Photo credit: @Athletics
By Jerry Feitelberg
Mamma Mia! What a game! The A’s snapped a two-game losing streak when Matt Chapman hit a two-run homer in the top of the ninth to defeat the Los Angeles Angels 3-2 at Angel Stadium on Wednesday night.
The A’s knew that the Tampa Bay Rays beat the New York Yankees for the second night in a row, and if they A’s were to lose, they would find themselves a 1/2 game behind the Rays in the race for the first Wild Card.
Players, coaches, managers, and fans know that teams have to cash in when they have a chance to score. Failure to take advantage of opportunities leads to frustration. When that happens, teams lose games they should win. That was the situation for Oakland. The A’s failed to score in the first, second, sixth, seventh, and eighth innings. They found themselves trailing 2-1 after eight. A loss to the Angels would have been devastating. Here’s how they pulled off the win. The Angels had their closer, Hansel Robles, in the game to shut the door. A’s shortstop, Marcus Semien, who is a candidate for Most Valuable Player, led off the ninth with a single. The next hitter, Ramon Laureano, who homered in the fifth, laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Semien into scoring position. The A’s needed one run to tie the game if they hoped to salvage the win. A’s manager Bob Melvin was probably thinking to get the contest into extra innings and hope to win it in overtime. Matt Chapman, who had been in a slump, had other thoughts. He sent the first pitch from Robles and sent it over the trees in center field. The ball traveled 436 feet, and the A’s led 3-2. It was Chapman’s 35th home run of the year.
A’s closer Liam Hendriks set the Angels down to secure the win for Oakland.
Game Notes: Frankie Montas made his first start after returning from an 80-game suspension. Montas pitched well as he went six innings and allowed four hits and one run.
The A’s improved to 95-63 and have four games left in the regular schedule. They will be in Seattle to finish the season. Their magic number to clinch a playoff berth is three. They lead the Rays by a 1/2 game and have a two-game advantage over the Cleveland Indians. The Indians lost to the Chicago White Sox Wednesday night.
Ramon Laureano hit his 23rd homer in the fifth. It was his first home run since returning from the IL. He also made an excellent defensive play in the fourth. With a man on first, he caught a ball as it was slicing to the right-field line. He unloaded a laser and nailed the runner as he was trying to make it back to the base.
The A’s line score was three runs, 12 hits, and no errors. The Angels’ line was two runs, six hits, and no errors. Joakim Soria was the winning pitcher, and Hansel Robles was the loser.
The A’s were one for 14 with runners in scoring position before Chapman homered in the ninth. They had chances, but couldn’t get the hit when needed.
A’s center fielder Mark Canha suffered a left groin strain in the bottom of the seventh and had to leave the game.
Time of game was three hours and 29 minutes. 38,685 fans watched the A’s come from behind and defeat the Angels.
Up Next: Lefty Sean Manaea will go for Oakland Thursday night in Seattle. He will be making his fifth start since coming back from a shoulder injury. The King, Felix Hernandez, will go for Seattle. Game time at 7:10 p.m.