By Charlie O. Mallonee
OAKLAND — Game five of the 2018 Bay Bridge Series – the second of three to be played in Oakland – was played before the largest crowd to witness a Major League Baseball this season. The A’s (56-43) decided to take the tarps off the seats in the upper deck known as “Mount Davis” for the first time since 2006. The result was 56,310 Bay Area baseball fans were treated to a “wild and woolly” affair.
The top the ninth arrived at the Oakland Coliseum, and as usual, it was Treinen time. The A’s held a slim 3-2 lead over the Giants, but the A’s have been the masters of winning one-run games (15-8) in 2018. Treinen retired the first two batters — Posey and Sandoval on groundouts. The third hitter of the inning – Alen Hanson – struck out, but the strike three pitch was wild, got by the catcher and Hanson wound up safe at first (this is now the first paragraph of a Stephen King novel).
Hunter Pence then hit a pitch into right field that rolled into foul territory and into the Giants bullpen for a double, and Alen Hanson scored on the play. As right fielder Stephen Piscotty charged the ball, a member of the Giants bullpen picked up a chair and made contact with the outfielder. The Athletics contended that it should have been a “dead ball” at that point which would have kept the run from scoring. There is no rule that umpires could invoke, so the A’s challenged the play on a boundary call. A video review of the play upheld the call on the field. When the top of the ninth inning was over, the game was tied at 3-3.
The A’s were unable to score in the bottom of the ninth, so it was on to extra innings.
There was no scoring in the 10th inning and the Giants (51-49) failed to produce any runs in the top of the 11th frame.
The A’s are late inning battlers
Teams are learning that they cannot let the A’s hang around late in games and continue to have chances to score – because they will. That is exactly what happened on Saturday night.
In the bottom of the 11th inning, the Giants put LHP Will Smith on the mound. Piscotty grounded out to lead off the inning for Oakland. Dustin Fowler was then robbed of a hit when he lifted a “flare” to shallow right-center and shortstop Brandon Crawford made an outstanding sliding catch beyond the bag at second.
With two out, Matt Chapman picked up his third hit of the game with a single up the middle. Chad Pinder followed up with a single to left-center that moved Chapman up to second. Catcher Jonathan Lucroy – who did not enter the game until the 10th inning – singled to right-center field and Chapman never had any thoughts of doing anything but crossing home plate to score the winning run which he did.
The A’s won the game 4-3 to even the series in Oakland at 1-1 and to take a 3-2 lead in the six-game series after five games.
The walk off single was Lucroy’s second of the season. The Athletics are now 7-4 in extra inning games for the season and improved to 14-6 in games decided in the last at bat.
On the Hill
The Giants started their one-time superstar – LHP Madison Bumgarner – who has struggled since coming back from a broken finger on his pitching hand. “MadBum” looked strong in the opening four innings, but the A’s hitters got patient and things went south for Bumgarner in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Bumgarner loaded the bases and walked two runs in to give the A’s the lead 2-1 which ended his night. Sam Dyson came in to relieve Bumgarner and induced Mark Canha to hit into a double play but Chad Pinder scored the A’s third run on the play.
Bumgarner worked 4.0-plus innings giving up three runs (earned). He walked six and struck out five.
Will Smith (0-1) took the loss.
Trevor Cahill started the game for Oakland. It was his second start since coming off the disabled list. He worked 5.2-innings and gave up one run (earned) on a home run to Brandon Belt. Cahill struck out five and walked three.
Blake Treinen was charged with his fourth blown save of the season as he gave up the tying run when Hunter Pence hit the RBI-double into the bullpen along the right field line.
Yusmeiro Petit picks up his fifth win of the year as he was the pitcher of record after working a perfect top of the 11th inning for the A’s.
At the Plate
Matt Chapman went 3-for-5 with two runs scored to lead the A’s with the bat. He is now hitting at a .253 clip.
Stephen Piscotty hit his 26th double of the year off Bumgarner.
Phegley (10), Semien (34) and Lucroy (28) all recorded RBI for the A’s.
Oakland went 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position and left nine runners on base.
Hunter Pence likes being a DH. He went 3-for-5 with a double and two RBI as the Giants DH Saturday night.
The Giants also went 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position and left 8 men on base.
Let the buying begin
The question has been answered. The A’s are going to be buyers as the non-wavier trade deadline approaches. Oakland has acquired RHP relief pitcher Jeurys Familia from the New York Mets for two minor leaguers and $1-million in international slot money. Familia appeared in 40 games for NYM posting a 2.88 ERA with a 1.230 WHIP. He has struck out 43 in 40.2-innings and walked just 14. Familia has given up just one home run. He will be a free agent at the end of the 2018 season.
Get those suitcases packed
The A’s will head out on the road after the game on Sunday for a seven-game, two-city road trip. They will play four games in hot, humid Arlington, Texas versus the Rangers. All four games are night contests. There is no thought of day baseball this time of year in the Metroplex. After the four games in Texas, Oakland heads to Denver to play three games at Coors Field with the Colorado Rockies. The power hitting Athletics may find batting at a mile-high just to their liking.
Lonnnnng homestand coming
The A’s will return home from their road trip on Monday, July 30 to begin a stretch where 17 of their next 20 games will be played in Oakland. The only break in the homestand is three games in Anaheim with the Angels. Oakland will host the Blue Jays, Tigers, Dodgers, Mariners, Astros and Rangers in those 17 home games.
A belated parade for the 1989 World Champions
The 1989 World Champion Oakland Athletics were honored with long overdue parade to celebrate their 1989 World Series sweep of the San Francisco Giants. The team did not receive the parade because they did not want to show disrespect to those who lost loved ones in the tragic earthquake that disrupted the series. The celebration before the game was very nice. The one sad thing was there are several players that have passed on who could be there to be a part of the pregame honor.
The sixth and final game of the 2018 Bay Bridge Series will be played on Sunday at the Coliseum at 1:05 PM. The Giants will send RHP Johnny Cueto to the mound for his third start since coming off the disabled list on July 5th. He is 3-1 on the year with a 2.36 ERA. Cueto is 2-0 in Interleague games this season.
The A’s will counter with LHP Sean Manaea who 4-0 with a 3.14 ERA in eight starts since the beginning of June. His overall record this season is 9-6 with a 3.42 ERA. Manaea has an 11-game winning streak when pitching in day games that dates back to May 20, 2017. He is 2-1 with a 2.45 ERA in three career starts versus the Giants.