OAKLAND -- Daniel Mengden kept setting down hitters, Khris Davis made an immediate impact in his return to the lineup and the A's notched a much-needed 7-3 win to salvage the final game of a four-game series against the Rays on Thursday at the Coliseum.Mengden came into the day with
OAKLAND -- Daniel Mengden kept setting down hitters, Khris Davis made an immediate impact in his return to the lineup and the A's notched a much-needed 7-3 win to salvage the final game of a four-game series against the Rays on Thursday at the Coliseum.
Mengden came into the day with a 17-inning scoreless streak, the longest active streak in the Majors and an A's season high. The streak extended to 25 innings after he threw eight scoreless frames to start his outing before allowing three runs in the ninth.
In Mengden's past nine starts, he has a 1.66 ERA with 36 strikeouts. Manager Bob Melvin said his pitcher threw early strikes and used all of his pitches well.
"With all four pitches and pitching inside, too, you're seeing very few pitches barreled up," Melvin said. "He is very difficult to think along with [as a hitter]."
Mengden entered the ninth three outs away from becoming the first A's pitcher since Mark Mulder in 2001 to throw consecutive shutouts, but Wilson Ramos hit a two-run double to spoil the feat. Mengden said he expected to close out the game in the ninth as he approached 100 pitches, knowing he had a bit of a leash.
"It comes down to not executing pitches that last inning," Mengden said. "Did it for eight innings, didn't execute for nine."
The Rays made some noise in the ninth, forcing the A's to bring in closer Blake Treinen for the save with the tying run on deck. Shortstop Chad Pinder made a barehanded catch while falling to the outfield grass for the final out.
Mengden has won his past four starts to extend the longest winning streak of his career, with his ERA dropping to 2.91. He threw 66 strikes on 102 pitches.
"You always want to throw strikes," Mengden said. "That's the objective. Throw strikes, get outs. Pounding the strike zone as much as I can."
The A's offense was bolstered by the return of Davis, who came off the disabled list and made an immediate impact. In his first at-bat, Davis roped the second pitch he saw, a fastball, off the wall in right-center for a leadoff double. That spurred a three-run second inning, as Stephen Piscotty knocked in two runs with a two-out double to left, followed by a soft single by Mark Canha to score Piscotty.
Davis said he felt decent in his return, though he still worries a little bit about swinging.
"The speed of the game is not there yet," Davis said. "I need some time to get in shape, but I feel pretty good."
Davis finished 1-for-3 with a walk, but as Melvin alluded to before the game, his presence in the lineup sparked the offense. In the seventh, Davis grounded out, but the batters around him in the order -- Matt Olson and Matt Chapman -- each crushed solo homers to extend the A's lead to 5-0.
Olson's homer went a projected 475 feet, according to Statcast™, the longest big fly hit in Oakland since tracking began. It was also the fifth-longest home run hit this season in the big leagues. Matt Joyce joined the home run party in the eighth with a two-run shot.
The A's seven runs ended a streak of 14 consecutive home games where they scored four or fewer runs. Melvin reiterated postgame that players like Davis impact the lineup without swinging the bat.
"They lengthen the lineup for you, nail down the four-hole, or not having to match up in that spot," Melvin said. "He had a big effect on the game today."
Mengden's scoreless streak of 25 innings is the longest scoreless streak by an A's pitcher since Sean Doolittle in 2014 (26 1/3) and the longest by a starter since Cory Lidle in '02 (32).
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Pinder's circus catch ended the game, with the ball bouncing off his glove before he grabbed it with his non-glove hand.
"I told him he can use his glove, too," Melvin said. "It doesn't have to be that dramatic, but it was a nice play."
HE SAID IT
"I don't think that's coincidence at all. He's got that much influence on our lineup. It changes how other teams go about pitching us. With him in the middle of the lineup, the guy's proven to be, over the past couple years, our best run producer by far and having him in the lineup gives people a little bit of a sigh of relief." -- Pinder, on Davis' impact on the lineup
Frankie Montas will pitch for the A's on Friday against the Royals as Oakland begins a five-game road trip to Kansas City and Texas. Montas fared well in his season debut on Sunday, allowing one run in six innings against the D-backs. The Royals will counter with Ian Kennedy (1-5, 5.25 ERA). First pitch is set for 5:15 pm PT from Kauffman Stadium.
Eric He is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area.