sfgate.com photo: After surrendering three home runs Oakland A’s starter Sean Manaea heads for the A’s dugout as the Tampa Bay Rays win the AL Wild Card game at the Oakland Coliseum on Wednesday night 5-1
By Jerry Feitelberg
OAKLAND- The Tampa Bay Rays won the Wild Card game and advanced to the ALDS against the Houston Astros. The Rays, with the second-best road record in baseball, scored all of their runs on the strength of four home runs. They sent A’s starter Sean Manaea to an early exit as he gave up three bombs in two-plus innings of work. The A’s could do nothing against Charlie Morton and the Rays’ bullpen.
The A’s had opportunities, but they failed to cash in, and that cost them the game. The A’s have made the playoffs five times in the Bob Melvin era. They failed to advance in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2018, and now in 2019. Billy Beane and David Forst have to make some moves to improve the team over the winter.
Let’s see what happens. The Rays took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first. With the count 3-1, Yandy Diaz homered to right field. Sean Manaea settled down and struck out the next three hitters. The Rays lead 1-0 with the A’s coming to the plate. The A’s were able to load the bases as Marcus Semien led off with a single. The Rays’ starter Charlie Morton struggled with his command as he walked two hitters to load the bases.
He got Jurickson Profar to fly out to right to end the threat. The Rays put two more on the board in the second. Former San Francisco Giant Matt Duffy led off with an infield single. The next hitter, Avasail Garcia, hit a blast that went about 420 feet over the centerfield fence to give Tampa a 3-0 advantage.
In the top of the third, Yandy Diaz hammered his second homer of the night to make it 4-0. A’s manager Bob Melvin, decided to remove Manaea from the game. Yusmeiro petit came in and was able to stop the damage. Manaea’s line was two innings pitched, four hits, and four runs. The Rays tagged him for three big flys.
The A’s put their first run on the board in the bottom of the third. Marcus Semien reached third on a throwing error by Rays’ third baseman Mike Brosseau. Semien scored on a Ramon Laureano’s sacrifice fly to right. With two out in the fifth, the Rays continued to send the ball out of the park. Rays’ DH Tommy Pham hit the Rays’ fourth home run of the night over the center-field wall to put the Rays in the drivers’ seat 5-1.
The A’s bullpen shut down the Rays the rest of the way. The Rays’ bullpen stifled the A’s offense to secure the win. The Rays travel to Houston to play the Astros in the American League Division Series. Game notes- The winning pitcher was Charlie Morton, and Sean Manaea took the loss. There was some controversy about Bob Melvin’s choice of Manaea over Mike Fiers. Fiers led the team with a 15-4 record this season.
He was the A’s best pitcher, and many people were surprised by Melvin’s choice. Melvin said Manaea pitched very well when he returned from the IL and was 4-0 in five starts before the Wild Card game. Manaea gave up three home runs and four runs in two-plus innings of work. The bullpen gave up just one run in the last seven innings of the game. The A’s offense went to sleep Wednesday night.
The only run they scored was unearned in the third inning. The A’s managed eight hits, all singles. The Rays had seven hits, but four were home runs, and that was the difference in the game. There were 54,005 fans at the park Wednesday night and that set a record for a Wild Card game. The time of the game was three hours and eighteen minutes. The A’s season ended sadly, but they have an excellent young team, and they will be back next year.