A’s beat Rockies 3-1 to finish eight-game road trip

Oakland A’s starter Mike Fiers went six innings and the A’s bullpen shut down the Colorado Rockies as the A’s and Rockies split the brief two game series at Coors Field in Denver on Wednesday (AP News photo)

By Jerry Feitelberg

The Oakland A’s ended their eight-game road trip win a 3-1 win over the Colorado Rockies Wednesday at Coors Field in Denver. The A’s played four with Texas, two with Seattle, and two with Colorado. They played games in three cities in three days. They played a doubleheader in Texas, a doubleheader in Seattle, and two games in the thin Rockie Mountain air. The air quality in Seattle was abominable.

It was so bad that MLB canceled the game between the San Francisco Giants and the Mariners on Tuesday. They then moved the two games to San Francisco on Wednesday and Thursday. MLB was able to do it as both teams had an off-day on Thursday.

The A’s met the Rockies for the fourth time this season. The Rockies had won the previous three games and were looking to sweep the A’s. The A’s sent Mike Fiers to pitch. Fiers entered the game with a 5-2 record and had been pitching well. The Rockies countered with German Marquez. Marquez was 2-5 but had thrown well against the A’s when the teams played in July at the Oakland Coliseum.

The A’s put the first run of the game on the board in the top of the third. Tony Kemp, leading off, drew a walk. He went to second on Marquez’s throwing error to first in an attempt to pick him off. Marquez walked Semien. Kemp went to third on the play as Marquez’s last pitch to Semien got past catcher Tony Wolters.

The A’s had men on at first and third with no out. Robbie Grossman hit into a fielder’s choice. It was a strange play as Tony Kemp was caught in a rundown. Instead of trying to tag Kemp, Wolters threw to third base to nail Semien. Kemp, in the meantime, was able to avoid the tag. Rockies’ third baseman Nolan Arenado, who tagged Semien out, dropped the ball. He made a hurried throw to home, which was not on the mark, and Kemp could slide past the tag. The A’s lead 1-0.

The lead didn’t last long. In the Rockies’half of the third, the Rockies put together three straight singles by Ryan McMahon, Tony Wolters, and Ramiel Tapia to tie the game with one out. Fiers had his work cut out for him as he had to face two of the Rockies’ best hitters, Trevor Story and Charlie Blackmon. Story hit into a fielder’s choice, and he struck out the ever-dangerous Blackmon to end the threat.

The A’s added two more runs in the sixth. Tommy La Stella reached on an infield single. Matt Olson doubled to send La Stella to third. Olson’s double snapped an 0-for-18 slump. Mark Canha grounded out to drive in La Stella. Olson went to third. Jake Lamb, playing third, singled to drive in Olson with the A’s third run. The A’s lead 3-1.

A’s manager Bob Melvin removed Fiers after six innings of work. He brought in lefty Jake Diekman to start the seventh. Diekman held the Rockies scoreless in the seventh and faced one batter in the eighth. Liam Hendriks recorded the last two outs in the eighth and then sent the Rockies down in order in the ninth to record his thirteen save of the season.

Game Notes- With the win, the A’s are now 31-19 and have a six-game advantage over the Houston Astros. The magic number to clinch the AL West division is five. Any combination of A’s wins or Houston losses will give the Green and Gold the title.

Mike Lamb is five-for eleven since joining the A’s. Hed had two hits and drove in a run on Wednesday. La Stella was two-for-four and scored a run.

The defensive play of the day came in the bottom of the fifth. Rockies’ catcher Tony Wolters led off with a double. Left fielder Raimel Tapia hit a ground ball down the first baseline. Olson, playing in, fielded the ball. Instead of making the out at first, he threw a dart to Lamb at third to tag Wolters out. Bob Melvin said, “it was the play of the game.”
Melvin also said, “it was a big win for us” and that Mike Fiers was “fantastic.”

Fiers’ line was six innings pitched, seven hits, four strikeouts, and one earned run. The line for the A’s was three runs, six hits, and no errors. The Rockies’ line was one run, nine hits, and one error.

The A’s do not play on Thursday. They have ten games left to play. The meet the Giants for three this weekend. They are off on Monday. They play three against the Los Angeles Dodgers in LA and finish the season with four against the Mariners in Oakland.

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