini leading off the inning on a ball that barely reached the infield grass then threw a wild pitch that allowed Mancinci to take second. After Craig Gentry sacrificed Mancini to third with one out, Treinen got Peterson to ground out then intentionally walked Manny Machado before retiring Chris Davis to end the game.

"If there's anybody that has the weapons to get a ball on the ground with the infield in, it's him," Melvin said of his closer. "You throw 96, 97 mph and it's sinking and moving, it's tough to get them in the air."

Video: BAL@OAK: Treinen earns his 5th save of the season

SOUND SMART
A's pitchers recorded 40 strikeouts total against the Orioles, their most ever in Oakland history for a three-game series.

HE SAID IT
"There was some top-spin on it when he hit it. That was just one of those freak things. It juked me." -- Oakland's Jonathan Lucroy, on Mancini's hit in the ninth that bounced up and away from the A's catcher in front of home plate then came to a dead stop in the dirt.

UP NEXT
Left-hander Brett Anderson (0-0, 2.84 ERA) makes his first home start for the Athletics since 2013 when he opposes Dallas Keuchel and the Houston Astros on Monday night. Anderson has faced the Astros three times in his career while Keuchel lost to the A's earlier this season but is 5-5 lifetime against Oakland.

Michael Wagaman is a contributor to MLB.com based in the Bay Area.

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