OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Mike Fiers isn't the least bit surprised by his eight-game winning streak. He's also not that impressed.
"When I'm the aggressor and I'm throwing all my pitches and locating, I feel like I'm one of the best pitchers in this league," Fiers said. "It's not crazy to me. It might be crazy to some other people thinking I don't have the stuff or throw hard. But it's baseball. You have to know how to pitch."
Fiers took a shutout into the sixth inning to keep his unbeaten streak intact, and the Oakland Athletics beat the St. Louis Cardinals 8-3 on Saturday night.
Pinch-hitter Chad Pinder delivered a three-run homer to keep the A's unbeaten in three games against the Cardinals this season. Stephen Piscotty added two hits against his former team and made a leaping catch at the outfield wall to take away a hit from Matt Wieters in the fifth. Piscotty was activated off the injured list before the game.
Fiers has gone at least five innings and allowed three runs or fewer in 18 consecutive starts, the longest such streak by an A's pitcher since at least 1908.
"He's been as good a pitcher as any in the American League for three months," manager Bob Melvin said. "Hard decision to take him out. I felt going into the game that I was going to cut down on his pitch count by a little bit. He's been out there for like 105 (pitches) it felt like every game."
Fiers (10-3) allowed one run and six hits over 5 2/3 innings in his first start against St. Louis since 2015. The right-hander walked one and struck out four.
Fiers last lost on May 1. He pitched his second career no-hitter six days after that and has the second-longest active winning streak in the AL since then. He is 8-0 with a 2.26 ERA during his dominant run.
"I'm always confident," Fiers said. "I feel like I can lead this team and put us in a great chance to win every time out. It's all about me staying within myself and making pitches and trusting my defense."
Paul Goldschmidt singled and doubled to extend his hitting streak to 11 games for St. Louis. Earlier in the day, he was named NL player of the month for July.
The loss dropped the Cardinals a half-game behind the first-place Chicago Cubs in the NL Central.
Jake Diekman relieved Fiers in the sixth and struck out Kolten Wong with two on to end the inning.
Cardinals starter Dakota Hudson (10-6) matched his career high of seven strikeouts but walked five and allowed four runs (three earned) in 3 2/3 innings.
"Just not enough command of the strike zone," St. Louis manager Mike Shildt said. "Pretty much all night we were behind hitters. When we give five walks to any team, that's going to set the tone we don't want to set."
Marcell Ozuna went 1 for 3 with a walk for St. Louis in his first game off the injured list. Ozuna missed 28 games with broken fingers on his right hand.
Mark Canha had an early two-run single for Oakland.
Before allowing Pinder's second pinch-hit home run this season, Tyler Webb had made five consecutive scoreless appearances spanning 4 1/3 innings since getting called up from the minors July 21.
THOMAS GETS ANOTHER ONE
Cardinals rookie Lane Thomas had a pinch-hit homer in the ninth, his second of the season. The other one came against the New York Mets on April 19 and was Thomas' first major league hit.
FANCY FAN GLOVE WORK
A fan in the stands reached over the railing in left-center field and snagged Pinder's home run.
St. Louis placed outfielder Tyler O'Neill on the 10-day injured list with a left wrist sprain. The move is retroactive to Thursday.
The A's claimed catcher Dustin Garneau off waivers from the Los Angeles Angels, adding insurance for Josh Phegley, who is making a slow recovery from a bone bruise in his glove hand. Garneau batted .232 with two home runs and seven RBIs in 28 games this season with the Angels. Second baseman Franklin Barreto and catcher Beau Taylor were optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas. Additionally, right-hander Ryan Dull was designated for assignment and pitcher Andrew Triggs was released.
Athletics: Piscotty had been out since June 30 with a sprained right knee. He played five games in the minors while rehabbing and batted .304 with one home run and three RBIs.
Tanner Roark makes his A's debut after being acquired at Wednesday's trade deadline. Roark went 6-7 with a 4.24 ERA in 21 starts for Cincinnati. Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright (7-7, 4.47) makes his second start against Oakland this season. Wainwright took the loss on June 26 despite allowing just two runs in 6 2/3 innings.