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Mengden, Semien power A’s to sweep of Tigers
DETROIT -- Daniel Mengden did not feel as sharp as he did the last time he pitched. The opposition still could not push across any runs against him.
Mengden followed up a shutout by tossing seven scoreless innings, and Marcus Semien drove in all three runs in the Oakland Athletics’ 3-2 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday afternoon at Comerica Park.
Mengden (2-1) gave up seven hits but didn’t walk a batter while striking out four. The second-year right-hander allowed just two hits while blanking Philadelphia on Friday. Mengden was recalled from Triple-A Nashville on Sept. 5.
“My stuff wasn’t as good as it was in Philly, so I had to make some pitches,” he said. “Me and Bruce (Maxwell, catcher) were sticking to the game plan, even though I was a little erratic the first couple of innings. I got some big outs, some big popups and kept the team in it.”
After dealing with foot and rib injuries, Mengden is auditioning for a rotation spot next season. His scoreless innings streak of 16 is a team high this season.
“I don’t know if I can do too much better,” Mengden said.
“He’s had some injuries, some rocky roads on the way back, but really seems to have found himself now,” A’s manager Bob Melvin added.
Semien had a run-scoring double and a two-run homer for the Athletics (69-83), who swept the three-game series and extended their winning streak to four games.
Semien is batting .269 with 10 RBIs while making 14 of his last 16 starts in the leadoff spot.
“I’ve done it in the past,” Semien said of hitting leadoff. “I’ve hit in almost every spot in the lineup over the last three years but in the minor leagues I hit leadoff a lot. I don’t mind doing it.”
Maxwell, who left the game in the ninth after getting hit in the catcher’s mask by a foul ball, supplied two hits and scored twice. He underwent concussion tests afterward.
Liam Hendriks got the last two outs for his first career save after Detroit rallied for two ninth-inning runs.
Athletics first baseman Matt Olson had his five-game homer streak snapped. He struck out three times and walked in his other plate appearance.
Detroit’s ninth-inning rally against Ryan Dull started with a walk and Mikie Mahtook’s double. One out later, Andrew Romine stroked a two-run single. Hendriks came in and induced Jose Iglesias into a fielder’s choice.
Iglesias advanced on a wild pitch, but Hendriks struck out Alex Presley to end the game.
Tigers right fielder Nicholas Castellanos extended his career-high hitting streak to 17 games with a sixth-inning single.
Anibal Sanchez (3-5) was the hard-luck loser, giving up one run on three hits while striking out eight in six innings.
“Overall the pitching was good,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. “Sanchie was outstanding again for the second start in a row. The two-run homer off (Daniel) Stumpf hurt but the pitching was good. We just didn’t muster enough runs.”
The Tigers are likely to buy out the final year of Sanchez’s contract. He’s due to make $16 million but can be bought for $5 million.
“I’d be shocked if he didn’t pitch again somewhere,” Ausmus said. “I think he’s showing he’s got a little bit left in the tank.”
Both of the starting pitchers worked out of jams in the early going.
Mengden gave up a one-out double to Jeimer Candelario in the first inning but set down the next two batters. Oakland had a runner on third in the second, but a foul out and strikeout ended that threat.
The A’s scratched across a run in the third on back-to-back doubles by Maxwell and Semien.
The Tigers left two runners on base in the third and fifth innings.
Semien made it 3-0 when he followed Maxwell’s one-out single with a blast into the left-field stands off Stumpf.
NOTES: Tigers 2B Ian Kinsler, who homered in the first two games of the series, got the day off ... Detroit has a 9-24 record against American League West teams, the worst in the league. ... Oakland 1B Matt Olson has homered in each of the team’s last eight series. ... The Athletics lead the AL with 35 home runs this month. ... The Tigers begin their final home series on Thursday against Minnesota, while the Athletics have an off-day before starting a home series with Texas.