OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Mark Kotsay acknowledges the many challenges from his first two seasons guiding the Oakland Athletics, and never likes to focus on himself.
He celebrated his team’s continued fight and spirit Friday night, not his 100th managerial victory.
“It’s just a start, hopefully,” he said. “… This is a group that we’ve been through a lot of challenges this year and the mindset that we all have, that we’ve created, is that we’re going to grind ‘til the end and we’re going to work ‘til the end and we’re going to utilize this time to form a culture and identity with these younger players to hopefully hit the ground running next spring training, and I think they’ve bought in.”
Zack Gelof had a two-run double to highlight a decisive five-run fourth inning to help JP Sears end a four-game losing streak, Esteury Ruiz hit a late two-run homer, and the last-place A’s pounded the new-look Los Angeles Angels 9-2.
The A’s hit eight doubles to tie their second-most in franchise history.
Sears (3-11) — tied for fourth-most in Oakland history with 13 no-decisions — went 0-4 over five starts in August and won for the first time since July 28 at Colorado. The left-hander allowed four hits over six scoreless innings.
Sears has appreciated Kotsay keeping Oakland motivated for what they all hope is a strong September finish to build toward 2024.
“That’s been evident with how we’ve been playing the last week or two,” Sears said. “Obviously, this year didn’t start how we wanted to but that doesn’t mean the last month doesn’t matter. We have a lot of guys here that are really hungry that are competitors that want to win. That’s what he preaches every day.”
Brett Rooker started things off with a double against Angels lefty Patrick Sandoval (7-11) in the fourth, when Aledmys Díaz added an RBI double, Jonah Bride singled in a run and Nick Allen hit a sacrifice fly.
It marked just the second five-run inning at home this season — and the A’s don’t have any bigger frames at the Coliseum.
Jordan Díaz added an RBI double in the seventh for the A’s, who won for just the second time in six games.
Shohei Ohtani doubled in the sixth then reached on an automatic ball in the eighth on a pitch clock violation by Sean Newcomb before scoring on Brandon Drury’s double. Logan O’Hoppe added his sixth home run in the ninth after connecting for the first of his career here during the opening weekend of the season.
Angels: INF Zach Neto (strained left oblique) hit in the cage and went through defense baseball activities on the field. He will continue to do so through the weekend in the Bay Area, go home with the team then likely begin a rehab assignment sometime next week. “Very promising with everything he’s been doing, he’s had no setbacks, no pain,” Nevin said. … OF Mickey Moniak returned to the lineup for the first time since dealing with back soreness after leaving Tuesday’s game at Philadelphia in the seventh inning following a leaping grab against the center-field wall.
Athletics: RHP Luis Medina threw a bullpen after an outing with Triple-A Las Vegas and is expected to rejoin the A’s bullpen soon after dealing with a blister on his right index finger. … RHP Mason Miller, nursing forearm tightness in his pitching arm, will start for Las Vegas on Saturday with the hope of him getting his pitch count to around 50.
The A’s recalled lefty Sam Long and catcher/first baseman Tyler Soderstrom from Triple-A Las Vegas.
RHP Griffin Canning (7-4, 4.38 ERA) pitches for the Angels on Saturday looking to move to 2-0 this season against the A’s, who counter with RHP Paul Blackburn (3-4, 3.93) as he looks to improve to 3-0 vs. Los Angeles in five career starts.