Not Socially Distant: Astros get closer to the A’s physically and verbally than with their play in a 7-2 loss

By Morris Phillips

Just to be clear: no masked men or well-to-do baseball players were seriously injured in Sunday’s un-socially, close-up basebrawl at the Coliseum. Combatants got face-to-face–a no-no in 2020 in itself–and choice words were exchanged, clearly audible in an empty stadium, but both sides were fully aware their actions will draw suspensions and hefty fines. More than bearhugs, the likelihood of penalties prevented things from escalating.

Still the dustup grabbed the headlines, but the bigger takeaway was that the A’s dealt the Astros a technical knockout with a sweep that gives them a sizeable, division lead in a pandemic-truncated season.

Simply, the A’s are hot, and that’s changing things in the AL West.

A 7-2 win completed the three-game sweep over the Astros, giving the A’s a 5 1/2 game lead (5 games ahead of second-place Texas) over their rivals. The A’s have won nine straight, and have their best record after 16 games since 2013.

“It doesn’t damper anything. We swept these guys, and that was our intent,” manager Bob Melvin said of the brawl. “That won’t damper what transpired.”

Jesus Luzardo pitched five plus innings to earn the win in just his second-ever, big league start. The 22-year old allowed two runs on five hits and outpitched 23-year old Cristian Javier in a matchup of up-and-coming arms.

Rex Grossman, Matt Olson and Matt Chapman homered off Javier as the A’s built a 5-0 lead after three innings. The A’s have homered 21 times in 16 games, the needed counterpoint to their 164 strikeouts and .214 team batting average.

Juli Gurriel’s two-run homer in the fourth put the Astros on the board, but they would be shut out the rest of the way. The A’s added on with Mark Canha’s infield single in the fifth that scored Marcus Semien, and Chapman’s RBI double in the seventh.

Laureano was hit in the back by rookie Humberto Castellanos’ pitch in the bottom of the seventh which prompted a jawing session between the batter and Houston coach Alex  Cintron who was yelling and gesturing on the dugout steps. The incident marked the second time Laureano was hit in the game, and the fifth time an A’s batter was hit by a pitch in the series.

Of course, these teams didn’t figure to be buddy buddy after A’s pitcher Mike Fiers blew the whistle on the Astro’s sign stealing scheme that aided their run to the World Series in 2017 and 2019. But the A’s somehow avoided confrontation with the earlier plunking, but not in the seventh inning with Cintron and Laureano yelling at each other as the batter moved toward first base.

“Ramon doesn’t go over there unless something completely offensive came out of the dugout,” Melvin said. “I think the league will know who that is. That person should get suspended. Hopefully, that’s the case. Nowadays, without fans in the stands and mics everywhere, my guess is they know who it was.”

“Everybody wants you to just control your temper, which you should, but sometimes things flare out of control,” Astros manager Dusty Baker admitted. Ironically, Baker was thrown out in the previous inning for verbally disputing balls and strikes’ calls made by home plate umpire Nick Mahrley. Baker departed without confronting Mahrley.

Laureano charged the Astro’s dugout, but was tackled and never reached Cintron, then Olson, from the on-deck circle, and Chapman arrived quickly in their teammate’s defense.

Commissioner Rob Manfred has promised heavy punishment for all on-field confrontations given the additional complications of the Coronavirus. Manfred delivered on that promise two weeks ago when Dodgers’ pitcher Joe Kelly was suspended for eight games after he threw a pitch in the vicinity of batter Alex Bregman’s head.

But no one charged the mound–or the opposing dugout–in the Dodgers-Astros’ bench-clearing incident. Laureano did. That probably will cost the valuable centerfielder five games or more.

The A’s travel to Anaheim for a three-game series with the Angels that starts Monday evening with Sean Manaea getting the start. Julio Teheran will pitch for the Angels.

Oakland A’s game wrap: Good pitching beats good hitting A’s win eighth straight 3-1 defeat Astros

Oakland Athletics’ Sean Murphy, Liam Hendriks (16) and Marcus Semien, from left, and teammates celebrate the 3-1 win over the Houston Astros in a baseball game Saturday, Aug. 8, 2020, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

By Charlie O

The Oakland A’s became baseball’s hottest team after they defeated the visiting Houston Astros on Saturday afternoon at the Oakland Coliseum 3-1 winning their eighth straight game. The A’s Marcus Semien who got the game winning hit the night before in the 13th inning to send the Astros packing this time lead off the ball game on Saturday with a home run in the first inning.

The A’s also got some great pitching help from starter Frankie Montas who picked up his second win against one loss throwing seven innings of shutout ball against a Astros line up that can pound the ball. Montas was pitching out of his mind and looked like he could have completed the game if it weren’t for the pitch count.

Montas surrendered two hits and walked a hitter the seven innings of work and top it off Montas struck out five batters. For the Astros their suffering in their own right taking a fourth straight loss, they have three starting pitchers that are shelved and can’t seem to get that old magic feeling like when they won their three previous AL West division title seasons.

Semien is off to the races during the A’s eight game win streak Semien is the first A’s player in the team’s franchise history to get a get a walk off hit to win a ball game and the very next day to leadoff with a home run.

Mark Chapman also provided some offense for the club he belted an eighth inning homer and picked up an RBI when he grounded out in the sixth. The A’s scored a single run in each of the first, sixth, and eighth inning frames good enough to defeat the Astros.

This was Astros manager Dusty Baker’s first visit back to the Bay Area. Dusty worked in the San Francisco Giants front office last season before getting hired as the Astros manager for this season. Dusty is trying to weather the storm with an injured pitching staff of starters and the team in the middle of a four game losing streak.

Sunday’s starting pitchers: The Houston Astros for game three of this series will be starting right hander Cristian Javier (1-0 ERA 1.42) with 11 strikeouts on Sunday. Javier won his first major league game on Tuesday against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field.

The A’s will be starting left hander Jesus Luzardo (0-0 ERA 2.31) threw five innings of shutout ball in his major league starting debut against the Texas Rangers. Luzardo made his major league pitching  debut in releif against the Houston Astros last season.

 

 

 

Oak A’s Fri game wrap: Semien’s basehit scores Grossman for 13th inning 3-2 win; A’s 7th consecutive win

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.

A’s game wrap: Four run 4th helps put A’s on top 6-4; Win streak extends to six

Oakland Athletics’ Khris Davis swings for a two run single off Texas Rangers’ Mike Minor in the fourth inning of a baseball game Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Texas Rangers 4-12-0

Oakland Athletics 6- 6- 0

By Lewis Rubman

OAKLAND–Mike Fiers seems to find himself in the most unusual circumstances.

Last May 7, at 6:50 in the evening, just fifteen minutes before he was scheduled to start against the Cincinnati Reds, the lights in the outfield at the Coliseum hadn’t fully turned on . Fiers’ first pitch was delayed, postponed, repeatedly put off, until, finally, at 8:45, the lights functioned well enough to allow the game to start. Most pitchers would have had trouble adjusting to a disruption of this magnitude to their pregame routine. Fiers went on to toss a no hitter against the Reds.

Two and a half weeks earlier, the A’s right hander, then the ace of the Athletics’ rotation, had found himself in another unaccustomed place. He was Oakland’s starting pitcher that night in the MLB’s season’s opener, played in the Tokyo Dome. His performance on that occasion was, however, lackluster, as it would continue to be until he took his 2-3, 6.81 record to the mound against Cincinnati and turned his season around

This past off-season found Fiers at the center of what seemed at the time to be baseball’s dominant controversy. It was he who blew the whistle on the Astros’ high tech garbage can sign stealing scandal.

We’ll be sure to hear more about that when Houston comes to town for a three game series starting tomorrow. So, in spite of the unsettling nature of all activities in this season of COVID-19 and the veteran hurler’s unimpressive record of 0-0, 5.40-not unlike the one he brought to his masterpiece against Cincinnati, it seemed likely that this afternoon’s contest between the division leading Athletics and the struggling Rangers would be just another day at the office for the veteran right hander.

Indeed, the A’s starter went about his business efficiently for the first four innings, although he began to wobble in the fifth frame. Nick Solak led off with a single to left, only the second hit of the game for Texas.

Before throwing his first pitcher to the next batter, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Fiers attempted to pick Solak off at first. Umpire Rob Drake ruled him safe, but the A’s requested, and got, a review. It took only a minute and 38 seconds for the umpire crew in New York to reverse Drake’s call.

That provided Fiers a respite, but all respites are brief and this was no exception. Fiers threw an 83 mph slider to Kiner-Falefa, and Kiner-Falefa hit a sinking line drive that Ramón dove for in center field in an unsuccessful attempt to make a circus catch. When the dust had settled, there was Kiner-Falefa a-hugging third. Andeerson Tejada promptly singled him home for the first Texas tally.

While Fiers was mowing down the Rangers line up, his teammates were making hay in the sunshine of the Coliseum, his opposite number for Texas, Mike Minor,was having major problems.

The Rangers’ southpaw, making his third start of the season after a decent outing against Colorado in Arlington and an unsuccessful one against the Giants in San Francisco, brought a 0-2, 5.91 mark and did not improve upon it. His troubles began in the second inning, when Matt Olson slammed his fourth home run of the season, his second in as many days, this one a blast that flew over the Eva Air advertisement in right field.

Minor held his own for a while, but Laureano led off the home fourth with a single to right and advanced to second on Matt Chapman’s wa;l . Mark Canha’s safety to center scored Laureano and moved Chappy up a base. After Minor got Olson on a fly to left, he walked Chad Pinder to load the bases.

The resurgent Khris Davis unloaded them with a two run single to left. which brought Pinder to third. Stephen Piscotty’s sacrifice fly to center drove in Pinder, and Oakland was up by five before Texas scored its first run when Fiers began to unravel in the fifth.

That unravelling began slowly and unsteadily, but it progressed surely. In the sixth, Todd Frzier narrowed the gap between the team to 5-2 with a 429 foot round tripper over an 86 mph sinker from Fiers.

After he surrendered a single to Kiner-Falefa and a two run and two run, 391 foot homer to on a change up to Anderson Tejada, making his major league debut, Fiers waa through for the day.He left the game leading 5-4 after posting a line of four runs, all earned, on seven hits, two of which went the distance, and two walks. He struck out two in his six plus innings of work. Of his 80 pitches, 49 were, by MLB’s statistical definition, strikes. T.J. McFarland, last night’s winning pitcher in relief, closed out the inning, although he allowed a double to left by Shin-Soo Choo.

Minor had left the game after recovering enough to retire the A;s 1-2-3 in the fifth, a feat his successor, Jimmy Herget, accomplished in the sixth. But the A’s put additional distance between themselves and pursuing Rangers in the bottom half of the seventh episode.

Joely Rodríguez took over for Herget to open the frame. Davis greeted him with an infield single. Piscotty sacrificed (yes, you read that right) him over to second, and he scored on Sean Murphy’s single to left center. Oakland now led 6-4.

The Rangers’ biggest threat came in the top of the eighth, with the old war horse Yusmeiro Petit on the mound for the Green and Gold. He merged bloody but unbowed, and, most important, unscored upon.

Petit began the inning by striking out Joey Gallo, which is not as easy to do these days as it was a couple of years ago. Then a trio of well-sprayed singles, to left, center, and right by Frazier, Solak, and Kiner-Falefa, respectively, loaded the bases with one out. Tejada, fresh from his single and homer (both to right) popped out on an infield fly to Semien. Then Robinson Chirinos pinch hit for Jeff Mathis. Petit came up big and struck him out on three pitches, all of them cut fast balls.

All that was left was for Liam Hendricks to keep the Rangers at bay for one more inning. He started inauspiciously at the top of bating order, allowing a single to right center by Choo. But he struck out Elvis Andrus on four pitches, three 95 mph four seamers in a row, followed an 87 mph slider.

Then Willie Calhoun hit a scorching line drive between first and second. It was fortunate for the A’s that they were playing in a shift and the ball came straight to Semien, who caught it and threw to first to double off Chou and end the game.

The win, not a pretty one, but a win nonetheless, went to Fiers; the save, his fourth, to Petit. Once again, the Athletics’ bullpen put it all together. It would be nice if you could a recognition joint wins; holds and saves just don’t cut it, especially in a season like this. Minor took the loss. He’s now 0-3 with an ERA of 6.89.

Before the game, the A’s announced that they had optioned Seth Brown and James Kaprielian to their alternate site in San José.

As I write this, Oakland has a two game lead over the Astros in the AL West, but Houston is ahead of the Diamondback 4-3 in the top of the eighth.

Speaking of the Astros, they come to Oakland for a three game series starting tomorrow. Zack Greinke (0-0, 5.00) is scheduled to pitch for the Garbage Can Bangers; Chris Basitt (1-0,0.93) for the Hometown Heroes.

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: Memory Lane The 1981 Oakland A’s

Copy of a delivered Sports Illustrated cover of the starting rotation of the 1981 Oakland A’s pitching staff top left to right, Rick Langford, Steve McCatty, Brian Kingman, bottom Matt Keough (left) and Mike Norris (right)

Memory Lane: The 1981 Oakland Athletics

That’s Amaury News Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

This current 60-game abbreviated season and the strike-abbreviated season of 1981 have many similarities. For the Oakland A’s 1981 was a bittersweet year. The A’s went far in the postseason, but felt short of the World Series. Some of us remember that year, in my case it was another crazy baseball season. The 1981 season and strike lasted from June 12 until July 31. It was all about arguing for free-agent compensation, in case anybody forgot. About one-third of the regular season was cancelled that year.

The 1981 season was actually split in half and there was quite a controversy because some teams missed out the postseason. The strike lasted a total of 50 days. All Star Game was postponed and then played August 9 in Cleveland, the second time an ASG was played in the month of August. Seems were settled and owners gave teams that won their divisions the right to advance to the Postseason.

The Oakland Athletics won the west that year with a record of 64-45 and got the right to travel to Kansas City for the best of five Divisional Series vs. the Royals. My broadcast partner, Julio González (RIP) and yours truly traveled to Kansas City for the first two games. The A’S won their two games in Kansas City and then returned to Oakland, were they finished the Royals via sweep.

While in Kansas City I wanted to visit the Harry Truman Library, in Independence, Missouri, not far from Kansas City, I convinced Julio we should visit. As somebody who likes history, I thought that would have been a good time to visit the former President hometown and library, but time was of an essence and we never visited. We were not more than 12 miles or so away, since we were staying at the hotel just outside Kaufman Stadium across the freeway, a big Marriott Hotel.

The next stop for the Athletics was New York. Yankee Stadium as we traveled for the American League Championship Series and a win would find us in the World Series. The first two games where in New York, I remember we took the team bus and I was wearing an A’s warm-up jacket (I should have known better, I lived in NY in the late 60’s) as we came out of the bus, some kids where throwing pebbles and stuff at all of us, players and alike as we came out of the bus right in front the stadium. Not a good omen.

The Yankees took the first two games in New York, and ultimately they also beat the A’s on the game at the Oakland Coliseum. We were done for the season. A crazy strike-year, A’s swept the Royals, and then got swept by the Yankees.

In 1981 Julio and yours truly were doing the games for KIQI 1010AM when the owner was Cuban-born Rene DeLa Rosa, a lifelong baseball aficionado, who just a couple of years’ before bought the station from Bay Area communications magnate James Gabbert.

Today and during the last few years the A’s broadcast Spanish station are aired on that same frequency 1010AM/990AM although with new management, studios, but still in San Francisco. The 1981 World Series matched the New York Yankees against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

I covered the games in LA for the radio station with interviews and pre-post game reports, Fernando Valenzuela who was the man for the Dodgers and one of the most popular players in all of baseball sat down with me for a one-on-one, among other players, also colleague friend and Dodger Hall of Fame broadcaster Jaime Jarrin, with whom I would be working a few years later during playoffs for the US and Latin-American Radio networks.

At the end, the Los Angeles Dodgers won in six games and their celebration took place inside their dressing room at Yankee Stadium, as they took that game six in the Bronx.

My memories of the 1981 season are still there, and it reminded me of the current 2020 season. We all know the reasons this season was “delayed” and we know a player strike also reduced 1981 which ended with a bi-coastal World Series between the Yankees and the Dodgers, the TV network dream. Ironically, today 39 years later, the two favorite teams to meet in the World Series in this 60-game season are, the Yankees and the Dodgers. Stay well and stay tuned.

Catch Amaury Pi Gonzalez and Manolo Hernandez-Douen for all of the Oakland A’s Spanish play by play on 1010 KIQI Le Grande San Francisco and Amaury does News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Oakland A’s podcast with Jerry Feitelberg: Piscotty and that historic grand slam; The acqusition of pitcher Kaprielian replacing Weems

Oakland A’s pitcher James Kaprielian who threw during the MLB layoff in Arizona was acquired by the A’s on Tuesday to replace injured Jordan Weems (photo from Baseball America)

On the A’s podcast with Jerry F:

#1 Jerry talk about the A’s getting into the MLB history books for being the team getting two walk off grand slams the earliest in a season?

#2 Stephen Piscotty who did get that second grand slam for the A’s on Tuesday night has really had a good season so far this year he’s hitting .276, with five RBIs, four runs scored and the one homer the grand slam.

#3 The A’s who acquired right hand pitcher James Kaprieleian on Tuesday night was part of the Sonny Gray deal with the New York Yankees will replace injured Jordan Weems. Kaprielian in 19 minor league appearances had an ERA of 1.63 in seven games in double A.

#4 Weems who was a catcher turned pitcher suffered a strained latissimus dorsi in the right arm. Weems will be on the ten day IL. Weems pitched three innings on July 28th and has pitched in two games and feeling pain in the right arm after the last outing.

#5 A’s pitcher Sean Manaea said that Kaprieliean has some nasty stuff, he’s a hard thrower and has a good change up, Kaprielian and Manaea he threw with Kaprielian during the MLB layoff in Arizona.

Join Jerry for the A’s podcasts each Thursday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

A’s game wrap: A’s get key hits in late innings win fifth straight 6-4 over Rangers

Oakland Athletics’ Austin Allen, left, celebrates with Tony Kemp after hitting a two run home run off Texas Rangers’ Ian Gibaut in the seventh inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020, in Oakland, Calif. Ben Margot/AP

Texas Rangers. 4.-7-0

Oakland Athletics. 6-7-0

August 5, 2020

By Lewis Rubman

OAKLAND–The division leading A’s, hoping to extend their slender half-game advantage over Houston, sent Sean Manaea to the mound this evening, hoping to extend the number of innings he could pitch effectively in a start. The promising southpaw, who spent most of last season rehabbing from shoulder surgery, hadn’t made it out of the fifth frame in either of his two starts in this year’s stop and start season.

Starting strong and running out of gas wasn’t Manaea’s problem tonight. Shin-Soo Choo blasted his first offering into the State Farm banner just to the left of the 388 foot sign in left field. It was his third round tripper of the season.Manaea settled down after that, striking out three of the four batters he faced in what was left of the first, retiring the side in order in the second, and escaping without damage in spite if Elvis Andrus’s double and steal of third in the third.

Manaea’s opponent on the mound, Kyle Gibson, who signed with the Rangers during the off season as a free agent after spending seven years with the Minnesota Twins, came into game having made one appearance with his new club, a five inning start against Arizona, in which he gave up three runs, none of them earned, while giving up five hits and three walks. He also notched four strikes outs.

Gibson also had trouble with the long ball in the first. With one down and Marcus Semien on base with a lead off single, Matt Olson drove the runner home by driving Gibson’’s 92 mph four seamer over the 367 foot sign in right center field, putting the A’s up, 2-1.

That lead held until top of the fourth inning. Todd Frazier led off with a single to center, advancing to second when Manaea walked Robinson Chirinos. Burch Smith began warming up in the A’s bull pen when the next Texas batter, Nick Solak, came to the plate. Solak smacked Manaea’s 65th pitch into the right field corner for a double that plated Frazier and sent Chirinos to third.

IsiahKiner-Falefa then hit a dribbler that Chapman, his counterpart at third, wasn’t able to barehand. It advanced Solak to third and was scored correctly as a hit. That ended Manaea’s work for the night, and Burch Smith took the mound to relieve him. The first Ranger Smith faced was Rob Refsnyder, whose sacrifice fly to right center drove in Solak with the fourth run for Texas. That closed out to book on Manaea, whose line was four runs, all earned, on six hits one walk in three and a third innings pitched. He threw 74 pitches, 48 of which were strikess, and struck out five Rangers.

Ramon Laureano closed the gap to 4-3 with a 419 foot solo homer to center on a 92 mph sinker from Gibson, who finished up that inning and the sixth without further damage before yielding to Ian Gibaut, who took over to start the bottom of the seventh.

Gibaut struck out Pescotty, Semien, and Laureano, but in between he gave up a single to Kemp and a 406 foot home run to rookie catcher Austen Allen, undoing a respectable performance by Gibson and giving Oakland a 5-4 lead, which was stretched to 6-4 when Olson greeted Luke Farrell, Gibaut’s replacement in the bottom of the eighth, with his second four bagger of the night, again to rightcenter.

T.J.McFarlan was the was the pitcher of record for Oakland when Allen sent the ball sailing into the seats and so was credited with the win. Joakim Soria, who pitched the last inning and two-thirds for the A’s got the save. The loss went to Gibaudt.

The Astros were trailing Arizona 14-7 after eight innings when the game here ended, so, for the moment, the A’s enjoy a one game lead over Houston in the AL West.

The Athletics will send Mike Fiers to face the Rangers’ Mike Minor at 12:40 tomorrow afternoon.

Piscotty walk off slam sends A’s home with 5-1 win

photo from @ESPNStatsInfo: Oakland A’s Stephen Piscotty hits for the A’s second walk off grand slam this season making the A’s the first team in MLB history to hit two grand slams for walk off wins this early in the season.

Texas Rangers 1 -5-1

Oakland Athletics 5- 6- 0

By Lewis Rubman

OAKLAND–It was all about the pitching, and then it wasn’t.

The A’s were riding tall in the saddle this evening when they returned to the O(A)K Corral to face the third place Texas Rangers. Fresh from whalooping the Mariners in Seattle by the lopsided score of 11-1 to take the series against them, three games to one,. the Athletics’ line-up finally had overcome its case of premature anemia, producing a dozen hits, which included two by Khris Davis, one of which was a four bagger. Oakland’s pitching was excellent, allowing only five runs over the last three games of the set-to, all of which went to the men in green and gold.

Jesús Luzardo was making his long anticipated first major league start when he toed the rubber, and he looked good.

The 22 year old lefty mowed down Texas batters, shutting them out on three hits over his five innings of work. His record had been 0-0, 1.35 when he finished his relief appearance last Wednesday in Seattle, but his ERA had ballooned to 4.05 before he took his first warm up toss tonight because MLB had changed a throwing error charged against him in that game to a hit. That made two earned runs out of what had been unearned tallies. When Luzardo was through with his work tonight, his record stood at a much more pleasant 0-0, 2.31.

A quartet of relievers followed Luzardo, each pitching an inning. The first was Yusmeiro Petit, who opened the sixth by retiring the first two men in the Texas batting order, Elvis Andrus and Nick Solak, the latter on a fly ball that reached the warning track in left centerfield.

That brought Joey Gallo to the plate, the only left handed batter Chris Woodward had placed in his starting line-up to face the young southpaw. It was a reasonable decision; all three of Gallo’s home runs this season had come off left handed pitchers. But tonight the Rangers’ slugger chose to bunt against the shift, laying down a neat one to the scarcely defended left side of the infield.

There was nothing Matt Chapman could do but pick up the rolling pellet and hold on to it. Clean up hitter Todd Frazier’s double brought the resourceful Gallo home with the first run of the game.

Oakland faced a formidable opponent in Luzardo’s opposite number on the mound. Right hander Lance Lynn brought with him a record of 1-0 with 17 strikeouts and an ERA of zero over 12 innings, during which his WHIP was 0.75. He held the A’s scoreless for six frames, allowing only two hits, both lead off singles, one by Stephten Piscotty in the third and the other by Tony Kemp in sixth.

But Chapman, who had stood helplessly (and wisely) at third with the ball in his when Gallo outsmarted the A’s to reach first a short while earlier, wiped out the Rangers’ advantage with a lead off blast that carried an estimated 388 feet, just over the De Walt sign in right centerfield.

Two batters later, Lynn was gone, replaced by Jonthan Hernández, who shut the Athletics out through the end of the eighth. His replacement, Edinson Volquez, began the bottom of the ninth by walking Matt Olson, surrendering a single to Chapman, and then walking Mark Canha to load the bases.

With the infield and outfield drawn in, Vólquez got Robbie Grossman to pop an infield fly to first. That was it for Vólaquez. Jesse Chávez assumed the task of ending the Oakland threat. The ex-Athletic threw one pitch to Piscotty. Piscotty swung on it. The ball landed in the straightaway center field seats. It was the A’s second walk off grand slam in the eleven games of this strange season.

Hendricks got the win, his first of the year. Vólquez got the loss, also his first.

The win left Oakland in first place, still a half a game ahead of Houston, who will play a three game series here starting Friday evening. Tomorrow evening, the A’s will face Kyle Gibson, another righty who, like Lynn until tonight, has yet to yield an earned run this season. Gibson is, however, less daunting than Lynn, having lost his only start, in which he gave up five hits in as many innings against the Diamondbacks.

Lefty Sean Manaea, who hasn’t been able to get through the fifth inning in either of his two starts this year, will hope to extend his period of effectiveness, bring down his ERA of 7.00, and enable the A’s to extend their winning streak to five.

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcast: A’s Luzardo gets the start tonight against Rangers at the Coliseum

Jesus Luzardo shown here during the A’s spring training camp Mesa Arizona on Feb 13th during pitchers and catchers workouts. Was out on quarantined just before the start of the season and will be getting the start tonight against the Texas Rangers at the Oakland Coliseum (AP photo)

On That’s Amaury’s podcast:

#1 Amaury the A’s open a three game series tonight in Oakland against the Texas Rangers with Jesus Luzardo (0-0) getting the start. Luzardo is coming back from being quarantined after testing positive for Covid-19 during baseball summer camp.

#2 A’s manager Bob Melvin is looking forward to seeing Luzardo on the mound tonight. Luzardo has got some bullpen work in going 6.2 innings in relief and has 1.35 ERA, he had walked three and struck out seven.

#3 How huge is it for A’s hitter Khris Davis to have snapped his 0-16 slump which started from opening day. Davis got a sixth inning single. Melvin said that Davis made a hand adjustment during the trip to Seattle over the weekend.

#4 Melvin said that Davis has established himself and that speaks volumes for somebody whose willing to make an adjustment and that Davis is coachable and “looking forward to getting better.”

#5 In the middle of the four game series in Seattle the A’s won the second and third games by just a run does that speak for the bullpen able to hold off the Mariners in the later innings and prevent them from adding runs on the board.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the Oakland A’s Spanish radio play by play announcer and does News and Commentary each week at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

 

A’s romp all over Mariners in 11-1 laugher

Oakland catcher Sean Murphy scores on a past ball while Mariners relief pitcher Bryan Shaw stands on home plate late during a disastrous fifth inning for the Mariners. (Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times)

By Jerry Feitelberg

The A’s won their third game in a row downing the Seattle Mariners 11-1. The A’s came to Seattle, hoping to sweep the rebuilding Mariners. They lost the first game but won the next three. It wasn’t easy as the A’s hitters were not moving the line until Monday night. The A’s squeezed out two wins by a 3-2 score on Saturday and Sunday. A’s manager Bob Melvin had to wonder when and if his guys would get the offense going.

The answer would come in the fifth inning of Monday night’s contest. The Mariners put the first run of the night on the board in the bottom of the third. Mariners’ shortstop J.P.Crawford walked. A’s starter, Frankie Montas retired the next two hitters. M’s third baseman, Kyle Seager, doubled to drive in Crawford. The Mariners did not score again. Nor did they get a hit after the fourth inning.

The A’s blew open the game in the top of the fifth. They sent fourteen men to the plate. The Mariners’ Justin Sheffield and Bryan Shaw gave up eight runs, nine hits, and three walks. All the runs came after there were two out in the inning. A’s centerfield Ramon Laureano drove in the first two runs with a single. Chad Pinder drove in two, also. Mark Canha, Khris Davis, Stephen Piscotty all drove in a run. One run scored on a wild pitch.

Khris Davis led off the seventh with his first dinger of the year. Davis finished the night with two hits. He came into the game hitting .045. They added another run and one more in the ninth to win 11-1.

Game Notes- Frankie Montas won his first of the year. He went seven innings and allowed one run and four hits. Frankie struck out nine and walked four. Mariners’ starter, lefty Justin Sheffield lost his second of the season. Mariners’ pitched walked eleven A’s and struck out nine. Ramon Laureano has driven in nine runs so far. Seven of the nine have either tied the game or put the A’s in the lead. The A’s improved to 6-4, and the A’s dropped to 4-7.

The A’s return home to face the Texas Rangers. Lefty Jesus Luzardo will start for Oakland. Lance Lynn will pitch for Texas. The game will start at 6:10 pm.