Jace Peterson homered twice on a five-hit night and drove in five runs, and the Oakland Athletics ended a 15-game road losing streak with an 11-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday.
The major league-worst A’s (13-50) broke open the game late behind Peterson’s 500th hit in the majors, an RBI single off Pirates ace Mitch Keller that put Oakland ahead 3-2 in the sixth. Peterson gave Oakland a five-run lead with a two-run homer off Chase De Jong in the eighth, then added another two-run shot off De Jong in the ninth.
Batting in the eighth spot, Peterson finished 5-for-5, raising his batting average from .194 to .218.
“Over the last week and a half, I feel like I’ve had good at-bats. Not technically the results that I’ve wanted, but I feel like it’s been getting better,” Peterson said. “It’s baseball, a crazy game and a hard game. You never know what’s going to happen. It worked out tonight.”
James Kaprielian (1-6) allowed two runs on four hits in six innings for his first win since last Oct. 2. The A’s had not won away from Oakland since beating the Los Angeles Angels 11-10 on April 24.
“It’s competition, man. You’ve got to beat guys any way you can,” Kaprielian said. “I beat Keller out to start playing catch. Find ways to beat guys. … I was in here, I was dressed five hours before the game. Guys looking at me like I’m a psychopath because I probably am. But we want to win.”
Keller (7-2) gave up five runs on eight hits and four walks with one strikeout in 5 1/3 innings. Pittsburgh’s six-game winning streak was snapped.
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“I just didn’t execute,” Keller said. “It comes down to execution. I left too many pitches over the middle and they took advantage, free passes. It was not a good night.”
Keller has allowed 15 runs in his past three starts after surrendering 17 in his first 10 this season.
“Tonight, his breaking stuff wasn’t very sharp, so he didn’t get a ton of swing and misses,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said. “On top of it, the fastball command was really inconsistent.”
The A’s hit four homers, three off De Jong, who also allowed Brent Rooker’s two-run shot in the eighth. Shea Langeliers hit a fastball from Keller 423 feet in to the center field bushes in the second.
“This kid, Keller, has pitched great all season,” Oakland manager Mark Kotsay said. “We knew what we were up against. The at-bats started out really well. We had a great plan. The offense executed their plan. … You tip your cap to the guys in that room for executing the plan.”
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Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen remained stuck on 1,997 hits in the majors, flying out twice and walking twice. He is 0-for-7 with five walks his past three games.
IT’S NOT HOW YOU START
Peterson began his night with a costly error at second base in the first. Jack Suwinski hit a routine grounder, potentially setting up an inning-ending double play, but the ball went through Peterson’s legs, allowing Tucupita Marcano to score.
“When I got into the dugout, I told (Kaprielian), ‘I’m going to get you four hits tonight,'” Peterson said. “It just really made me mad.”
Athletics: INF Kevin Smith was recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas and INF Nick Allen was optioned to Las Vegas.
LHP Hogan Harris (0-0, 6.97 ERA) is set to make his first start in the majors for the Athletics, closing the three-game series Wednesday opposite Pirates RHP Roansy Contreras (3-4, 4.82). Harris, a 26-year-old rookie, has allowed eight runs in 10 1/3 innings across three relief appearances this season.
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