The Athletics look to extend their winning streak to five when they continue their three-game series with the Baltimore Orioles at McAfee Coliseum on Saturday.
Oakland (78-56) went 21-6 in August, including an 11-1 record at home that put the team comfortably ahead in the AL West race. Thomas batted .333 (31-for-93) with five homers and 20 RBIs and raised his average 20 points during the month.
There was no drop-off on the first day of September, as Thomas hit a two-run homer to help Oakland beat Baltimore 5-4 on Friday, the Athletics’ 10th straight home win.
“I was looking to hit a home run in that situation because we needed it right there,” said Thomas, who has 477 career home runs. “I’ve learned over the years of how to hit homers the proper way and not just go for the fence. You slow everything down and put an aggressive swing on it.”
Thomas finished with two hits—his third straight multihit game—and needs one home run for his ninth career 30-homer season.
Oakland leads the Los Angeles Angels by 8 1/2 games in the division, its largest lead since September, 1992. Baltimore (60-74) has lost three of four overall and seven of its past eight against the Athletics.
The 10 consecutive home wins is Oakland’s longest streak since a franchise-record 20-game run between the 2001 and 2002 seasons, and matches the third-longest single-season streak in team history.
“This team has shown a lot of character this year,” Thomas said. “We seem to find a way to get it done even when someone goes down. The pitching has been great all year and the offense always seems to get the big hit somehow.”
Despite striking out a career-high 12 batters, Dan Haren (12-10, 3.80 ERA) had his six-game winning streak snapped in his last start. He’ll look to start a new streak when he takes the mound for Oakland on Saturday.
Haren gave up three runs and seven hits in seven innings of a 3-0 loss to Texas on Sunday. Before that, he’d been 6-0 since July 26, including a win over Toronto in his previous start in which he allowed nine runs in 5 2-3 innings.
He became the first pitcher in AL history to win a game after allowing eight earned runs over the first two innings.
“I pitch good this time and lose and pitch bad the last time and win,” said Haren, who is 1-1 with a 3.50 ERA in three career starts against the Orioles. “It’s a funny game.”
Adam Loewen (4-4, 5.56) looks for his third straight victory when he starts for Baltimore. The 22-year-old rookie left-hander has gone 2-0 with a 2.89 ERA in his last three starts.
He allowed three runs and nine hits in five innings against Tampa Bay on Sunday, but didn’t earn a decision in the Orioles’ 5-4 victory.
“We’ve been saying all along, once we got to know him, (that) we love his makeup,” Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo said. “He’s been really calm and cool out on the mound.”
Loewen allowed two runs and one hit in five innings on July 17 against Oakland, but didn’t earn a decision in Baltimore’s 5-3 victory.