OAKLAND -- While the Astros and Mariners went to battle in Seattle on Monday night, the A's kept doing A's things in Oakland. Now they're back in first place.Responsible for their own destiny, the upward A's took care of business against the Rangers, thoroughly outdoing them in a 9-0 victory
OAKLAND -- While the Astros and Mariners went to battle in Seattle on Monday night, the A's kept doing A's things in Oakland. Now they're back in first place.
Responsible for their own destiny, the upward A's took care of business against the Rangers, thoroughly outdoing them in a 9-0 victory behind a commanding Mike Fiers to open a three-game series at the Coliseum.
With the Astros losing at Safeco Field, the A's jumped back into a first-place tie with Houston for the American League West lead. Oakland also holds a 3 1/2-game lead over the Mariners in the AL Wild Card race.
Ramon Laureano starred in the show, the rookie outfielder amassing five RBIs with the first and second home runs of his Major League career -- sandwiching Khris Davis' 37th homer of the season, a tape-measure solo offering that gave him 99 RBIs, second most in the Majors.
"This is a night we made the park look small, and it started with Ramon," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "We got some power, and I was joking the dugout about these warm summer nights in Oakland. They weren't buying it."
Old friend Bartolo Colon yielded seven runs, while Fiers held the Rangers to one hit over seven solid innings, retiring 18 in a row to cap his night. The right-hander labored through his first two innings, needed 46 pitches in that span, before navigating his final five innings with only 54.
Fiers, who got an assist from catcher Jonathan Lucroy to orchestrate the turnaround, has a 1.47 ERA in three starts since joining the A's.
"I needed some innings tonight," Melvin said. "How he turned it around, throwing as many pitches as he did early on. It didn't look like he had command of really anything, then he and Luc were discussing things on the bench and I think Luc pointed out he was a little offline, and all of a sudden it was a quick fix. It's what batterymates will do for each other. After that, he was fantastic."
"I got back to what I do and got back into a rhythm," Fiers said. "When the fastballs are kind of being sprayed around and stuff just isn't breaking the way it's supposed to be, you gotta make an adjustment and you gotta do it quick. They were starting to put some pressure on me early in the game, and I just had to get back to what I've been doing and throw more strikes."
Laureano's two-run homer highlighted a three-run second inning, and his three-run blast in the sixth ended the night for Colon -- who made his big league debut in 1997 when fellow Dominican Laureano was just 2 years old.
Stephen Piscotty also homered for the A's, who have claimed victory in 41 of their last 55 games to turn the AL playoff picture on its head. They trailed Houston by as many as 12 games in the middle of June.
"This is fun," Laureano said. "Everybody is doing their jobs, so I have zero pressure. I'm just trying to play my game, help the team win, take good at-bats, and that's what I focus on."
Laureano is one of 10 players in franchise history to hit their first two big league homers in the same game, joining Matt Chapman, Matt Olson, Bill Bathe, Mike Heath, Mitchell Page, Larry Stahl, Bert Campaneris, Manny Jimenez and George Kell.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Davis was sporting an autographed uniform during the game, after letting Make-A-Wish kid Anthony Slocumb sign the back of his jersey in a pregame meeting.
"I thought about him around the bases," Davis said. "There's not a better feeling than hitting a home run, so hopefully he got some excitement and joy from watching that." More >>
HE SAID IT
"You hope he gets off to a good start, because there can be some pressure coming into a situation like this. You want to impress your teammates right away, and he has." -- Melvin, on Fiers
The A's will send left-hander Brett Anderson (2-3, 3.90 ERA) to the mound for Tuesday's 7:05 p.m. PT matchup with the Rangers at the Coliseum. Texas will counter with rookie right-hander Ariel Jurado (2-2, 6.41). Anderson faced the Rangers in Texas on July 23, tossing six innings of two-run ball.
Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB.