Olson’s big night, Fiers’ first-pitch tricks key to A’s win

ANAHEIM — Matt Olson and Mike Fiers were more than enough for the Oakland A’s on Friday night.

Olson matched his career highs with two home runs and five RBIs, and Fiers allowed one run in 6 2/3 innings as the A’s evened the four-game series against the Los Angeles Angels with a 7-2 win at Angel Stadium.

Olson has three home runs in the series and four in the past four games, and Fiers (8-3) has won his past six decisions to match his career high.

In a groove

After the first three hitters for the A’s couldn’t manage a fair ball, Olson stepped to the plate and needed just one swing to mash the ball over the fence in right-center field for a 2-0 lead.

Seven batters had already struck out for Oakland when Olson came to the plate again in the third with two runners aboard. He pulled a full-count fastball into the seats down the right-field line to make it 5-0.

“Just hitting the mistakes,” Olson said. “I’m in a stretch where I’m not fouling off, or swinging through the pitches that I should be putting in play. I’m putting together some good at-bats, I feel like, and just trying to keep it rolling.”

Olson isn’t just swinging for the fences either.

He also drew a walk after barely missing a third home run when he hooked a ball foul in the fifth, and he hit a hard single that slammed off the bare hand of Angels shortstop Luis Rengifo in the eighth.

“He’s seeing the ball pretty well, and it’s not just fastballs,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said.

Putting out Fiers

The Angels had several hard-hit balls early on against Fiers and put their leadoff batter on base in three of the first five innings, but Fiers leaned on his veteran instincts to keep the Angels out of scoring position until they got a run in the sixth.

Fiers said he sensed early on that the Angels were sitting on first-pitch fastballs, so he didn’t play along. Even Angels center fielder Mike Trout swung at the first pitch his first time up, which he rarely does in any at-bat, and flew out to the wall in left in the first inning.

Fiers also benefited from a diving catch by left fielder Robbie Grossman on a sinking line drive off the bat off Shohei Ohtani in the opening inning.

“Guys made some good plays in the first couple innings that kind of saved me there from more baserunners, but after that I kind of settled in and felt a lot better,” Fiers said. “Just had to kind of grind through those first couple innings.”

Canha can do

The most versatile player for the A’s served as the designated hitter on Friday, and Mark Canha filled the role splendidly.

Canha went 2 for 4 with a two-run homer in the seventh inning that stretched the lead to 7-1 and sent many in the crowd headed for home. Canha also walked and matched his career best with three runs scored.

Canha was put into the lineup at DH because Khris Davis was hit in the left hand by a pitch in the seventh inning on Thursday night and had trouble gripping the bat, Melvin said.

Canha, who has started in each of the three outfield positions at least five times this season and made 13 other starts at first base, served as DH 10 other times this season and has five of his 11 home runs in that role.

“It’s a nice resource to have,” Melvin said.