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Rookie starting pitcher shines as Oakland A’s avoid historic loss

Rookie starting pitcher shines as Oakland A’s avoid historic loss

OAKLAND — Joe Boyle had five strikeouts in six innings for his first career win, Esteury Ruiz hit a two-run home run, and the Oakland Athletics beat the Detroit Tigers 4-1 on Saturday.

A fifth-round draft pick by Cincinnati in 2020 who was acquired from the Reds at the trade deadline, Boyle (1-0) was mostly crisp in his second start in the majors. The rookie allowed five hits, pitched around traffic in each of the first six innings, and gave up an unearned run in the third, the only runner Boyle allowed past second base.

“Joe was outstanding, just pounding the zone,” A’s manager Mark Kotsay said. “That was the concern when he came here, his strike-throwing ability, but (in) both outings we haven’t seen that show its head. He kept his poise. He continued to throw strikes, continued to pound the zone.”

After the game, teammates celebrated the moment and showered Boyle with a combination of beer, baby powder, and shaving cream.

“That was probably the most memorable part of that, getting covered in beer and shaving cream, not being able to breathe because of the baby powder,” Boyle said. “It was good, I’ll always remember it.”

Lucas Erceg retired three batters then Dany Jiménez set down two for Oakland. Trevor May got the final four outs, pitching out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth, for his career-best 20th save.

May reached the milestone on his 34th birthday and on the sixth anniversary of his first career save in the majors, also at the Coliseum.

“Going into today, I was like, ‘I’m going to get a save today,’” May said. “It’s how it works. It’s definitely cool.”

The last-place Athletics (48-107) have won back-to-back games for the first time since Sept. 11-12 and remain one loss shy of tying the team’s Oakland-era record for most losses in a season – 108 in 1979.

Zach McKinstry had two hits for the Tigers. One day after being mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, Detroit pushed only one run across.

Nick Allen got the A’s going with a bloop single to center before Ruiz crushed his fifth home run on an 0-1 change-up from Joey Wentz (3-12) into the left-field stands.

Miguel Díaz, working as the Tigers opener for the third time in five days, retired four of the five batters he faced and walked one.

Ryan Noda and Zack Gelof both had RBIs for the A’s in the eighth inning.

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BAD GLOVE WORK: The Tigers scored their only run in the first inning after A’s third baseman Jordan Diaz’s fielding error on Spencer Torkelson’s grounder. McKinstry doubled then broke for third and never stopped as Jordan Diaz bobbled the ball hit by Torkelson. Shortstop Nick Allen also committed an error, the eighth by Oakland in the last five games and 97th overall, the most by the A’s since 2017 (121).

NOTABLE: Athletics outfielder Tony Kemp was held out of the lineup after rolling his right ankle running the bases Friday night. Kotsay previously said he’s hopeful that Kemp will play again this season.