Gelof’s 4 hits, Blackburn’s gem key Oakland A’s shutout over Cards

Gelof’s 4 hits, Blackburn’s gem key Oakland A’s shutout over Cards

ST. LOUIS — Rookie Zack Gelof had four hits and Paul Blackburn pitched seven scoreless inning as the Oakland Athletics snapped a nine-game road losing streak and avoided a sweep in St. Louis with an 8-0 win over the Cardinals on Wednesday night.

“I’m just trying to be as consistent as I can,” Gelof said. “I think I’m just trying to keep it simple and, you know, be as athletic as possible in the box, and then, hit the ball hard somewhere.”

Gelof had his second career four-hit game — and the second this week — after getting four against Washington on Sunday.

“He plays a game hard, with an intensity about it that you want to see from the rest of the group,” A’s manager Mark Kotsay said. “And I think there was a little bit of that message this afternoon to the rest of the group, that this guy is leading by example. And he’s going out and playing the game hard and not recklessly, but just with the passion.”

Another d̶a̶y̶ inning, another @ZackGelof highlight pic.twitter.com/VLDUQS75No

— Oakland A’s (@Athletics) August 17, 2023

Blackburn (3-3) turned in the longest outing of his season, allowing six hits, with eight strikeouts and one walk.

“The breaking ball was pretty good tonight, and he threw some pretty good change-ups, some swing-and-miss change-ups,” Kotsay said. “So keeping them off balance, mixing up his pitches well and just compete, that’s vintage Paul right there.”

ST LOUIS, MISSOURI – AUGUST 16: Paul Blackburn #58 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals in the third inning at Busch Stadium on August 16, 2023 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Joe Puetz/Getty Images) 

The A’s, who have the worst record in the majors at 34-87, snapped the Cardinals’ three-game winning streak. St. Louis is last in the NL Central at 54-67.

Cardinals starter Matthew Liberatore (2-5) allowed six runs, five earned, in 4 1/3 innings. He gave up 10 hits, struck out five and walked three.

Liberatore’s struggles came after the best start of his career in which he pitched eight scoreless innings and struck out seven against Tampa Bay on Thursday.

“It’s frustrating,” Liberatore said. “I felt like I turned a corner a little bit in Tampa, and I felt great in the first inning again today. Velo was there, stuff was there, and just wasn’t able to find it after that.”

The A’s jumped on Liberatore early, batting around in the first inning. Carlos Pérez singled home Gelof, Jordan Diaz followed with a two-run double, and Shea Langeliers added an RBI single to make it 4-0.

“I feel like after, you know, we scored those runs at first, just being able to put up a zero in the first and in the second … I feel like that that was kind of a turning point,” Blackburn said.

Gelof added to the Oakland lead with an RBI single in the fourth.

The A’s added runs on a Seth Brown sacrifice fly in the fifth and on a Gelof double in the sixth. That double enabled Gelof to become the first player in A’s history with 20 extra-base hits and 20 runs scored in their first 28 games.

Tyler Soderstrom capped the scoring with his first career pinch-hit home run, a 454-foot blast off Casey Lawrence in the ninth.

Cardinals centerfielder Lars Nootbaar left the game in the sixth with a lower abdomen contusion, and shortstop Tommy Edman left the game after the seventh with a right calf contusion.


The A’s could have scored another run on an Esteury Ruiz double, but a perfect relay from Alec Burleson to Edman to Andrew Knizner got Nick Allen at the plate.

Oakland returned the favor with a relay between Ruiz to Allen to Langeliers to get Luken Baker at the plate in the seventh.

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The A’s recalled LHP Kyle Muller and optioned RHP Spenser Watkins to Triple-A Las Vegas. Mueller, the A’s opening day starter, returns for his third stint with the club. Watkins allowed five earned runs in 4 1/3 innings in his start on Tuesday.


Outfielder JJ Bleday (left knee sprain) was placed on the 10-day injured list retroactive to August 14 on Tuesday.