Wheeler wins again, Mets end 3-game skid
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) The New York Mets still consider themselves a contender in the NL East chase even with a daunting deficit to make up over the final month.
They're counting on building on their latest offensive performance.
Lucas Duda hit a three-run homer, Eric Campbell also connected and the Mets beat the Oakland Athletics 8-5 on Wednesday to snap a three-game losing streak.
''I hope it lifts us. I hope it gets us going,'' manager Terry Collins said. ''There were some big hits and some very good at-bats. I just hope this is the start of a final six weeks with some good offensive nights.''
Zack Wheeler (9-8) allowed two earned runs while working 5 2-3 solid innings. The Mets split their quick two-game interleague series.
Wheeler is 6-0 with a 2.12 ERA over his nine outings since June 30. The A's chased him after two innings in the shortest start of his career on June 25.
The right-hander and former San Francisco Giants top prospect improved to 4-1 in his last 10 road starts.
Jeurys Familia relieved Vic Black with the bases loaded and one out in the eighth and walked in a run but avoided further damage. He finished for his fourth save.
Campbell and Duda homered during a five-run third against Jeff Samardzija (3-3).
Samardzija had been unbeaten in five previous starts at the Coliseum. Instead, he was done after 3 2-3 innings.
The A's closed to 5-2 in the third on consecutive RBI doubles by Coco Crisp and John Jaso. New York added on in the fourth with RBI singles from Curtis Granderson and Daniel Murphy.
''We strung five, six, seven hits in an inning. It's something to build on,'' Duda said. ''Hopefully we can continue rolling.''
Samardzija cruised through a 10-pitch first inning and got through the second unscathed. Acquired in a July 4 trade from the Cubs, he has never beaten the Mets in nine appearances and three starts.
''It's just having trouble putting guys away,'' Samardzija said. ''Probably as simple as that.''
Oakland lost for the eighth time in 10 games. The A's returned home from a 1-6 road trip through Kansas City and Atlanta in which they lost their last five.
Murphy's two-run fielding error aided the A's in the fourth. He nearly had the ball, but it skipped off his glove and then he inadvertently kicked it.
PLAN FOR COLON: Bartolo Colon will rejoin the Mets this weekend in Los Angeles and pitch Sunday before returning to the Dominican Republic for his mother's funeral. The right-hander was placed on the bereavement list on Tuesday.
ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE: A's team president Michael Crowley and other club officials participated in the ice bucket challenge for ALS after the game in the right field corner. OF Jonny Gomes did his own version.
Mets: OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis was a late scratch, apparently his stiff neck still an issue.
Athletics: INF Nick Punto, sidelined with a strained right hamstring, is in the beginning stages of running. ''It's feeling good. The strength is getting back in there,'' Punto said. ... 3B Josh Donaldson had much of the day off because ''he's a little bit tired right now,'' manager Bob Melvin said. Donaldson entered as a pinch-hitter in the seventh and had a leadoff single.
Mets: New York continues its five-game California road trip with the opener of a three-game series Friday against the Dodgers, sending LHP Jonathon Niese (7-8, 3.50 ERA) to the mound looking to improve to 3-0 in six career starts against Los Angeles.
Athletics: The A's have their second off-day in a four-day stretch before opening a key weekend series at home with the division-leading Los Angeles Angels. The schedule allowed Melvin to tweak his rotation and use three top starters: Sonny Gray, Jon Lester and Scott Kazmir. Gray is 0-4 in August after his 6-0 July that earned him AL Pitcher of the Month.
''We have an off-day tomorrow to clear our heads,'' Melvin said. ''We know it will be an exciting series and a big series coming up.''