OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Now that he’s a key part of the Athletics starting rotation, Drew Pomeranz has tried to maintain the same aggressive approach on the mound that he had coming out of the bullpen.
It’s turned out better than anyone could have hoped for so far.
Making his second start of the season after replacing Dan Straily as Oakland’s fourth starter, Pomeranz and three relievers combined on a four-hit shutout as the A’s beat the Chicago White Sox 11-0 Tuesday night for their sixth consecutive win.
“That’s that mentality, I’m kind of just trying to go right after people,” Pomeranz said. “That’s what I was doing out of the bullpen and I had success doing that. I don’t see any reason to change that.”
Pomeranz (3-1) went five shutout innings in his first start on May 7 and matched that with another stellar five-inning outing against Chicago. The Athletics’ left-hander struck out a career-high eight, walked two and gave up just three hits — all singles.
“That’s a tough lineup to navigate through,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “He strikes out the first three hitters of the game, sets the tone, and then the offense was terrific across the board.”
Brandon Moss homered twice and drove in five runs, Josh Reddick also homered while Yoenis Cespedes added two hits and scored twice to anchor a shuffled Oakland lineup that had catcher John Jaso batting leadoff for just the fourth time this season. Jaso had three hits and scored twice.
The White Sox lost their fourth straight.
“Guys swung through some pitches and (Pomeranz) pounded the strike zone,” Chicago manager Robin Venture said. “We got outplayed all the way around. Nothing went right.”
Oakland improved to 25-15, matching its best record after 40 games since 2003.
The A’s won their second straight over the White Sox in much the same fashion they’ve put together the second-best record in the AL — strong starting pitching and plenty of offense.
Pomeranz, who replaced Dan Straily in the A’s rotation after Straily was optioned to the minors, blanked the White Sox through five innings and allowed only two runners to reach second base. He struck out the side twice and fanned leadoff hitter Marcus Semien three times.
Dan Otero pitched two innings, Fernando Abad worked the eighth and Joe Savery handled the ninth to complete the four-hitter.
That continued a stellar streak by Oakland starting pitchers. Over a six-game stretch that began when Pomeranz helped blank the Seattle Mariners, A’s starters are 5-0 with a 1.13 ERA.
“I think we feed off of each other,” Pomeranz said. “You want to keep it going. You don’t want to be the guy that doesn’t pitch well.”
The offense has been just as sharp. The A’s matched their season-high with 17 hits and had at least three home runs for the fourth time this season.
Reddick hit a two-run home run as part of the A’s four-run fifth while Moss had a two-run shot in the sixth and another two-run homer in the eighth.
Eight of Oakland’s nine starters had at least one hit. Reddick, Moss, Cespedes, Jed Lowrie and Craig Gentry had two apiece.
The A’s jumped on Chicago starter Scott Carroll (1-3) early then held on behind Pomeranz and the bullpen.
“(Carroll) was mixing his pitches but when you’re throwing a lot of strikes (hitters) can be aggressive with pitches in the zone,” Moss said. “That’s what our guys were doing. Those kind of nights are fun four everybody.”
NOTES: 3B Josh Donaldson was given the day off by Oakland manager Bob Melvin. ... A’s LHP Eric O’Flaherty threw 25 pitches in the latest step on his recovery from Tommy John surgery. Trainers allowed O’Flaherty to throw breaking balls for the first time since having the surgery. ... RHP Ryan Cook (forearm strain) is pain-free but has yet to resume throwing. ... Chicago LHP Chris Sale, on the disabled list since April 22 with a left flexor strain, will make his first rehab start Thursday for Triple-A Charlotte. ... RHP Andre Rienzo (3-0) starts the series finale for the White Sox in his first career appearance against the Athletics. LHP Tommy Milone (1-3) goes for Oakland.