Sports A’s top Yankees 8-2, take series against potential playoff opponent

Sports

If, as catcher Jonathan Lucroy suggested two days earlier, the A’s wanted to send a message to the Yankees and the rest of the league with the three-game series against New York, it was received after Oakland administered a thorough drubbing Wednesday.

Helped along by a batch of balls skipping to the backstop, the A’s scored four times in the first inning and kept adding on here and there until they wound up with an 8-2 victory over the Yankees, Oakland’s potential postseason opponent.

“We take every game now like a playoff game,” A’s starter Mike Fiers said. “We’re a couple games back from a couple of teams, so every game matters, every pitch matters, every at-bat matters. We’re not locking up in these situations, the boys are playing ball and making it tough on those other teams,”

New York currently holds the top wild-card spot in the American League and the A’s the second spot, putting them in line for a winner-take-all game at Yankee Stadium on Oct. 3 if things remain unchanged. The A’s are 3½ games behind Houston in the AL West, and for the wild card they’re 3½ games behind New York as well after taking two of three games this week at the Coliseum.

AL West race

Team

W

L

GB

Houston

87

53

A’s

84

57

Seattle

78

62

9

Team

W

L

GB*

New York

87

53

+3½

A’s

84

57

Seattle

78

62

* Games behind 2nd wild card

Fiers’ days to pitch are good ones for the A’s. They’re now 6-0 in his starts since he was acquired from Detroit in August.

“I came over here and I wanted to make an impression,” Fiers said. “That’s how you have to do it, on the field.”

Initially, though, the signs weren’t great Wednesday. Fiers was coming off an outing in which he’d allowed three homers, his usually superb control was off and the Yankees were hitting him hard. New York loaded the bases in the first on a Giancarlo Stanton double and two walks, and even the first two outs were deep flyballs. He got Luke Voit to ground to third to end the inning, but he threw 28 pitches.

“Little bit of a shaky inning,” said Fiers, who felt he was a little out of rhythm until Lucroy, watching from the bench, talked to him between innings about not trying to do too much. “Not the way I wanted to start, but I had to find myself, make a pitch and get out of it. .. I think after that it settled me down to get back to the basics, fill up the zone.”

Fiers righted himself in the second, needing just nine pitches to get through the bottom third of the lineup, and with his changeup working especially well, he faced just the minimum over a span of five innings, even striking out the side — Brett Gardner, Stanton and Andrew McCutchen — in the sixth.

He worked into the seventh, becoming the first A’s starter to do so in 15 games, but he walked Aaron Hicks to start the inning and Gary Sánchez followed with a homer to left center.

The three walks matched Fiers’ total his first five starts with Oakland.

After Fiers averted disaster in the first, the A’s offense went to work, enhanced by a spate of wild pitches and passed balls. Ramón Laureano, making his first start in the leadoff spot, doubled to open things up and went to third on a passed ball. With one out, Jed Lowrie singled him in, then Khris Davis hit a drive to right that McCutchen appeared to be camped under. When the ball instead struck off the scoreboard, Davis had a double, but Lowrie, deked by McCutchen, was unable to score.

He did anyway, thanks to Luis Severino’s wild pitch, and Davis went to third. He scored on a double by Matt Olson, who moved up on a passed ball and scored on a wild pitch.

In the third, Chapman walked, Lowrie singled and both eventually came in on a base hit by Stephen Piscotty. Chapman also provided an RBI groundout in the fourth, and he doubled in Laureano in the sixth.

The A’s improved their major-league best record since June 16 to 50-21 and their record leading after seven innings to 60-0.

””We just keep the same attitude,” Laureano said. “Everybody stays hungry and keeps battling. We’re more hungry every day, even when we win.”

The A’s split the season series with the Yankees and are 24-15 against New York dating to 2013, the best record in the league against the Yankees in that span.

Susan Slusser is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: sslusser@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @susanslusser

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