The highlight of Tanner Roark’s Oakland debut happened when the right-hander struck out Marcell Ozuna with the bases loaded to end a 35-pitch third inning.
It came immediately after Roark labored through a long at-bat against Paul Goldschmidt, and set the tone for what the right-hander described as a “grinder” of an afternoon.
“Just how we drew it up,” Roark said with a grin.
Roark pitched five innings of one-run ball, and the Athletics beat Adam Wainwright and the St. Louis Cardinals 4-2 on Sunday.
Jurickson Profar connected for his 15th homer as the A’s won for the sixth time in seven games. Dustin Garneau had two hits and two RBIs after he was claimed off waivers Saturday.
Roark (7-7) allowed four hits, struck out six and walked two. He pitched out of a pair of jams in his first start since he was acquired in a trade with Cincinnati at Wednesday’s deadline.
The Cardinals twice had two on and two out against Roark but failed to score each time. Ozuna struck out in the third, and Matt Carpenter struck out swinging in the fourth.
“He’s a bulldog,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “He didn’t want any part of coming out of that game after four. He felt great. If I’d have ran him out there for the sixth he’d have been all for it.”
Roark fanned Ozuna after a 14-pitch battle against Goldschmidt. The NL Player of the Month for July, Goldschmidt fouled off eight consecutive pitches before drawing a walk.
“Body language can play a big part in a 35-pitch inning,” Roark said. “You have to have that no-emotion (look). You can’t give in. Once you give in, that’s when you get beat.”
Liam Hendriks retired three batters for his 11th save.
Garneau also came up big in his second stint with the A’s after being put on waivers by the Los Angeles Angels. He singled leading off the third, hit a go-ahead two-run double off Wainwright in the fourth and walked and scored on a wild pitch in the eighth. Garneau played 19 games with the A’s in 2017.
St. Louis fell 1½ games back of NL Central-leading Chicago, which swept Milwaukee with a 7-2 victory.
Wainwright (7-8) struggled with his command most of the afternoon. The right-hander hit two batters, walked three and allowed three runs in 5 2/3 innings.
“I was a little too fine with my pitches,” Wainwright said. “They did a good job of getting in some counts and drawing walks off us all day. That’s what they do, they try and wait you out and put you in bad counts.”
Paul DeJong homered for the Cardinals, who lost each of their four games against the A’s this season.
Carpenter was 1 for 5 with two strikeouts in his first game back off the injured list. Carpenter missed 17 games with a bruised right foot.
Profar connected in the sixth, belting a towering drive that landed midway up the staircase beyond the wall in right field.
“It’s kind of a learn-as-you-go kind of deal. See what pitches are working for him and where we know we can attack their hitters. He literally had all four pitches working for him so it made calling a game against that good lineup easier.” – Garneau, on catching Roark for the first time in his career.
St. Louis issued 15 walks in the two-game series.
“That’s why you lose two in a row,” manager Mike Shildt said. “In a way, we’re playing against ourselves. Against teams that are disciplined you have to be in the strike zone. All of their runs were self-inflicted.”
BUT WE’RE FRIENDS
Stephen Piscotty was hit by a pitch from Wainwright in the fourth, right after Wainwright plunked Mark Canha. Piscotty, who spent his first three seasons in St. Louis, was hit by a pitch from Dakota Hudson on Saturday.
St. Louis recalled right-hander Ryan Helsley from Triple-A Memphis, optioned first baseman Rangel Ravelo to its top farm club and designated right-hander Mike Mayers for assignment.
Cardinals: C Yadier Molina, who has not played for the Cardinals since July 6 because of a strained right thumb tendon, began a minor league rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Memphis on Friday. Shildt expects the nine-time All-Star back by mid-August.
Athletics: Left-hander Sean Manaea has been shut down because of pain in his right side, although Melvin indicated it wasn’t serious. Manaea had a similar issue in late June and recovered quickly.
Cardinals: RHP Michael Wacha (6-4, 5.15 ERA) returns to the starting rotation against the Dodgers on Monday. Wacha pitched out of the bullpen in his three previous appearances.
Athletics: RHP Chris Bassitt (7-5, 3.84 ERA) starts against the Chicago Cubs on Monday for the first time in his career. Bassitt is 2-1 since the All-Star break.
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