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SD@OAK: Pennington goes perfect 3-for-3 on birthday

OAKLAND -- Perhaps there was reason to be concerned that the A's recent offensive surge was an illusion. The team with the worst batting average in the Majors looked like a powerhouse in the latter part of its road trip, but Oakland's outburst did come at Coors Field, notorious for being a hitter's haven.

In Friday's series opener against San Diego, the A's -- for at least one game -- put those anxieties to rest with a 10-2 win over the Padres. Over the team's past four games, Oakland has now scored 36 runs, the most it has scored in a stretch that long since 2004, when it plated 48.

More important, those runs have translated into wins -- the A's four-game winning streak is their longest this season, and this fourth victory came against a San Diego team that came in with a season-high three-game winning streak of its own.

"It had the same type of feel that the last couple days did," said Oakland manager Bob Melvin. "We hope to run with it."

Oakland squelched the idea of its offense returning to earth in its very first opportunity against San Diego starter Anthony Bass. The A's responded to the Padres' first-inning run with five of their own in the bottom of the frame, led by right fielder Josh Reddick's two-run triple.

And while first baseman Brandon Moss has been an unlikely slugger since being called up from the Minor Leagues a couple weeks ago, Moss continued to prove his power is no fluke on Friday.

Three batters after Reddick, Moss hit a two-run homer, his sixth since joining the A's, marking his fourth straight game with a home run. Though Melvin has said the team is being careful as it eases outfielder Yoenis Cespedes back from a strained hamstring, Oakland has looked just fine without its regular cleanup hitter, especially with Moss' run.

Once the A's had their 5-1 lead, they never looked back. They didn't manage to chase Bass until the sixth inning -- the fifth straight start that the Padres' right-hander hasn't made it out of the sixth -- but already they had done plenty of damage.

"I was trying to get ahead and I didn't," Bass said of his first-inning difficulties. "I couldn't get strike one that first inning and fell behind."

But the biggest offensive star might have been Cliff Pennington. On his 28th birthday, Pennington turned in one of his best games of the year, reaching base four times, collecting three hits (including a double), two RBIs and his 10th stolen base of the season.

The shortstop has struggled mightily at the plate for most of the season but is showing signs of turning it on, with 14 hits in his past 38 at-bats. And considering this marks the third straight year Pennington has tallied an RBI on his birthday, he might wish every day was June 15.

"It's always nice to get a couple knocks, and when it's on your birthday, it's a little sweeter," Pennington said.

"He loves being an Oakland A, and it makes everybody feel good when he has days like this, starting to come out of what was a tough time for him," Melvin said. "Couldn't have been a more appropriate day to have the type of day he did."

It was also a special day for Travis Blackley. Unlike several of the A's recent high-scoring games, the left-hander made sure this one didn't become an all-around slugfest. Even though he said after the game that he might've had his worst stuff all year, Blackley went longer than he had in any of his previous three starts since joining Oakland's rotation, lasting 104 pitches and six innings.

After allowing a run in each of the first two innings, Blackley settled down and held the Padres scoreless over his last four frames. For his efforts, he earned his first big league win since his Major League debut on July 1, 2004, a fact of which he said he was "very aware."

"Made good pitches here and there, but on the whole, I didn't feel a good flow at all," Blackley said. "It's funny that I've had games where I felt great and haven't done all that good or haven't got a win, and then I have possibly the worst feeling I've been in this year and get a win. It's kind of funny how this game works a little bit."

When he got that first victory in the Majors, Blackley was pitching for a Seattle team managed by Melvin, leading the A's manager to joke that maybe he has something to do with the lefty's success. Whatever the reason, the pair must be pleased to get another win in a game where Oakland had every facet working, especially its offense.

"The boys did awesome with the bats," Blackley said. "They've taken what they've done in Colorado and brought it home, so hopefully they can do that the rest of the series and the rest of the year."

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