Frankie Montas returned from a shoulder injury to combine with five relievers on a four-hitter and Sean Murphy broke a scoreless tie with a three-run home run, allowing the Oakland Athletics to gain a doubleheader split with the visiting Detroit Tigers with a 5-0 victory in the nightcap Thursday.
Montas asked to be removed from his previous start on July 3 because of pain behind his right shoulder. He missed one start last week leading into the All-Star break, then was limited to 53 pitches in his return Thursday.
He demonstrated his ace-of-the-staff form over three innings, allowing just a second-inning double by Harold Castro and a third-inning single by Tucker Barnhart. He stranded a runner in scoring position in the second and third while striking out five and walking one.
A trade candidate before the deadline at month’s end, Montas lowered his season ERA to 3.16.
Austin Pruitt followed up with two shutout innings, after which Domingo Acevedo (2-2) worked a 1-2-3 sixth with two strikeouts to earn the win. A.J. Puk, Sam Moll and Lou Trivino each pitched one inning to wrap up Oakland’s sixth shutout of the season.
Tigers rookie Garrett Hill (1-2), a native of the San Francisco suburb of Petaluma, tossed shutout ball into the last of the sixth before Vimael Machin and Ramon Laureano each reached on an infield hit to open the inning.
Murphy, serving as the designated hitter after catching the first game of the doubleheader, followed with his 10th homer of the season, giving the A’s the lead for good.
Hill was relieved at that point, charged with three runs on five hits in five-plus innings. He walked two and struck out four.
The A’s added two more runs before inning’s end against Tigers reliever Andrew Chafin. Stephen Vogt made it 4-0 with a sacrifice fly and Tony Kemp capped the five-run uprising with an RBI single.
Laureano, Brown and Dermis Garcia collected two hits apiece for the A’s, who won the season series over the Tigers 5-2.
Castro’s double was the only extra-base hit for the Tigers, who won the opener 7-2 to snap a four-game losing streak.
Former A’s outfielder Robbie Grossman had two doubles and three RBIs for Detroit in the opener.
–Field Level Media