ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals finished Interleague play with a thud on Sunday, watching as the A's blasted a pair of early home runs and held on for a 7-4 victory that earned starter Andrew Triggs the first win of his big league career. For the Cardinals, the loss allowed the Pirates to creep to within a half-game of their hold on the National League's second Wild Card spot.
With two weekend wins, the A's were able to steal their second series victory on the road since the All-Star break. That's more series wins than the Cardinals have at home during the same span. St. Louis, which has lost its last five home series, finished the season 1-9 at home against American League teams.
"We want to win every series we play in," Cardinals infielder Matt Carpenter said. "We weren't able to do that on this homestand, so it's frustrating. But you've just got to keep pushing past it and try to find a way to rack up some wins."
Oakland generated both of its run-scoring rallies against Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia with two outs. In the first, Khris Davis followed Danny Valencia's infield single with his 34th home run. Two innings later, a three-run blast by Stephen Vogt staked Triggs to a four-run lead.
"We're a good team," Vogt said. "We've had an up-and-down season, a lot of injuries, a lot of new faces, inconsistent play, but we've taken some series from some very good teams this year. That's one thing about this team -- we don't quit, we're not going to roll over."
Garcia, who began the day with a 3.66 ERA at home, has now allowed seven home runs in his last three starts. He rebounded to finish seven innings, but then watched as the game unraveled in the hands of the bullpen.
"It was one of those times where it happens so fast," Garcia said of surrendering five runs in the first three innings. "I literally made three bad pitches. But still no excuse. Against those two guys, I have to execute the pitch. I have to do a better job than that."
The only trouble that Triggs, who was making his fifth career start, had was with Carpenter. The Cardinals' leadoff man keyed all three of St. Louis' runs with extra-base hits. Triggs otherwise held the Cardinals to one hit while matching a career best with six innings.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Vogt of confidence: Entering the day, Vogt's home run log this season was something of an oddity: all 10 of them were solo shots off right-handed pitchers. The catcher finally tagged a lefty for one Sunday, and it was a three-run shot to boot, traveling 406 feet to right-center field, according to Statcast™. It also snapped a hitless streak spanning 18 at-bats for Vogt, who was batting just .172 over his previous 27 games.
"Well, he was saving the multi-homer for the left-hander. He's no dummy," A's manager Bob Melvin said, smiling. "Nobody works harder, nobody is more of a team guy than Vogter. Everyone is going to go through some struggles during the course of a season, but he ends up getting a huge hit for us today. The home run was really kind of the key to the game."
From the top: The bulk of the Cardinals' production against Triggs came from Carpenter, who connected for two doubles and a solo homer off the right-hander. He also scored three runs. The infielder's third-inning solo homer extended the Cardinals' home run streak to 17 games, tying a season high. Sunday's three-hit game was Carpenter's first since July 4, two days before he suffered an oblique injury.
"He had a good day for us," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "He got us started like he always does, and then kept it going. We need him to keep doing what he's doing. He looks like he's in a good place." More >
Triggs' transition: Triggs brought his ERA as a starter down to 2.92 following Sunday's performance, which was his second straight outing of six innings pitched. He fanned a career-high eight while limiting the Cardinals to four hits, further proving his worth as a starter despite being a career reliever. Opponents are batting just .191 against Triggs in his five starts, and he's expected to remain in the rotation the rest of the way.
"You're always pitching for an opportunity," Triggs said. "And I'd like to finish as strong as I possibly can in September and let the chips fall as they may."
Healy keeps hitting: A's rookie third baseman Ryon Healy is showing no signs of slowing down, exiting his latest game with two hits, both doubles, to extend his hitting streak to 14 games, which is the longest active streak in the Majors. Healy, who was brought up for his big league debut immediately after the All-Star break, is batting .289 since then, including .404 (21-for-52) during his hitting streak.
"We're about to get to a fun month. September is a good month to play baseball, especially here in St. Louis. The weather starts to cool off, and typically we start to play really well and ride that into October. Hopefully this year will be no different." -- Carpenter
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Davis' 34 home runs are the most by an A's player since 2006, when Frank Thomas totaled 39, while Nick Swisher finished with 35.
WHAT'S NEXT A's: The A's will make their final trip of the season to Houston this week, beginning a three-game series with the Astros on Monday. Left-hander Sean Manaea, who has a 3.44 ERA in his last 11 outings, is on tap to start the 5:10 p.m. PT opener at Minute Maid Park. The rookie is 0-0 with a 3.00 ERA in two starts against the Astros this year.
Cardinals: The Cardinals have a nine-game, 10-day road trip on tap which begins Monday with a 6:20 p.m. CT game in Milwaukee. Carlos Martinez, who has limited opponents to two runs in his last two starts (15 innings) will start for the Cardinals against Brewers right-hander Zach Davies.