BY DANIEL GLUSKOTER
San Diego got seven strong innings from Garrett Richards and Fernando Tatis Jr. belted his major league lead tying 15th home run to help lead the Padres to a 5-3 win over the A’s on a 100° day at the Coliseum Sunday afternoon.
The loss sent Oakland into a pivotal five game showdown with Houston starting tomorrow on a skid, but the A’s were still able to retain their 3.5 game lead in the AL West as a result of the Astros getting swept by the Angels in a four-game series in Anaheim.
Mike Fiers (4-2, 4.93) got the start for Oakland but didn’t have his best stuff and occasionally appeared to be laboring from the heat, taking long stretches between pitches and shaking off catcher Sean Murphy on a number of occasions.
Tatis continued to enhance his MVP prospects, going 2-4 with a pair of RBI’s while scoring twice. In the seventh, Tatis deposited a Yusmeiro Petit pitch deep into the right centerfield bleachers for a two-run home run that would provide decisive, giving the Pads a 5-2 lead at the time.
Richards (2-2, 4.50) shut down the A’s in the middle innings, giving San Diego an unexpected boost from the backend of their rotation, retiring 13 in a row between the third and seventh innings before a two-out homer by Murphy. Richards then got Tommy LaStella to pop out to end the inning, exiting without walking a batter while striking out nine and only throwing 83 pitches. Oakland would strike out 12 times on the day.
The A’s will now open their most important series of the season tomorrow, with the second place Astros visiting the Coliseum for five games. Chris Bassitt (2-2, 3.72) is scheduled to face Houston’s Cristian Javier (4-1, 3.35) in Monday’s 6:05pm opener.