By Charlie O. Mallonee
OAKLAND — The A’s jumped back into the win column on Saturday as they beat the Tampa Bay/Montreal Rays 4-2. The win upped the A’s record to 41-37 on the season and makes them 6-3 for the homestand. The loss drops the Rays to 44-33 for the year.
Mike Fiers made the start for the A’s, and he fought for six tough innings on the mound. Fiers allowed just one run (earned) off four hits. He struck out two Rays and walked three. Fiers also hit three Tampa Bay batters which put him some peril that his defense helped put down several times. For all of his efforts, Fiers wound up with a no-decision for the outing.
Ryan Buchter relieved Fiers in the seventh inning but was ineffective, and Yusmeiro Petit was brought into the contest with two out and a runner at third. Petit struck out Kevin Kiermaier to end the inning.
Petit would come back out for the top of the eighth inning. Petit made short work of the Rays as he struck out the side. He faced four hitters and struck out all four. Petit would also pick up the win to make his record 2-1 for 2019.
Liam Hendricks entered the game in the ninth to close things out for the A’s. He sat the Rays down in order to earn his first save of the season.
Focus on the A’s
- Matt Chapman continued to give Oakland big hits as launched his 18th home run of the season off Yonny Chirinos in the third inning. He then hit a double (20) in the seventh that drove Josh Phegley home to score the go-ahead run in the game. It was his 43rd RBI of the season. Bob Melvin said in his postgame comments that he really intended to give Chapman the day off, but his third baseman would not have anything to do with sitting on the bench.
- Ramon Laureano went 2-for-2 in the game and was hit twice by pitches. In fact, a total of five batters were hit pitches in the game on Saturday (Rays 3, A’s 2). Laureano also made two fine defensive plays in center field. In the top of the third inning, he caught a fly ball off the bat of Austin Meadows. Brandon Lowe was at third and thought about tagging up then heading home. Laureano gunned the ball to Beau Taylor. Lowe had to hold at third. Then in the fourth inning, Joey Wendle hit a ball into the gap in left-center field. Laureano fielded the ball while Wendle decided to stretch his single into a double. The A’s centerfielder threw Wendle out at second base.
- The A’s moved two runners up in the game twice via the steal. One was a steal of second. The other was a steal of third base by Laureano.
- The A’s were 2-for-11 with Runners in Scoring Position. They left eight runners on base.
Tampa Bay notes
- The Rays did not use an “opener” in the game on Saturday. Yonny Chirinos made the start and worked 6.0-innings giving up two runs (both earned) on two hits. He struck out three and walked two. Chirinos did not figure into the decision.
- Diego Castillo came on in relief of Chirinos. He gave up two runs off two hits. Castillo (1-6) was tagged with the loss. Castillo was also the loser on Thursday night.
- Ji-Man Choi has hit six home runs in his last 25 games. His home run (9) on Saturday off Buchter was his first versus a left-handed pitcher this season.
- Avisail Garcia was hit by a pitch in each of his first two plate appearances.
Injury news update from the A’s
Manager Bob Melvin announced during his postgame press conference that closer Blake Treinen has been placed on the Injury List for a “mild shoulder issue”. More details will follow.
Up next on the schedule
The A’s will send LHP Brett Anderson (7-4, 3.68 ERA) to the mound on Sunday to close out the 10-day homestand. The Rays are going with infamous “To Be Determined”. That probably means an opener followed by a group of relievers.