MILWAUKEE (AP) — The Oakland Athletics stretched a winning streak to four for the first time since last season, beating the Milwaukee Brewers 2-1 on Saturday behind Aledmys Díaz’s RBI single in the 10th inning.
Even with the winning streak, the A’s (16-50) are on pace to finish 39-123, the most losses since the 1899 Cleveland Spiders went 20-134.
Paul Blackburn and four relievers combined on a six-hitter for Oakland, which has a major league-high 6.40 ERA. The A’s had not won four straight since ending last season with a victory at Seattle followed by a three-game sweep of the Los Angeles Angels.
“This has been a great stretch,” Oakland manager Mark Kotsay said. “If you’ve been watching this club from April, it wasn’t great at all. We’ve continued to work and it’s nice to see these results happening for this group.”
Shintaro Fujinami (3-6) pitched around a walk in the ninth, and Sam Long got three straight outs in the 10th for his first save this season and the second in his big league career.
JJ Bleday hit a run-scoring forceout in the fifth and pinch-hitter William Contreras tied the score in the eighth with a home run off Richard Lovelady. After Contreras’ eighth home run this season, he put on a cheesehead in the dugout celebration.
Milwaukee (34-31) remained one percentage point behind Pittsburgh (33-30) in the NL Central. The Brewers went 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position and stranded eight runners.
Blackburn allowed four hits in six scoreless innings, struck out five and walked one.
“Today was Paul’s best,” Kotsay said. “He just had a crispness and confidence out there. Going through that lineup through six innings without giving up a run, that was a really nice performance.”
Julio Teheran allowed one run, six hits and one walk over a season-high seven innings. He has a 1.48 ERA in four starts since signing with the Brewers on May 25 but has gotten just four runs of support __ none over his last 15 innings.
“It’s unfortunate,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “Four starts, three games where we haven’t scored any runs for him but seven strong innings today.”
“They scored a run on an executed hit-and-run but he did a nice job,” Counsell added. “We played good defense obviously early in the game to throw some runners out, and he had a great pickoff. He’s done his job. I couldn’t be happier with what he’s done for us.”
Milwaukee centerfielder Joey Wiemer had a pair of assists in the second inning, getting Ramon Laureano trying to stretch a leadoff single into a double then teaming with shortstop Willy Adames to throw out Jonah Bride trying to score on Díaz’s single.
“He was at first with two outs so I knew he was running on contact. A ball in the gap so I knew I was going to have to play it perfect,” Wiemer said. “I got a good bounce off the wall so I knew if I got it in quick, they’d have a chance at home.”
Athletics: RHP Freddy Tarnok (strained right shoulder) pitched two innings during a rehab assignment with Oakland’s Arizona Complex League affiliate on Friday.
Brewers: OF Tyrone Taylor received a cortisone shot in his ailing right elbow, which has been an issue since the end of last season.
RHP Freddy Peralta (5-5, 4.55 ERA) starts Sunday for Milwaukee and LHP JP Sears (0-3, 4.20) for Oakland.
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