A’s get edged by Cleveland; Canha returns goes 0-4

Cleveland’s Franmil Reyes connects for a eighth inning solo home run that gets Cleveland a run ahead of the Oakland A’s at the Oakland Coliseum on Sat Jul 17, 2021 (AP News photo)

Cleveland 3 – 8 – 0

Oakland 2 – 7 – 0

By Lewis Rubman

Saturday, July 17, 2021

OAKLAND–The A’s reinstated Mark Canha from the Injured List today. The team’s won-lost record on June 25, the day their designated target had been placed on the list, was 46-32 (.590). They awoke this morning at 53-40 (.570). Projected over 162 games, they would have won four more games with Canha on the roster than they would have without him.

That’s a rough and far from perfect way of judging Canha’s worth to Oakland. Indeed, my seat of the pants calculations are more favorable to Canha than is the 2.3 WAR fangraphs gives him. Both, however, provide the sort of information that voters should be aware of when they cast their ballots for Most Valuable Player.

The MVP isn’t necessarily the league leader in any of the big three categories of batting average, home runs, and runs batted in; it’s the player who makes the biggest contribution to the team. Canha’s starting this afternoon in left field and batting in his old lead off spot without a day of rehab in the minors is a good indication of how large a contribution the A’s think he makes toward their success. He ended up going one for four in Oakland’s disappointing loss to the Indians..

A pair of two out two baggers by two of the A’s first basemen, Matt Olson and Mitch Moreland in his more recent role as DH, put the home team ahead in the first inning. The hits came off Cal Quantrill, the Indians’ 26 year old right hander who started the game with a record of 1-2, 4.23.

Frankie Montás had started the game for the green and gold at 8-7, 4.41 but had gone 1-0, 2.60, with an opponents’ BA of .194 over has thrree previous starts. Hekept the visitors off the scoreboard, at least in the runs column, for four and a third innings.

Then, with one down, Austin Hedges singled sharply to right and advanced to second when the Á’s starter walked the number nine batter,Daniel Johnson. César Hernánde then slammed a double off the rightt field scoreboard to driv in Hedges and allow Johnson to reach third. Amed Rosario lost no time in lofting a sacrifice fly to Laureano in center to put Cleveland ahead, 2-1.

Oakland threatened in the bottom of the fifth, loading the bases with no one out on Kemp’s infield single followed by consecutive plunkings of Aramís García and Canha, who showed that he’s lost none of his ability to get hit by a pitch. The stage was set for Elvis Andrus to display some midgame heroics.

But he grounded sharply into a 5-2-3 double play and, just like that, there were runners on second and third but with two out. A semi-intentional walk to Olson reloaded the basses, but Moreland’s to deep center was an out too late and a couple of dozen feets too short.

That inning put an end to Quantrill’s working day. He had hurled five complete frames and allowed one run, earned, on four hits, two walks, and two hit batters. He threw 85 pitches, 48 for strikes. His replacement was the Nick Sandlin, followed an inning later by Bryan Shaw.

The A’s brought in Deolis Guerra to face the tribe at the start of the seventh. Montás had allowed two runs, both earned, in his sixth innings of work, allowing eight hits and a walk. He had seven strikes outs and threw one wild pitch. His pitch count was 94, with 58 strikes. Guerra got through the seventh without allowing anyting worse thn a lead off single and then gave way to JB Wendelken for the eighth.

Wendelken wasn’t as effective as his predecessor. He delivered a 94 mph fast ball to Franmil Reyes, who delivered it to the dead center field seats on the Treehouse level, 437 feet away. It was the 15th homer of the year for the Indians’ DH.

Oakland was trailing 3-1 when Emmanuel Clase, whose 100 mph+ cut fast balls had provided the fodder for Jed Lowrie’s walk off two run homer last night, took the mound in the home eighth to try to maintain Cleveland’s two run edge He wasn’t that fast this afternoon, and maybe that helped. He set the heart of the Oakland lineup, Olson, Moreland, and Laureano, down in order.

The newly acquired Sam Moll made his Oakland debut in the top of the ninth. He needed only 11 pitches to retire the side with only a four pitch walk to sully his record.

Oakland faced closer James Karinchak in the ninth. He walked Chapman on five pitches. Seth Brown moved Chappy up 90 feet with a single to right center. Jed Lowrie pinch hit for Kemp. Yesterday’s hero hit a foul fly to right that moved Chapman to third.

Murphy pinch hit for García and hit a sacrifice fly to right that scored Chapman and brought Canha up with two outs and a runner on first. Karinchak quickly got ahead of him, 0 and 2. Canha fouled off two more offerings before sending a liner back to the mound that Karinchak couldn’t handle.

That single put Brown on second with the potential tying run and Canha on first representing the potential winning run with Andrus at the plate. He hit a hard grounder that shortstop Rosario back handed and threw to first in time to get Andrus out by a step and end the game.

Quantrill (2-2, 4.05) got the win; Montás (8-8, 4.33), the loss. Karinchak got his tenth save.

Tomorrow, Sunday, afternoon at 1:07 is the scheduled starting time for the rubber game of this three game series. Zach Plesac (4-3, 4,31) will go for Cleveland. Chris Bassitt (10-2, 3.28) probably will start for Oakland.

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