By Charlie O. Mallonee
OAKLAND — Don’t look now but the Oakland Athletics are on a roll. After beating the Cleveland Indians 3-2 on Saturday, the A’s have now won two consecutive games. They are 4-1 on this homestand versus teams from Ohio — Cleveland and Cincinnati. The A’s record at the Coliseum has improved to 14-9 for 2019.
This fact may come as a surprise to A’s fans — their team has a 5-4 record in the month of May to date. In what has seemed to be an atmosphere of gloom and doom for the A’s recently, in reality, things have actually have been going fairly well. Oakland is no longer in the cellar in the AL West and are just a 1/2 game out of third place.
The “opener” is back
The A’s used Liam Hendricks as an “opener” on Saturday against the Indians. Hendricks pitched one scoreless inning allowing just one hit and striking out one batter. This was the first time Oakland used an “opener” in 2019 while they employed the concept nine times in 2018.
Aaron Brooks took over in the second inning and worked four innings for the A’s. He gave up one run (earned) off four hits. Brooks struck out four Cleveland hitters and walked three. He also allowed one home in the fifth inning to Leonys Martin (6).
Cleveland used just two hurlers
Trevor Bauer made the start for Cleveland and lasted for seven innings. He threw 122 pitches and struck out 10 Oakland batters. Bauer allowed two runs, but neither run was earned. Bauer did not figure into the final decision.
A.J. Cole worked the final 1.1-innings and took the loss.
Cleveland tied it up in the top of the ninth
The A’s held a 2-1 lead as Cleveland came to bat in the top of the ninth inning. Blake Treinen was summoned from the bullpen to close out the game. Well, that is not how things would go for Oakland.
Jordan Luplow led off the inning with a single to left. Mike Freeman laid down a sacrifice bunt that moved Luplow up to second base. Carlos Gonzalez came in as a pinch hitter and struck out swinging. Leonys Martin then hit a single through the hole on the left side of the infield that allowed Luplow to come home and score the tying run.
The A’s walk it off again
With the score tied 2-2, the A’s had the opportunity to end the game in the bottom of the ninth inning. With A.J. Cole on the hill, Matt Olson led off the inning with a walk. Kendrys Morales then singled to center moving Olson up to second base. Stephen Piscotty laid down a sacrifice bunt that moved Olson to third and Morales to second. Ramon Laureano then singled to right field that drove Olson home to score the winning for Oakland.
The A’s are 1-14 when going homerless in a game
Oakland entered the game 0-14 when not hitting a home run a game. The A’s broke that streak today as they beat Cleveland without the aid of a round-tripper. Houston and Seattle have not won a game without hitting a home run.
Chapman loves playing Cleveland
Matt Chapman has reached base safely in his eight career games versus Cleveland. He is batting .483 (14-for-29) with nine runs, five doubles, a triple, three home runs, four RBI, and four walks versus the Northern Ohio team.
The three-game series will conclude on Sunday when Cleveland will send Jefry Rodriguez (0-2, 2.41 ERA) to the mound in search of a win. The A’s will call on Daniel Mengden for the first time this season. The righthanded mustached pitcher has been recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas after making six starts in the minors. The first pitch is scheduled for 1:07 PM.