By Charlie O. Mallonee
OAKLAND — The Oakland Athletics scored five runs off five hits in the bottom of the first inning to take a 5-0 lead on the Seattle Mariners. Matt Chapman hit his 22nd home run of the season off of M’s starter Mike Leake. Stephen Piscotty hit a two-run home run (19) off Leake. Matt Olson and Marcus Semien each hit an RBI double. Everyone in the Coliseum knew that this game was going into the “W” column for the A’s.
Everybody in the Coliseum knew that the game belonged to the A’s except the 25 guys in blue uniforms from Seattle. The M’s put up a run in the top of the second inning and then came back for more in the top of the fourth inning. Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz hit back-to-back home runs off A’s starter Mike Fiers who did have his best stuff on Friday night. Then, Ryon Healy–the former Athletic–hit a two-run home run to tie the game at 5-5. Everything changed.
The A’s bullpen took over for Fiers and gave their team a chance to get it together.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Oakland retook the lead when rookie outfielder Ramon Laureano delivered a sacrifice fly that allowed Matt Olson to score the go-ahead run. The A’s then added some cushion when Jed Lowrie hit a one-out double and then scored on a Khris Davis RBI single.
The bullpen held on to that 7-5 lead to get the A’s (81-55) the win.
This critical four-game AL West series is now tied at one game apiece.
The win was awarded to Yusmeiro Petit (6-3) who relieved Fiers and was the pitcher of record when Olson scored the go-ahead run in the fifth inning. Blake Treinen picked up his 34th save of the season. Treinen now sports a 0.94 ERA.
Mike Leake (8-9) was hung with the loss for Seattle (75-60).
This is how the A’s pitching line is going to look the rest of the season
Mike Fiers only lasted 3.2 innings in his start on Friday night. A’s manager Bob Melvin certainly wants his starting pitchers to go at least five innings per start, but five innings are all that may be required from the starters for the A’s to be successful. The 2018 A’s are all about the bullpen.
In the win 7-5 win over Seattle on Friday night, Oakland used 5 relief pitchers. It was a parade of fresh arms stepping up on the rubber to deliver a devastating variety of pitches designed to stop opposing hitters in their tracks.
Yusmeiro Petit, Lou Trivino, Fernando Rodney, Jeurys Familia and Blake Treinen combined to pitch 5.1 innings of shutout baseball. They allowed the M’s just two hits while walking just two batters and striking out seven. They slammed the door on the Seattle offense to give their A’s the chance to win the game, which they did 7-5.
Every game will not feature five relievers, but you can expect to see games that feature three men out of the bullpen on a regular basis. The help that is coming with the expanded September rosters is going to be most welcome.
The standings are shaken up again
This A’s win really changed the standings in the AL West. The Astros lost, the A’s won and the M’s lost. Oakland is now just 1.5 games behind Houston for first place in the West. Seattle falls 5.5 games back of the A’s in the West and 7.0 games behind Houston.
By losing, the M’s also are now 5.5 games down to the A’s in the Wild Card race. These head-to-head division matchups are critical to a team’s standing when fighting for a post-season slot.
Food for your brain
- Matt Chapman hit a home run and a double to give him a major league leading 22 extra-base hits in August. Those 22 extra-base hits also tied a franchise record.
- Stephen Piscotty’s home run was just his fourth round-tripper hit in Oakland this season. He has hit 19.
- Mike Fiers worked only 3.2 innings which was his shortest outing for the A’s.
- Khris Davis ended a 0-for-19 streak with his RBI-single in the sixth inning.
- The A’s are 57-0 when leading after seven innings.
- The M’s Mike Leake has not won a game since June 23rd in Boston.
- Nelson Cruz hit his 16th career home run at the Coliseum on Friday night which is the most among active players.
- Dee Gordon now leads the American League with 30 stolen bases.
The A’s and Mariners will play game three of this crucial four-game series on Saturday night at 6:05 PM PDT.
The M’s will send LHP James Paxton to the mound. Paxton is 10-5 on the season and will be making his 25th start of the year. He has a 3.68 ERA.
The A’s will counter with RHP Daniel Mengden, who was recalled from Triple-A Nashville last Monday. This is Mengden’s second tour of duty with the big club. Mengden has a 6-6 record on the year with a 4.28 ERA.