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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — With a 21-6 record since mid-June, the Oakland Athletics are storming into the All-Star break on quite a roll.
Their ace is pitching like he was earlier in the season and they're continuing to hit home runs on the road at a sizzling rate.
Stephen Piscotty went deep for the fifth time in nine games on Sunday as the A's beat the San Francisco Giants 6-2.
"We're playing really confident baseball and we're making a charge here." Piscotty said. "We're really happy with how we finished. We're right there, so we're excited to keep going."
Oakland still trails first-place Houston by eight games in the AL West but moved within three games of Seattle for the second wild card spot. Four weeks ago the A's were 11 games behind the Mariners.
"We certainly have the ability to be a playoff team," All-Star second baseman Jed Lowrie said. "At this point it's got to be a narrow focus. Keep the eye on the prize but narrow the focus."
Sean Manaea allowed two runs in six innings for his fourth consecutive win. Lowrie walked and scored in his return to the lineup following a scary collision in right field two nights earlier for Oakland. Matt Chapman added two hits.
The surging A's have won nine of 12 and lead the major leagues with 85 home runs on the road.
All-Star shortstop Brandon Crawford had two hits for the Giants, who lost a home series for the first time since dropping two of three at AT&T Park to Arizona from April 8-10.
San Francisco has hit only six home runs in July. Manager Bruce Bochy said his team needs to drive the ball a little bit more the second half of the season.
"That's what we need more than anything is some power. Not just home runs. We're not driving the ball like I think we can," Bochy said.
Piscotty singled in Jed Lowrie in the fourth against starter Andrew Suarez (3-6) then homered off Reyes Moronta in the sixth. It is Piscotty's 12th this season and fifth this month, all of them coming since July 7.
Piscotty's hit in the fourth was the first of three consecutive RBI singles off Suarez. Matt Olson and Matt Chapman also drove in runs while Jonathan Lucroy added a sacrifice fly to put Oakland up 4-1.
A's manager Bob Melvin said Piscotty is hitting his stride after dealing with the death of his mother earlier this season. Gretchen Piscotty passed away from Lou Gehrig's disease on May 6.
"Now he's just playing baseball and he's got a nice little angel sitting there with him," Melvin said. "I think he's aware of that, too. It's an inspiration for him. He's playing as good as anybody we have on our team at this point."
Manaea (9-6) gave up five hits, including Chase d'Arnaud's second home run this season in the sixth. Manaea retired seven of the final eight he faced.
Ryan Buchter struck out the side in the seventh. Lou Trivino and All-Star closer Blake Treinen retired three batters apiece to complete the five-hitter.
Suarez allowed four runs in five innings.
THIS AND THAT
Piscotty has hit 11 of his 12 home runs on the road. . Manaea has an 11-game winning streak in day games dating to May 20, 2017. . The home run by d'Arnaud was his second in five games. D'Arnaud was a non-roster invitee to spring training. . Suarez had given up four runs in his previous four starts (24 2/3 innings) before allowing four in one inning to the A's.
Athletics: Lowrie had been nursing a bruised bone and calf bruise in his left leg after colliding with Piscotty in right field. . OF Matt Joyce (lumbar strain) received an epidural shot for his sore back. RHP Daniel Gossett (strained right elbow) began a throwing program.
Giants: RHP Jeff Samardzija was placed on the 10-day disabled list because of right shoulder inflammation. It's Samardzija's third stint on the DL this season. IF Kelby Tomlinson was called up from Triple-A Sacramento and started at second base.
Athletics: Return to the Coliseum to host the San Francisco in a three-game series beginning Friday. It's the first time since 1986 that the A's have played six consecutive games against the same team.
Giants: RHP Dereck Rodriguez (4-1, 2.89 ERA) pitches on Friday night when San Francisco heads across the Bay to play three games in Oakland.
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