The Oakland A’s Jed Lowrie (8) greets Sean Murphy (12) after both scored on a double by Elvis Andrus at the Oakland Coliseum on Tue Jun 16, 2021 (AP News photo)
Los Angeles 4 – 7 – 0
Oakland 6 – 8 – 0
By Lewis Rubman
Tuesday, June 15, 2021
OAKLAND–It’s not unexpected, but it’s good news that the A’s have picked up their option to renew Bob Melvin’s contract for another year. His record as the A’s manager with more wins than any other besides Connie Mack speaks for him. His players speak for him, too; not just when speaking about him, but when speaking about themselves.
Whenever I hear an A’s player assessing his performance in a post game interview, I’m always impressed at their willingness to criticize themselves and the modesty with which they accept praise. You don’t say things like that when you don’t trust your boss.
When Melvin has to criticize a player in one of those interviews, he almost invariably will say that a technique wasn’t working, as in “his slider wasn’t working today” instead of “he kept missing with his slider.” He reminds reporters that a fielding mistake came on a tough play.
It’s also good news that Chad Pinder, who was removed from last night’s game after his beaning still has not been placed under the protection of the concussion protocol and seems to be improving.
The A’s showing tonight gave BoMel a chance to say nice things about his charges. Oakland handed the crew from Anaheim a 6-4 defeat, and the A’s manager was positively glowing in post game comments.
The game between the Angels and the Athletics began with Frankie Montás (6-6, 3.47) setting Los Angeles down in order and his mound rival, Andrew Heany (4-3,4.37) shutting out Oakland in spite of a one out walk to Matt Chapman.
The Halos’ southpaw and the A’s righty swapped zeroes for another inning, and then Montás issued a lead off walk to Juan Legares, who took off for second with David Fletcher at the plate and so turned what could have been a double play into a 6-3 ground out that had the same effect as a sacrifice bunt. That effect enabled Legares to score on Justin Upton’s single to right center and put the Angels ahead 1-0.
A spiffy pick of Shoei Ohtani’s hard hopper to Olson, whose swift, accurate throw to Andrus the A’s shortstop just as quickly returned to help ended the frame with about as perfect a 3-6-3 twin killing that you’ll ever see.
Oakland pulled even in their half of the same inning. Tony Kemp open it with a single to center, and after Skye Bolt popped out to second, Canha sent a liner that split the distance between Taylor Ward in right and Lagares in center to go for a double that brought in Kemp. Chapman untied the short lived knotted up score with a line single to left that sent Canha home.
The bottom of the Angel’s order proved troublesome once more in their half of the fifth. One time Oakland receiver Kurt Suzuki lined a one out single to right and got to third on Lalgares’s single, also to right. David Fletcher shot a line drive to center for a run scoring single.
Montás put a stop to this seemingly endless tatoo by getting Upton to fly out to right and besting Ohtani, whose swinging strike out put him at 0 for three for the evening. But, like traffic on the Bay Bridge, the game had been tied up again.
The top of the sixth featured a beautiful, diving catch by Skye Bolt in center. He raced to his left and threw himself horizontal to the turf to capture Jared Welsh´s bid for a double into a line drive out.
When Olson led off the Oakland sixth with a single to left, Joe Maddon lifted Heany in favor of right hander Steve Cishek, who walked Lowrie on four pitches. He then walked Murphy on a full count, bringing up Seth Brown, hitting for Piscotty, with the bases loaded and nobody out. Brown lifted a sac fly to center, bringing Olson in with the go ahead run and moving Lowrie on to third.
The run was charged to Heany. The runs scored by Lowrie and Murphy when Andrus hit the Stream Your As sign in center, were charged to Cishek, who was dismissed from his mound duty, giving way to Alex Claudio, who put out the fire.
Heaney had thrown 98 pitches, 68 of them strikes, over five innings. He allowed three runs, all earned, on five hits and a walk, while striking out three. Claudio having done his job, it was Chris Rodríguez who faced Canha, Chapman, and Olson in the bottom of the seventh, setting them down in order.
After 98 pitches, 66 strikes, in seven hits, during which he surrendered two runs, both earned, on five hits and a walk while retiring eight men on strikes, Montás ceded the mound to Jesús Luzardo.
He did well on Fletcher and Upton, retiring them with out trouble, but Shohei Ohtani broke his oh-for by taking the 98 mph four seamer Luzardo threw him on a 3-1 count deep into center field for his 18th four bagger and 45th RBI of the year. It now was a 5-3 ball game.
Lowrie just missed restoring the A’s two run lead when he drove Aaron Slegers’ 3-2 slider to the base of the left centerfield wall, where Lagares corralled it.
Murphy, on Slegers’ very next pitch, was more succesful. He planted his eighth home run of the season over the fence in center, and the three run margin was restored. Andrus kept the heat on Slegers with a two out two bagger to left.
A walk to Kemp brought up Skye Bolt, whose ground out served as prelude Yusmeiro Petit’s entry into the game, faced with his third save opportunity of the 2021. (He’d converted one of the previous two).
Petit thrives on tight situations, but doesn’t handle commodious leads very well. So it didn’t come as suprise that Jared Walsh took his second offering deep to center to narrow the gap to 6-4.
The win went to Montás, now 7-6, 4.21, while Heaney was saddle with the loss, bringing his recordto 4-4, 4.45. Luazardo’s recovery remains a work in progress.
With this win, Oakland preserved its two and a half game lead over Houston in spite of the Astros’ come from behind walk off victory against the Rangers.
Tomorrow, Wednesday, afternoon both teams will rub the sleep out their eyes and face eachd other at 12:37. The probable pitchers are Griffin Canning (5-4, 5.22) for the visitors and Cole Irvin (4-7, 3.70) for host team.