Athletics extend win streak to 13 with 7-2 victory over Orioles

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BALTIMORE — The Oakland Athletics were not deterred by a six-game losing streak to open the season.

They were simply going to “Ride the Wave,” a mantra the team embraced to get past the adversity.

Jed Lowrie hit a three-run homer and the Athletics won their 13th straight game, building a big lead early and beating the Baltimore Orioles 7-2 on a rainy Saturday night.

“You just go out there and grind on it,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said about the challenging conditions. “Play as long as you can until someone says it’s no longer playable.”

This is the third-longest winning streak in Oakland history. The A’s won 14 straight in 1988 and set a then-American League record with 20 consecutive victories in 2002.

Cleveland broke that mark with 22 straight wins in 2017 – Oakland’s string is the longest in the majors since that Indians run.

The Athletics have outscored opponents 83-36 during their winning streak.

Matt Olson and Mark Canha had two hits and two RBIs apiece for Oakland, which has won nine in row against the Orioles dating to 2019.

“We knew as a team, especially after the first week, we were way better than that,” shortstop Elvis Andrus said. “Big shout out to the coaches and the manager to have no panicking, It would only take one game to get us going on. That’s what happened. Everybody started feeling better, everybody started to relax a little bit. The pitchers have been amazing. I think they’re a big reason why we started the winning streak. It’s a lot of fun. We’ll go day by day and see how long we can stretch this streak.”

Chris Bassitt (2-2) weathered steady rain that fell at Camden Yards, allowing two runs and eight hits over six innings. He struck out eight and improved to 3-0 in four career starts against Baltimore.

“The hitters take a lot of pressure off the starters because of the amount of runs we’re getting,” Bassitt said. “I think it’s a perfect mix of the hitters trusting the pitchers and the pitchers trusting the hitters.”

The A’s took a 1-0 lead in the first on a bloop single by Olson that scored Canha, who led off with a double against Wade LeBlanc (0-1).

LeBlanc made his first start of the season after five relief appearances.

“Just not being able to get the ball to my glove side,” LeBlanc said. “That’s kind of going to be the pitch that opens everything up for me, and unfortunately tonight it wasn’t there from pretty much the get-go.”

Oakland extended the lead to 4-0 on a two-run single by Canha and a double by Olson in the second that ended LeBlanc’s night. The Orioles scored their first run on a double by Chance Sisco that deflected off first base and into the outfield.

Lowrie answered in the third with his homer over the right-field scoreboard off Tyler Wells, a Rule 5 pick.

“Jed, the story just keeps growing with him,” Melvin said.

Trey Mancini had an RBI double in the fifth that cut the margin to 7-2.

The Orioles have scored two runs or fewer in their last six losses.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Athletics: LHP A.J. Puk (strained biceps) is expected to throw off the mound later this week at an affiliate site in Stockton, California.

Orioles: LHP Keegan Akin had to get stitches in his left index finger after cutting himself with a knife at home. He was being considered to start Saturday prior to the incident. “He’s got stitches for a week to 10 days,” manager Brandon Hyde said.

UP NEXT

Athletics: LHP Jesus Luzardo (1-1, 5.89 ERA) can help the A’s complete the three-game sweep. He threw 5 1/3 scoreless innings against the Twins on Tuesday.

Orioles: LHP John Means (1-0, 1.52 ERA) will start the finale after getting an additional two days of rest. Means threw seven shutout innings Sunday at Texas in his last outing.

Swanson, Olson go deep vs Scherzer, Braves take NL East lead

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ATLANTA — Dansby Swanson and Matt Olson homered off Max Scherzer, lifting the Atlanta Braves to a crucial 4-2 victory Saturday night over the New York Mets and a one-game lead in the NL East.

The defending World Series champions beat aces Jacob deGrom and Scherzer on consecutive nights to take their biggest lead of the season in the division. New York, which held a 10 1/2-game cushion on June 1, faces its biggest deficit of the year with four games remaining.

Atlanta will try for a three-game sweep Sunday night, with the winner earning the season-series tiebreaker between the teams. Even though both teams are headed to the postseason, that’s important because the NL East champion gets a first-round bye in the playoffs.

Swanson’s 24th homer, a go-ahead, two-run shot in the fifth inning, touched off a frenzy among the sold-out crowd at Truist Park, the ball sailing a few rows up into the seats in left-center to make it 3-2. Olson hit his 32nd homer in the sixth, a solo shot into Chop House seats in right to put Atlanta up 4-2.

Austin Riley led off the fourth with a double and scored on Olson’s single to make it 1-all.

Kyle Wright (21-5) gave up two runs and seven hits with one walk and three strikeouts in five innings as he won his eighth straight decision. The Braves have won 16 of his last 17 starts.

New York went up 2-1 in the fifth when Pete Alonso, Francisco Lindor and Jeff McNeil hit consecutive two-out singles.

The Mets led 1-0 in the first when Brandon Nimmo singled, advanced on a walk and a single and scored on Eduardo Escobar‘s groundout. Wright, who threw 30 pitches in the first, stranded two runners in scoring position to prevent further damage.

Scherzer (11-5) allowed a first-inning single to Riley and a third-inning infield single to Ronald Acuna Jr., who advanced to third on a fielding error by Lindor at shortstop but was stranded when Michael Harris II lined out to center. Scherzer patted his glove and pumped his fist as he walked off the mound.

Scherzer was charged with nine hits and four runs with no walks and four strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings as the Mets were knocked out of first place for only the third day all season.

The Braves have won five of the last six against New York to tie the season series 9-all, outscoring the Mets 37-16 over that stretch.

Atlanta’s bullpen, which posted a 1.70 ERA in September, got a perfect inning from Dylan Lee in the sixth. Jesse Chavez faced four batters in the seventh, Raisel Iglesias faced the minimum in the eighth and closer Kenley Jansen pitched a perfect ninth for his NL-leading 39th save in 46 chances.

Since the Braves were a season low-tying four games under .500 at 23-27 after play on May 31, they have gone 76-32, tying the Los Angeles Dodgers for the best record in the majors over that span. They were a season-worst 10 1/2 games behind the first-place Mets on June 1.

Wright, the only 20-game winner in baseball this season, hasn’t officially become the first Braves pitcher to lead the league in wins outright since Russ Ortiz had 21 in 2003, but the Dodgers’ Julio Urias has 17 and can’t reach 20 before the regular season ends.

Wright will become the first Braves pitcher since Hall of Famer Tom Glavine in 2000 to lead the majors in wins. Houston ace Justin Verlander also has 17.

Wright began the game 1-4 with a 6.75 ERA in six career starts and one relief appearance against the Mets.

The Braves, who got homers from Riley, Olson and Swanson off deGrom on Friday, lead the NL with 240 homers.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mets: All-Star RF Starling Marte (right middle finger fracture) has yet to begin swinging or throwing. Manager Buck Showalter said Marte is experiencing less pain but not enough to take the next step in his recovery. Marte has been sidelined since Sept. 7.

Braves: RHP Spencer Strider still has not thrown as he gets treatment on a sore left oblique. Manager Brian Snitker said there is no timetable for the rookie’s return. Strider has been sidelined since Sept. 21.

NICE GLOVE

Harris ran back and jumped to catch Nimmo’s fly against the wall in center field for the first out of the third.

UP NEXT

Mets RHP Chris Bassitt (15-8, 3.27 ERA) will face RHP Charlie Morton (9-6, 4.29) as the teams conclude a three-game series.