By Morris Phillips
Nothing like a twist on the prevailing theme after 90 games of the 2015 season.
This time the A’s saw one of their former mates commit the critical error, and the A’s pulled out a close one with the late rally, not the other way around.
The A’s three-run, eighth inning rally punctuated by Brandon Moss’ throwing error pushed them past the Indians, 5-4, ending a three-game losing streak. Billy Butler’s double chased home two baserunners and broke a 2-2 tie. Moss’ error on the play allowed a third run to score on the play and that turned out to be the difference after the Indians rallied back in the bottom of the inning.
The A’s won for only the eighth time in 30 one-run ballgames which made the late surge that much sweeter.
“Sometimes you need a big hit to help you break out. We’ve been having trouble with that,” Butler said.
Chris Bassitt was recalled to make the start in place of Jesse Hahn, and he was just as effective as he was in two starts on the previous homestand. Bassitt pitched into the seventh inning allowing two runs and his timing couldn’t have been better. Nearly 75 people from Bassitt’s home in nearby Toledo were at Progressive Field to cheer their guy on, including his mom, who Bassitt said he could hear screaming throughout.
Hahn was placed on the 15-day disabled list due to a strained forearm, and Bassitt was a call away, recalled from AAA Nashville.
Of course, after breaking the tie score late, the A’s didn’t make it easy. Manager Bob Melvin called on four relievers to get the A’s through the eighth, punctuated by Carlos Santana’s homer that brought the Indians within 5-4. Eric O’Flaherty retired two batters in the seventh to earn the win, and Tyler Clippard got the final four outs to earn his 17th save.
Sonny Gray takes the mound Sunday as the A’s try to earn a split of their six-game trip preceeding the All-Star break. Gray returned from salmonella poising on Tuesday, in a start at Yankee Stadium in which he allowed three runs in six innings.