OAKLAND — With a dominant 15-man bullpen, the Oakland Athletics don’t need much from their starters these days.
That’s been story of the hottest team in baseball. On Sunday, they overcame a stinker.
Stephen Piscotty homered and Oakland rallied from an early three-run deficit to beat the Texas Rangers 7-3, the Athletics’ fourth straight win and sixth in seven games.
Trevor Cahill gave up three runs, two hits and six walks in 2⅔ innings in his shortest start of the season.
But the A’s got another stellar performance from their bullpen, as seven relievers combined for 6⅓ scoreless innings of two-hit ball.
Shawn Kelley (1-0) retired the only four batters he faced in relief of Cahill. He hasn’t allowed an earned run in 11 innings since coming over to Oakland in an Aug. 5 trade with the Washington Nationals.
“There’s plenty of depth to go around,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “We were getting deeper contributions from the starters there for a while. Right now, maybe not so much, and we’re having to cover a lot of the game, but my feeling is that they’ll respond and they’ll start going deeper in games so we can cut down on the amount of (relievers) we use.”
Matt Olson had two hits including a double for the A’s, who are 30 games over .500 (87-57) for the first time since closing out 2013 at 96-66. They’ve won nine of their past 10 against the Rangers.
Piscotty’s homer in the seventh inning was his career-high 23rd, surpassing his 2016 total with St. Louis.
Oakland trailed 3-0 when Olson doubled off Ariel Jurado (2-5) in a five-run fourth in which the A’s scored five runs on three hits, three walks, an error, a wild pitch and a passed ball. Ramon Laureano doubled in a run later in the inning.
“I think it’s pretty exemplary of how our entire season has been,” Piscotty said. “Everyone else knows to kick it in gear. It’s a special thing, it’s rare, and when we got it going, it’s pretty special.”
Oakland used eight pitchers Saturday and seven Friday.
Blake Treinen, who pitched a 1-2-3 ninth, lowered his ERA to a major league-best 0.87.
Texas dropped to a season-high 21 games below .500 (61-82) after its 10th loss in 13 games.
Jurado pitched behind Jeffrey Springs, who tossed three shutout innings of one-hit ball in an opening role. Jurado gave up four runs in two-thirds of an inning on four hits and two walks.
“It’s different, it’s a change to baseball,” Springs said of the growing trend of using relief pitchers to start games.
Adrian Beltre, who was 1 for 4 with an RBI, needs one home run to tie Stan Musial and Willie Stargell (475) for 30th on the career list and one hit to tie George Brett (3,154) for 16th. Beltre ranks 27th on the RBI list with 1,697.
Rangers manager Jeff Banister said he’ll try to get the 39-year-old as many at-bats as he can.
“I don’t want to miss those moments, and I don’t want him to miss any of those moments,” Banister said.