OAKLAND — Leadoff hitter Coco Crisp tinkered with his swing for a few days and finally got the results he has been looking for.
That is critical for an Oakland Athletics team trying to hang on in the AL West after owning the best record in baseball for a majority of the season.
Crisp hit a tiebreaking three-run triple in the fourth inning to help Scott Kazmir earn his career-best 14th win, and the A’s beat the New York Mets, 6-2, on Tuesday night to snap a five-game losing streak.
“I haven’t been hitting well at all so I’m trying to figure out some things to try to be successful with whatever I’m dealing with,” Crisp said. “These past couple of days, whatever I’ve been trying to do it seems like it could work so I’m trying to stick with that and see what happens.”
Crisp wouldn’t divulge what changes he has made to his swing but it is clear he knew something had to change.
Coming off a miserable road trip when he went 2-for-23, Crisp grounded out and singled before lining an 0-1 pitch from Mets starter Dillon Gee down the right field line with the bases loaded. It was Crisp’s third triple this season.
The A’s, who avoided losing six consecutive games for the first time since 2012, remained a half-game behind the Los Angeles Angels in the AL West.
“It’s very rare that he goes through a stretch like that,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said of Crisp. “It’s not like he was striking out all the time (or) taking off-balance swings. A hit like that, especially with runners in scoring position in a tight game, can do wonders for the personality.”
Kazmir (14-5) allowed one run and four hits in six innings. He retired nine of his final 10 batters after giving up a solo home run to Travis d’Arnaud leading off the fourth.
New York lost its third straight.
Oakland had been mired in a team-wide hitting slump before coming up with its most productive game in a week.
Crisp, the A’s leadoff hitter who has been in and out of the lineup with lingering neck pain, provided the biggest boost with his first multi-hit game since July 8.
Josh Reddick added a two-run homer, and Alberto Callaspo drove in a run with a sacrifice fly two batters before Crisp’s bases-clearing hit.
The Mets avoided making history but couldn’t snap their skid.
New York had been held to four hits or fewer in its previous five games. According to stats provided to the team by Elias Sports Bureau, no club had ever done that in six straight.
The Mets managed seven hits this time but it wasn’t enough to prevent their second loss in three games against the A’s this season.
Gee (4-6) gave up four runs and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings. The right-hander fell to 0-5 in his past seven starts and is winless since July 9.
“He was up in the zone,” said Mets manager Terry Collins. “That’s not where he’s supposed to be. The balls Coco hit were because he fell behind in the count. He’s a better pitcher than he’s showing.”