OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — With a dominant 15-man bullpen, the Oakland Athletics don’t need much from their starters these days.
That’s been story of the hottest team in baseball. On Sunday, they overcame a stinker.
Stephen Piscotty homered and Oakland rallied from an early three-run deficit to beat the Texas Rangers 7-3, the Athletics’ fourth straight win and sixth in seven games.
Trevor Cahill gave up three runs, two hits and six walks in 2 2/3 innings in his shortest start of the season.
But the A’s got another stellar performance from their bullpen, as seven relievers combined for 6 1/3 scoreless innings of two-hit ball.
Shawn Kelley (1-0) retired the only four batters he faced in relief of Cahill. He hasn’t allowed an earned run in 11 innings since coming over to Oakland in an Aug. 5 trade with the Washington Nationals.
“There’s plenty of depth to go around,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “We were getting deeper contributions from the starters there for a while. Right now, maybe not so much, and we’re having to cover a lot of the game, but my feeling is that they’ll respond and they’ll start going deeper in games so we can cut down on the amount of (relievers) we use.”
Matt Olson had two hits including a double for the A’s, who are 30 games over .500 (87-57) for the first time since closing out 2013 at 96-66. They’ve won nine of their last 10 against the Rangers.
Piscotty’s homer in the seventh inning was his career-high 23rd, surpassing his 2016 total with St. Louis.
Oakland trailed 3-0 when Olson doubled off Ariel Jurado (2-5) in a five-run fourth in which the A’s scored five runs on three hits, three walks, an error, a wild pitch and a passed ball. Ramon Laureano doubled in a run later in the inning.
“I think it’s pretty exemplary of how our entire season has been,” Piscotty said. “Everyone else knows to kick it in gear. It’s a special thing, it’s rare, and when we got it going, it’s pretty special.”
Oakland used eight pitchers Saturday and seven Friday.
Blake Treinen, who pitched a 1-2-3 ninth, lowered his ERA to a major league-best 0.87.
Texas dropped to a season-high 21 games below .500 (61-82) after its 10th loss in 13 games.
Jurado pitched behind Jeffrey Springs, who tossed three shutout innings of one-hit ball in an opening role. Jurado gave up four runs in two-thirds of an inning on four hits and two walks.
“It’s different, it’s a change to baseball,” Springs said of the growing trend of using relief pitchers to start games.
Cahill’s strikeout of Jurickson Profar in the second inning was the 1,000th of his career.
Adrian Beltre, who was 1 for 4 with an RBI, needs one home run to tie Stan Musial and Willie Stargell (475) for 30th on the career list and one hit to tie George Brett (3,154) for 16th. Beltre ranks 27th on the RBI list with 1,697.
Rangers manager Jeff Banister said he’ll try to get the 39-year-old as many at-bats as he can.
“I don’t want to miss those moments, and I don’t want him to miss any of those moments,” Banister said.
Right-hander Frankie Montas is expected to be called up before the A’s open a six-game trip at Baltimore on Tuesday. He’ll be expected to absorb innings in a yet-to-be determined role.
“It might be a game where we go with an opener, it might be a game where he pitches out of the bullpen, it might be a game where he starts. We’re not really sure yet,” manager Bob Melvin said. “We have a couple of openings on this road trip and we’re trying to sort through that.”
Athletics: LHP Brett Anderson (sprained left forearm) checked out OK a day after throwing three simulated innings. He’s expected to move into the rotation soon. “I think it’s going to be sometime on this road trip, but I’m not sure which day,” Melvin said. … OF Nick Martini and RHP Ryan Dull were activated before Sunday’s game. … 2B Jed Lowrie got a rare day off.
Rangers: LHP Mike Minor (11-7, 4.31 ERA) will pitch Monday’s series opener against the Angels in Los Angeles.
Athletics: RHP Mike Fiers (11-6, 3.36) will pitch Tuesday’s series opener in Baltimore.