Mengden handles Giants easily for 1st win

Mengden handles Giants easily for 1st win

SAN FRANCSICO -- Hurry up, they told him. Daniel Mengden happily obliged, the A's starter racing back to a clubhouse that would soon be the scene for a celebratory beer shower.

Mengden survived it with ease, much like his first Major League victory, an 8-3 win over the host Giants in Monday's Bay Bridge Series opener.

It took four tries for the 23-year-old Mengden to secure his first win, but he doesn't so much mind when thinking back to the goal he set for himself this season.

"Starting off, I was hoping to make Triple-A by half the year, then hopefully make September callups," Mengden said. "That was the original game plan. That would be a good year for me.

"With some injuries and I guess with how well I threw, I progressed a little quicker than expected, and I'm here now."

Mengden appears to be as polished as his handlebar mustache, having recorded 26 strikeouts in his first 25 2/3 big league innings, with only eight earned runs allowed in that span for a 2.81 ERA.

Mengden's quick reflexes

On Monday, he gave the A's 7 2/3 innings, yielding two runs, four hits and three walks with five strikeouts, becoming just the third Oakland starter this season to pitch into the eighth.

For much of the night, it looked like he would complete it, too, finishing the seventh at just 82 pitches with only three baserunners allowed. But he tired quickly thereafter, offering up consecutive base hits and a walk to load the bases. Mengden got a double-play ball from Chris Stratton, but his ensuing free pass to Joe Panik prompted manager Bob Melvin from the dugout.

"Got a little bit tired at the end there, but we've basically seen the same guy," Melvin said. "He's efficient, throws strikes with all four pitches, keeps you off balance, confident in what's he doing. It's been really fun to watch."

"I thought he looked really good," Giants first baseman Brandon Belt said. "He has good stuff and was able to locate it. I'd say he kind of kicked our butts, to be honest with you. He was able to do pretty much whatever he wanted to do all night."

Mengden, who was only the third pitcher in Oakland history to lose each of the first three games of his career, finally received the kind of run support that eluded him in those outings -- though he hardly needed much of it.

The A's scored eight times on his watch, after totaling only two in his previous 18 innings of big league work. Shortstop Marcus Semien was responsible for four of them Monday, launching a three-run home run that highlighted a five-run second inning and tacking on an RBI double in the sixth.

"This was his best outing," Semien said, "but he's given us a chance every time. It's good that we came in with some hot bats and that's what got him the win.

"He's come up here and shown that he belongs. He just has to stay confident and keep working hard and good things will happen."

Jane Lee has covered the A's for since 2010. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.