The Oakland A’s Marcus Semien connected for the game winning base hit in the bottom of the 13th inning of Friday night’s game at the Oakland Coliseum to score Robbie Grossman for the win (AP photo)
By Barbara Mason
The Oakland A’s had a decent start to the 2020 season. They were by no means on fire and quite frankly their bats were a bit on the sleepy side. They won a few games and then the mediocre start turned into something very special.
It started slowly, but those bats came to attention and there has been no looking back. In the last six games the A’s have outscored their opponents 34-14. The team is riding on a six game winning streak and are sitting atop the AL West two and a half games ahead of the second place Houston Astros. This 3-game series against the Astros could turn out to be a very important one in this shortened season.
The A’s Chris Bassitt was on the mound in the opening game of the series. He breezed through the first two innings allowing the Astros a single hit. The Astros Zach Greinke had two nice innings allowing only one hit by Kris Davis. It was the first for the A’s a double in the second inning. Grossman would strike out leaving Davis stranded going into the third inning.
Martin Maldonado would advance to 1st base on a walk followed by a bullet to deep center field by Myles Straw. Maldonado would score off that hit giving the Astros the first score of the game 1-0. In the bottom of the third inning the A’s managed a single by Marcus Semien but was left stranded when Ramon Laureano was thrown out at first.
After a quiet fourth inning by both teams, the A’s started to make some noise in the 5th inning. With the bases loaded and 1 out the A’s were threatening. A double play ended Oakland’s hopes to get up on the scoreboard and this game would go into the 6th inning.
It was a very frustrating 6th inning for the A’s. After a leadoff triple by Ramon Laureano the team came away empty. Offensively, the A’s were not getting the job done. They had the bases loaded in the 5th and a runner on third with no outs in the 6th but no cigar for Oakland. The only good news for the A’s through 6 innings was the slim lead for Houston.
Houston’s Josh James would take over for Greinke in the bottom of the 7th inning. It would prove disastrous for Houston as Robbie Grossman would knock the ball out of the park to tie the game 1-1. Hopefully that at bat would inject some life into the A’s offense.
Joakim Soria would come in for the A’s to start the 8th inning. Chris Bassitt had allowed only 3 hits having another solid game. The new and improved Soria took care of business stranding a single Astro player heading into the bottom of the 8th inning.
It had been a battle of the starters but now we saw the battle of the bullpen. This battle would carry into the top of the 9th inning with Liam Hendriks. Hendriks would make short work of the Astros and the A’s would head into walk off territory in the bottom of the 9th inning.
The walk off was not to be and so it was off to extra innings. Jake Diekman would start the 10th inning. Matt Chapman would make a diving play to get the third out at first and the A’s would have a second chance for a walk off.
Astros pitcher Enoli Paredes would take the mound in an effort to keep his team in the game. Oakland would leave a runner on third and first heading into the 11th inning. The A’s had opportunity and just weren’t able to take advantage of those opportunities putting their winning streak on the line. J.B. Wendelken would pitch the 11th inning navigating through 3 batters the final out being Correa.
In the 11th inning, the A’s would load the bases for the second time in the game to no avail. It was off to the 12th inning. The Astros with runners on 3rd and 1st with no outs had an opportunity to bury the A’s. Houston was unable to cash in on the opportunity and the A’s had yet another chance to put this one away. They simply had to put the ball into play. A very frustrating game for both managers. The A’s would load the bases for the 3rd time in the game and come up empty yet again.
It was just a matter of time when one of these teams would take advantage of the missed opportunities. The Astros would be that team as Stubbs crossed home plate taking a 2-1 lead. The A’s would have one last chance in this game. With the bases loaded again the A’s finally broke through to even the score 2-2. Would this game continue or could the A’s finally finish it in the 13th inning? Apparently Marcus Semien was frustrated enough to belt a deep ball center field winning the game for Oakland in a marathon. “For us we just wanted to play our game. We’re hot right now. This was a tough game,” Semien said post game.. So the Oakland A’s keep their win streak intact at 7 in a row. It sure makes for another interesting game tomorrow as these two rivals meet for the second game of their series.