Herrmann hits grand slam in 1st game with A’s; Oakland edges Twins 8-6

Photo credit: @Athletics

By Jerry Feitelberg

OAKLAND — The A’s won their fourth straight to go eight games over the .500 mark with a record of 47-39. It was not easy as they were facing the AL Central first place Minnesota Twins. The Twins have a lineup loaded with guys that can hit the ball out of the park. Twins manager Rocco Baldelli has the team playing well and the A’s were hoping their starter Daniel Mengden could subdue the Twins’ hitter. In addition, the A’s were facing the Twins’ best pitcher Jake Odorizzi, who entered the game with a sparkling record of 10-3 and an ERA of 2.73.

The Twins put two runs on the board in the top of the second inning. With two out, Twins rookie second baseman, 22-year-old Luis Arraez singled to start the rally. Third baseman Miguel Sano took Mengden deep for his 13th tater of the season. The Twins led 2-0 halfway through the second.

The Twins took a 3-0 lead in the top of the third. The A’s came back with two in their half of the third. A’s second baseman Franklin Barreto led off with a double. He tagged up and went to third on Marcus Semien’s fly out to left. Matt Chapman struck out, but the other Matt, Matt Olson hammered his 17th homer to make it a 3-2 game.

The A’s took the lead for the first time in the bottom of the fourth. A’s right fielder Mark Canha reached on an error. Twins starter Jake Odorizzi walked Ramon Laureano to put two men on with no out. Robbie Grossman followed with a bloop single to center to load the base, A’s catcher, Chris Herrmann, making his first start as an Oakland Athletic, made his first hit memorable. His hit is the stuff that players dream about when they were kids. Just imagine coming to the plate with the bases loaded and hitting a grand slam for your first hit with your new team. That is exactly what happened. Herrmann’s blast sent Odorizzi to the showers. The A’s now led 6-3.

The Twins, who were loaded with power hitters, cut the deficit to two when catcher Jason Castro homered off Mengden to make it 6-4. The A’s got the run back in the bottom of the inning. With one out, Mark Canha walked. Ramon Laureano doubled into the corner in left field. Third base coach Matt Williams waved Canha home. Twins’ left fielder Marwyn Gonzalez’s throw home nailed Canha. Laureano took third on the throw home. Grossman singled to drive in Laureano to give the A’s the lead 7-4 after five complete.

The Twins showed the reason they are in first place in the AL Central. With one out, Marwyn Gonzalez singled to start the rally. Gonzalez tormented the A’s when he was with Houston and he continued to do so Tuesday night. Mengden retired C.J.Cron for the second out. Luis Arraez, who singled in the second inning, slammed a  double to left-center-field to drive in Gonzalez with the Twins’ fifth run of the game. A’s manager Bob Melvin brought in Yusmeiro Petit to pitch. Petit retired Sano for the third out. The A’s failed to score in the bottom of the sixth. They still led the Twins 7-5 after six.

The Twins’ Jason Castro led off the seventh with his second solo dinger of the game to make it a one-run contest. Oakland still led 7-6 midway through the seventh. The A’s Mark Canha responded with his 12th homer in the bottom of the seventh to give the A’s a two-run cushion 8-6 heading into the eighth inning.

The Twins failed to score in the eighth. In the ninth, the A’s brought in Liam Hendriks to close out the game. Hendriks gave up a single to Miguel Sano.  Hendriks settled down and struck out Jason Castro for the first out. Castro had a double and two solo home runs and getting a strikeout was just the tonic Hendriks needed. He struck out Byron Buxton for the second out. Hendriks had to deal with the dangerous left-handed hitter Max Kepler. Kepler has hit 21 homers to lead the Twins in that department and also represented the tying run at the plate. Hendriks won the battle as he got Kepler to fly out to center for the final out of the game. The A’s won 8-6.

Game Notes and Stats: The A’s won their fourth game in a row to improve to 47-39. The A’s moved into second place in the AL West as the LA Angels beat the Texas Rangers 9-4. The A’s did not gain any ground on the Houston Astros as they rallied to beat the Colorado Rockies 9-8. The Twins drop to 53-31 for the year.

Daniel Mengen was the winning pitcher and his record improved to 3-1. Liam Hendriks earned his third save. The loss went to Jake Odorizzi. Odorizzi is now 10-4 for 2019.

The A’s line score was eight runs, eight hits, and no errors. The Twins’ line score was six runs, 10 hits, and one error.

The A’s observed a moment of silence to honor the memory of Angels’ pitcher Tyler Skaggs. Skaggs passed away yesterday in Texas. He was 27-years-old. A very sad time for his family, the Angels, and everyone that loves baseball.

The A’s hit three homes to increase their total for the season to 136.  They have seven players with 10 or more home runs which are second-most in the majors. The Twins have eight. The Twins also hit three homers and now have 160 with five games remaining before the All-Star break. The Yankees set the record last year with 161.

Time of game was three hours and 20 minutes and a crowd of 13,926 people went home happy as the A’s won 8-6.

Up Next: Game two will start at 6:07 pm Wednesday. Mike Fiers (8-3, 4.01 ERA) will go for Oakland and Kyle Gibson (8-4, 4.21 ERA) will go to the mound for the Twins.

Following Wednesday night’s game, the A’s will have a fireworks show that will honor the military and the Fourth of July.

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