San Diego Padres shortstop Alexi Amarista pitches against the Oakland Athletics in the eighth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, June 17, 2015, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Ben Margot
June 18, 2015

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Jesse Chavez had already reached double digits in strikeouts for the first time in his career and was prepping to go out for the eighth inning when Athletics manager Bob Melvin decided to go to the bullpen.

With Oakland's offense in the midst of a four-run seventh, Melvin didn't want to trot his starter out for another inning following the long break.

It was about the only respite San Diego's hitters got.

Chavez struck out a career-high 11 in seven innings to win for only the second time in his last eight starts, Billy Butler had four hits including a three-run home run and the A's beat the Padres 16-2 on Wednesday night.

''This was the best changeup we've ever seen him throw, and he threw a bunch of them tonight,'' Melvin said. ''He was going to go out for the eighth until we scored a few more runs. I'm sure he was thinking, `Why don't you save a few of these for me for a little bit later.'''

Chavez (3-6) went into the game with the eighth-lowest ERA in the AL but had gotten little to no run support in his previous 10 starts.

Against the Padres, however, Chavez got more than enough backing and was dominant while allowing three hits over seven innings. He fanned seven of the first 11 batters, walked one and didn't allow a runner past first base until Alexi Amarista homered on the first pitch leading off the sixth.

Chavez said he decided to ride the changeup after getting a good feel for it while warming up.

''I felt it down in the bullpen,'' Chavez said. ''It's a pitch that I've had most of the year. As the game went on (catcher Stephen) Vogt started having confidence and started calling it to both sides of the plate.''

Ben Zobrist drove in three runs with three hits for the A's. Stephen Vogt added two RBIs.

Will Middlebrooks homered for the Padres, who lost their third straight since firing manager Bud Black on Monday.

Oakland, which went into the game with the worst record in the AL, set season highs for runs and hits (20) while extending its winning streak to four.

It got so bad for San Diego that interim manager Pat Murphy used Amarista - the Padres' starting shortstop - to pitch and get the final out of the ninth. Amarista needed two pitches to retire Billy Burns on a fly out.

''Sometimes game happen like this,'' Murphy said. ''You guys may laugh at this but I think this was a little bit of a cleansing. Just get this stuff out.''

The A's staked Chavez to a 4-0 lead in the first inning capped by Butler's fifth home run of the season.

The former Kansas City slugger, who signed with Oakland in the offseason, had been mired in an 8-for-42 funk before homering off San Diego starter Odrisamer Despaigne (3-5). Butler also singled three times.

''We just started feeding off each other, hit some balls hard and found some holes,'' Butler said. ''I haven't had the greatest first half but this helps things turn around.''

Zobrist had an RBI single in the first, tripled in the third and added a two-run double in the seventh.

Sam Fuld and Brett Lawrie drove in two runs apiece during Oakland's seven-run eighth.

Despaigne struggled in his first career start against the A's. He gave up six runs and eight hits in six innings with two strikeouts and one walk.

Former Oakland All-Star catcher Derek Norris went 0-for-4 in his first game back at the Coliseum since being traded to San Diego in December.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Padres: CF Will Myers will undergo surgery Thursday to remove a bone spur in his left wrist. Myers missed 28 games on the disabled list earlier this season because of soreness in the wrist.

Athletics: RHP Edward Mujica (broken thumb) will pitch for Single-A Stockton on Thursday and could be activated from the DL as soon as Friday. ... Switch pitcher Pat Venditte (right shoulder strain) is doing strengthening work but has not been cleared to throw.

UP NEXT

Padres: RHP Ian Kennedy (3-5) starts the Thursday afternoon game and has a 3.00 ERA over his previous three starts after carrying a 7.15 ERA through his first eight starts.

Athletics: RHP Kendall Graveman (3-3), who has a 2.20 ERA since getting called back up from the minors in late May, will make his first career interleague start.

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