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JJ Bleday connects twice for first career multi-homer game, A's beat Pirates 5-2

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — JJ Bleday hit a go-ahead home run with one out in the fifth inning and a two-run drive in the seventh for his first career multi-homer game, leading the Oakland Athletics past the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-2 on Tuesday night.

“Oh, it's awesome, it's a very special night,” Bleday said. “You always dream about those moments and then when it finally comes true it's just like ‘that’s sweet.' But now it's try to find another goal, something else to do.”

Like what? “Maybe three home runs,” Bleday said with a grin.

Mitch Spence (3-1) struck out two over three scoreless innings in relief of starter Alex Wood. The left-hander is still winless over four starts in Oakland since joining the club as a free agent Feb. 2 — and he is yet to pitch more than 5 2/3 innings in seven starts this season.

Tyler Nevin and Abraham Toro hit RBI singles in the second for the A's after Shea Langeliers doubled to start the inning against Pirates right-hander Mitch Keller (2-3).

The A’s, who have won three straight and five of six, drew an announced crowd of 3,876 and finished the month of April with a 13-14 record.

“Guys are confident. I think down to each guy I think they were sick of going through what they went through last year,” Wood said of Oakland’s 112-loss 2023 season. “There’s a really strong will to go out there and play well and try and win every night, and you can see it in every guy out there.”

Lucas Erceg struck out the side in the eighth and Mason Miller finished the 2 hour, 22-minute game for his eighth save. The Oakland bullpen has now gone six straight games and eight of nine without surrendering a run — the longest stretch by A's relievers since an eight-game scoreless streak from Aug. 20-29, 2020.

The pitchers are feeding off each other, and the A's are on a roll playing solid, smart baseball — pitching, at the plate and on defense.

“It builds confidence, it gives you momentum,” manager Mark Kotsay said. “When you play good baseball, it's contagious the same as hitting is contagious and guys start feeding off each other.”

Connor Joe homered in the first and singled in the fifth for the Pirates — matching his team's total hits from a night earlier in a 5-1 defeat. Ke'Bryan Hayes added a sacrifice fly in the fourth.

The Pirates lost for the eighth time in 11 games, dropping to 6-4 in games started by an opposing lefty.


Athletics: LHP Scott Alexander (bruised left rib) threw live batting practice — IF/OF Miguel Andujar faced him as he recovers from right knee surgery — and will report Friday to Class-A Stockton to begin a rehab assignment. ... RHP Luis Medina will test his sprained right knee with a bullpen session Wednesday.


RHP Quinn Priester (0-1, 3.84 ERA) pitches the afternoon finale for Pittsburgh opposite Oakland RHP Ross Stripling (0-5, 4.98) still trying to end a career-long 10-game losing streak and earn his first victory since going 10-4 with Toronto in 2022. He was 0-5 with the Giants last year.