Strong pitching and timely hitting lead the A’s to a 4-2 win over the Angels

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Stephen Piscotty singles in the seventh inning Photo: Charlie O. Mallonee

By Charlie O. Mallonee

OAKLAND –The Oakland Athletics (2-3) recorded their second win of the 2019 season as they defeated the Los Angeles Angels 4-2 on Saturday night. The keys to the win were the strong starting pitching of Brett Anderson and the timely hitting of the A’s batters.

Brett Anderson did not pitch perfect in his first three innings of work. He walked the Angels leadoff batter in the top of the first, but escaped without that man scoring. Anderson issued another walk and gave up a single in the second inning without it costing him a run. In the third inning, the lefty gave up a double to Mike Trout without it producing a run. Things were going Anderson’s way.

The A’s started slow
The Angels starter — Felix Pena — no-hit the A’s through the first 2.2-innings. It appeared that the A’s hitters were going to be in for a very long night.

In the bottom of the third inning with two out and the bases empty, A’s catcher Josh Phegley singled to left-center field. Robbie Grossman then singled through the hole between first and second moving Phegley up to second base. Pena then hit Matt Chapman with a pitch to load the bases.

Stephen Piscotty stepped into the batter’s box and hit a 3-1 pitch up the middle that brought Phegley and Grossman home to score. The A’s took a 2-0 lead into the top of the fourth inning.

There is power in the East Bay
It did not take the A’s long to pad their lead. The newest member of the team — Kendrys Morales — walked to leadoff the home half of the fourth inning. With two out and Morales still at first, Mark Canha hit a 2-1 pitch from Pena over the wall into the left field seats for a two-run home run which he punctuated with “controlled” bat flip to celebrate the big hit as he exited the batter’s box. It was his first home of the season and his RBI’s of the campaign.

The home run was the end of Felix Pena’s night as he was replaced by Noe Ramirez. It would not be the end of Pena’s pain as he would be tagged with the loss.

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Piscotty at first with Khris Davis at bat Photo: Charlie O. Mallonee

The Angles mounted a rally
The A’s brought J.B. Wendelken in to relieve Anderson in the seventh inning. He continued pitching in the eighth, and things got tough quickly.

David Fletcher reached base for the Angels on a throwing error. Zack Cozart then doubled to left moving Fletcher up to third. Mike Trout then hit a fly ball to deep right field that was caught by Piscotty, but Fletcher was able to score from third while Cozart went from second to third.

Andrelton Simmons then singled through the hole on the left side of the infield that sent Cozart across the plate for the second Angels run of the inning. That would signal the end of the night for Wendelken. Blake Treinen was summoned from the bullpen.

A passed ball allowed Simmons to move up 90-feet to second base. Albert Pujols then singled to left sending Simmons to third base with just one out. A pinch runner was placed on first for Puljos. Treinen then struck out Justin Bour on a called third strike (Bour did not agree with the call) and Jonathon Lucroy ended the inning by popping out the second baseman.

As the game moved to the bottom of the eighth, the A’s still had a 4-2 lead, which would ultimately become the final score.

Key facts and figures
For Oakland, they scored four runs off seven hits and committed one error. The A’s left six men on base and went 1-for-3 with RISP.

The win goes to Brett Anderson (1-0) his first of the season. Blake Treinen gets credit for his first save of 2019.

The Angels (1-2) put up two runs off six hits and did not commit any errors. The Halos left seven runners on base and went 2-for-11 with Runners In Scoring Position (ouch).

Felix Pena (0-1) is the losing pitcher.

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Davis is thrown out at first base Photo: Charlie O. Mallonee

Post Game Notes
A’s

  • Brett Anderson made it three consecutive starting pitchers for Oakland to work six or more scoreless innings. That is the first time that has happened since August 24-26, 2005 when was done by Saarloos, Zito, and Blanton.
  • Brett Anderson now has a 34.1-inning scoreless streak at home in the Coliseum. That is the longest scoreless streak by an A’s pitcher since the team moved to Oakland in 1968.
  • After going 0-for-7 to start the season, Josh Phegley picked up his first hit of the season in this game.
  • Marcus Semien extended his hitting streak to five games after hitting a single in the sixth inning.

Angels

  • Felix Pena does not like pitching in Oakland. In four career games, he is now 0-2 with an 8.97 ERA.
  • Mike Trout had a 1-for-3 game on Saturday night. He hit a double and a sacrifice fly. For his career, Trout is now batting .312 (149-for-477) with 30 home runs and 75 RBIs versus the A’s.
  • Albert Puljos recorded two hits in the game and now needs just five hits to tie Ichiro Suzuki for 22nd on the all-time hits list.

Up Next
The A’s and Angels wrap up their four-game series on Sunday at 1:07 PM. Los Angeles will send LHP Tyler Skaggs to the hill to make his first start of the season. Making his first start of the year for Oakland, it will be RHP Frankie Montas.

Oakland A’s podcast with Jerry Feitelberg: After a complete rotation change last season, A’s try to keep pitching staff healthy

Photo credit: nbcsports.com

On the Oakland A’s podcast with Jerry:

#1 Jerry talks about the progress of A’s pitchers Jharel Cotton and A.J. Puk. After both pitchers had surgery, how ready are they to come back this season?

#2 A’s pitcher Jesus Luzardo has been impressive in spring training on Thursday. He struck out three batters and didn’t give up a hit in two innings. Do you see him winning a starting spot and what role will manager Bob Melvin use him in?

#3 A’s pitcher Daniel Mengden got rattled in facing his first three hitters and got behind 2-0, but recovered — not giving up a run for two more innings. Jerry talks about Mengden’s spring.

#4 A’s pitches Blake Treinnen and Lou Trivino both threw two perfect innings striking out two batters. With their experience and what they got in the tank, what kind of spring training have they had?

#5 With the A’s starting rotation turned over from last season, will they struggle to keep guys healthy this season? Their pitching looks very sharp this spring.

Jerry does the A’s podcasts each Friday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Judged Harshly: A’s get the shortest end of the stick in season-ending, 7-2 loss to the Yankees

By Morris Phillips

The A’s arrived in New York heralded, respected and formidable. They left ignonimously, as if they were flown in by 42nd Street casting only to be the stage production’s first casualty, victimized and dismissed before the shallowest curtain could close and reopen for the play’s second scene.

When you visit the Bronx in October, you very well know you could be cast as second fiddle, and in a Wild Card scenario, you also know your role could be brief.

The 2018 A’s, arguably the franchise’s best regular season team in its 40-year history, suffered that fate, exiting stage right at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday night.

“Unless you play in the last game, it’s disappointing,” manager Bob Melvin said. “So when you look back and reflect on the whole year, you kind of know where we came from, you know, it ends up being a good year but it doesn’t feel good right now.”

Aaron Judge homered in the first inning, staff ace Luis Severino battled into the fifth inning, and the Yankees parlayed those early fortunes into a 7-2 win. The Bombers advance to Friday’s ALDS Game One appointment with the Red Sox in Boston.

If scripted, the proceedings couldn’t have better turned for New York as manager Aaron Boone acknowledged. Two batters in, thanks to Judge, the Yankees led 2-0.

“With Cutch leading things off–working the walk, getting on base–I talked to you guys a lot about controlling the strike zone Cutch does that so well,” Boone said. “And Judgy with a big swing and, bam, all of a sudden it’s 2-0.”

“And Seve built some steam from there.”

Severino needed just 10 pitches to record the game’s first three outs, the sure sign that the Yankees’ starter was on his game from the start. One of the storylines coming anticipated the Yankees’ ace being off his game as he was in his regular season loss to the A’s, or too hyped up as he was in his uneven, wild card appearance from a year ago against the Twins.

Instead, Severino was all talent in the moment displaying his unique combination of velocity with late movement for a starting pitcher.

While the A’s couldn’t score off Severino, they did elevate his pitch count. But Boone and the Yankees remained a step ahead with Dellin Betances relieving Severino and stranding a pair of baserunners by retiring the final three hitters in the fifth.

“I think that was the plan, go four or five good innings and after that the bullpen is going to go do their job,” Severino said. “And when I went into the first inning that was the mindset. I went there and get my job done.”

The A’s needed to score early and lead, or trail by at most a run. Instead, they would need eight innings to respond. By then, when Khris Davis struck for a two-run shot, the A’s trailed 6-0.

The result rendered the A’s a 97-win footnote in a star-studded American League field featuring three 100-game winners. But with the A’s modest payroll and young, controllable talent, they should be back.

“I’m not disappointed at all,” said Davis. “I think we showed some people we can do some things and I think next year, we’re a little bit more of a threat.”

 

 

The A’s win for the 97th time, downing the Angels 5-2

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Liam Hendriks was the “opener” on Saturday night Photo: @NBCS

By Charlie O. Mallonee

The Oakland Athletics know what they will be doing next Wednesday night. They will be in the Bronx, New York at Yankee Stadium fighting for their very “baseball lives” in the 2018 American League Wild Card Game. The problem for the A’s is they have to finish the regular season in Anaheim before heading to the East Coast.

The Athletics have two goals for those final games on Saturday and Sunday at the “Big A”:

  1. Don’t get hurt and
  2. DON’T GET HURT!

Oakland has been a team that has been besieged by injuries this season and they cannot afford to lose any member of this team before heading into the playoffs. Of course, these proud athletes want to win, but staying healthy is more important than winning at this point in the season.

Fortunately, the A’s were able to win and stay healthy on Saturday night. Oakland set the tone of the game in the first inning in a very familiar way. With two out and Matt Chapman on at first base, Khris Davis hit a pitch from Tyler Skaggs over the right field wall for his 48th home run of the season to give the A’s a 2-0 lead. The two RBIs upped Davis’ total to 123 for the season.

The A’s decided to go with the “bullpenning” pitching philosophy in game two of this final series of the regular season. As usual, Liam Hendriks opened the game on the mound working the first for Oakland. Trevor Cahill became the “featured pitcher” taking over in the bottom of the second inning.

Oakland added another run in the top of the third inning when Jed Lowrie hit a sacrifice fly to right field that allowed Ramon Laureano to score from third. Laureano hit a double to lead off the inning.

The Angels took advantage of an A’s fielding error, added a stolen base and well-timed RBI single to score their first run of the game in bottom of the fifth inning.

Jim Johnson–yes, that Johnson who pitched for Oakland back in 2014–took over the pitching duties for the Angels. Jed Lowrie stepped in the batter’s box and hit his 23rd homer of the season off Mr. Johnson to up the A’s lead to 4-1.

Fernando Rodney took the ball for the A’s in the bottom of the seventh and he struggled. With the bases loaded and two out, Rodney walked in the Angels second run of the contest. He then had to face Mike Trout with bases loaded. Rodney was able to get Trout to fly out to right field and the A’s were still leading 4-2 after seven full innings.

In the top of the eighth inning, the A’s loaded up the bases with one out. Stephen Piscotty hit a fly ball to right field that was caught by Kole Calhoun. Ramon Laureano tagged up at third and scored the A’s fifth run of the game.

That would be it for scoring in the game and Oakland recorded their 97th win of 2018 with the 5-2 victory.

LAA 5-2
Graphic: @Angels

The “Bullpenning” A’s
Oakland used six pitchers in their win on Saturday night. Hendriks opened while Trevor Cahill filled the role of the featured pitcher going 4.0 innings giving up one run (earned) on one hit. He walked one and struck out one batter.

Shawn Kelley worked one inning walking one and striking out two. Fernando Rodney had very shaky outing as he wound up facing seven batters and giving up an earned run in the seventh inning.

Familia came in to set things up in the eighth inning and Blake Treinen closed it out in the ninth.

Cahill (7-4) was awarded the win while Treinen picked up his 38th save of the year.

Angels’ hurlers
LA starter Tyler Skaggs (8-10) took the loss after giving up the two-run home run to Davis in the first inning. The Angels used six pitchers who did not do a bad job. The gave up five runs off eight hits. They walked four A’s and struck out nine. It was the two home runs that really did the Angels in on Saturday night.

A’s at the plate

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Two guys who love the game Photo: @Athletics
  • Ramon Laureano continues to be amazing. He went 2-for-5 in this game scoring two runs. Yes, he scored each time he reached base.
  • Jed Lowrie does it again with a home run, sacrifice fly, two RBI and a run scored.
  • Khris Davis (yes, they must sign him to a long-term contract) had just another day at the office with a home run, two RBIs and a run scored.
  • Chad Pinder went 2-for-4 in the game.

LA Stars

  • Only four Angels managed to get a hit in the game–Jose Fernandez, Andrelton Simmons, Taylor Ward and Kaleb Cowart.
  • Five LA batters did reach base by way of a walk.
  • Ouch! The Angels left nine men on base.

Up next
Game 162 of the 2018 season will get underway at 12:07 pm PT on Sunday. All MLB games on Sunday will begin in the noon hour in their respective time zones. Brett Anderson (4-5, 4.42) will start for the A’s while Matt Shoemaker (2-2, 4.82) will take the mound for the Halos.

A’s outlast the Rangers 8-6 in a slugfest on Saturday at the Coliseum

 

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By Charlie O. Mallonee

OAKLAND — The Oakland Athletics’ 61-0 winning streak when they held a lead after seven innings was on the line Saturday versus the Texas Rangers. The A’s had a 6-4 lead after seven innings, but Texas veteran third baseman Adrian Beltre had other ideas about Oakland continuing that winning streak.

Beltre came to bat in the top of the eighth inning with teammate Nomar Mazara at first and his team trailing by two runs. With the count at 0-2, Beltre hit a Fernando Rodney pitch down the left-field line into the seats for a two-run home run to tie the game at 6-6. It was home run No. 11 of the season for Beltre and his second of the game (his first multiple home run game of the season). The crowd of 20,504 became very concerned.

The Rangers brought RHP Chris Martin into the game from the bullpen. The first batter he had to face was Matt Olson who entered the game in the seventh inning for Mark Canha. Olson hit the 0-1 pitch from Martin over the fence in left field for his 25th home run of the year to give the A’s a 7-5 lead. After Chad Pinder flied out, Jonathan Lucroy singled. Ramon Laureano struck out for the second out of the inning. Matt Chapman, who leads the majors in doubles since the All-Star Break, hit an RBI-double to right field that allowed Lucroy to score the A’s eighth run of the game to give them an 8-6 lead.

The A’s went to the top of the ninth with an 8-6 lead which meant it was “Treinen Time.” Treinen took the mound and struck out the first two hitters he faced. Shin-Soo Choo then stepped into the batter’s box and hit a soft line drive to Marcus Semien for the final out of the game.

The A’s won the game 8-6 and upped their record for the season to 86-57. They have now won three consecutive games and have guaranteed that they will win this series with the Rangers. The A’s are now 11-0-2 in their previous 13 home series which is the longest single-season home series unbeaten streak in Oakland history.

Ryan Buchter (4-0) received credit for the victory and Blake Treinen of the A’s picked up his 37th save. Chris Martin (1-4) of the Rangers was hung with the loss.

The Astros beat the Red Sox on Saturday 5-3 in Boston so the A’s will stay 3.5 games back of Houston. The Mariners host the Yankees on Saturday night.

Bob Melvin analyzes the game

Performances worth remembering

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  • Khris Davis hit his 41st home run of the season in the home half of the first inning. He now has 10 round-trippers off Rangers pitching.
  • Jed Lowrie hit his 36th double of the year in this contest, which ties him with Nick Swisher for third most for switch hitters in A’s history.
  • Stephen Piscotty doubled in the seventh inning to extend his hitting streak to 10 games.
  • Matt Olson’s 25 home runs lead the American League for most HR’s by a first baseman.
  • Chad Pinder hit his 11th home run of 2018 in the sixth inning – a solo shot.
  • The Rangers Shin-Soo Choo has reached base in 15 out of 17 games versus the A’s this year.
  • Jurickson Profar hit his 16th home run of the season in the fourth inning off Jackson.

Pitching was a group effort in this game

A’s

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  • Starter Edwin Jackson was credited for just 3.0 innings and was dinged for four runs (all earned) off five hits. He struck out five and walked just one but gave up two home runs.
  • Shawn Kelley was back after his kitchen accident and pitched a perfect inning with two K’s.
  • Lou Trivino worked a perfect inning of relief.
  • Fernando Rodney was charged with blown save for giving up the two-run shot to Beltre.
  • The A’s used eight pitchers.
  • Oakland pitching gave up six runs (all earned) off six hits. They walked just one batter. A’s pitchers struck out 12 Texas hitters. They did give up three home runs.

Rangers

  • The Rangers used five pitchers in the game.
  • All but one of those hurlers gave up at least one earned one. Ouch!
  • Eddie Butler was the only reliever not to give up a run.
  • Texas pitchers gave up eight runs (all earned) on nine hits. They struck out seven and walked six. The Rangers also issued three home runs to A’s hitters.

Up next

The series wraps tomorrow at 1:05 PM when the Rangers send RHP Ariel Jurado (2-4, 6.00) to the mound to face the A’s RHP Trevor Cahill (6-3, 3.60).

It’s the bullpen to the rescue! A’s beat the Mariners 7-5 on Friday night

Final SEA FRI
Photo: @NBCSCA

By Charlie O. Mallonee

OAKLAND — The Oakland Athletics scored five runs off five hits in the bottom of the first inning to take a 5-0 lead on the Seattle Mariners. Matt Chapman hit his 22nd home run of the season off of M’s starter Mike Leake. Stephen Piscotty hit a two-run home run (19) off Leake. Matt Olson and Marcus Semien each hit an RBI double. Everyone in the Coliseum knew that this game was going into the “W” column for the A’s.

Everybody in the Coliseum knew that the game belonged to the A’s except the 25 guys in blue uniforms from Seattle. The M’s put up a run in the top of the second inning and then came back for more in the top of the fourth inning. Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz hit back-to-back home runs off A’s starter Mike Fiers who did have his best stuff on Friday night. Then, Ryon Healy–the former Athletic–hit a two-run home run to tie the game at 5-5. Everything changed.

The A’s bullpen took over for Fiers and gave their team a chance to get it together.

HR vs SEA
Chapman rounds third after hitting his 22nd HR of the year Photo: @Athletics

In the bottom of the fifth inning, Oakland retook the lead when rookie outfielder Ramon Laureano delivered a sacrifice fly that allowed Matt Olson to score the go-ahead run. The A’s then added some cushion when Jed Lowrie hit a one-out double and then scored on a Khris Davis RBI single.

The bullpen held on to that 7-5 lead to get the A’s (81-55) the win.

This critical four-game AL West series is now tied at one game apiece.

The win was awarded to Yusmeiro Petit (6-3) who relieved Fiers and was the pitcher of record when Olson scored the go-ahead run in the fifth inning. Blake Treinen picked up his 34th save of the season. Treinen now sports a 0.94 ERA.

Mike Leake (8-9) was hung with the loss for Seattle (75-60).

This is how the A’s pitching line is going to look the rest of the season
Mike Fiers only lasted 3.2 innings in his start on Friday night. A’s manager Bob Melvin certainly wants his starting pitchers to go at least five innings per start, but five innings are all that may be required from the starters for the A’s to be successful. The 2018 A’s are all about the bullpen.

In the win 7-5 win over Seattle on Friday night, Oakland used 5 relief pitchers. It was a parade of fresh arms stepping up on the rubber to deliver a devastating variety of pitches designed to stop opposing hitters in their tracks.

Yusmeiro Petit, Lou Trivino, Fernando Rodney, Jeurys Familia and Blake Treinen combined to pitch 5.1 innings of shutout baseball. They allowed the M’s just two hits while walking just two batters and striking out seven. They slammed the door on the Seattle offense to give their A’s the chance to win the game, which they did 7-5.

Every game will not feature five relievers, but you can expect to see games that feature three men out of the bullpen on a regular basis. The help that is coming with the expanded September rosters is going to be most welcome.

The standings are shaken up again
This A’s win really changed the standings in the AL West. The Astros lost, the A’s won and the M’s lost. Oakland is now just 1.5 games behind Houston for first place in the West. Seattle falls 5.5 games back of the A’s in the West and 7.0 games behind Houston.

By losing, the M’s also are now 5.5 games down to the A’s in the Wild Card race. These head-to-head division matchups are critical to a team’s standing when fighting for a post-season slot.

Food for your brain

  • Matt Chapman hit a home run and a double to give him a major league leading 22 extra-base hits in August. Those 22 extra-base hits also tied a franchise record.
  • Stephen Piscotty’s home run was just his fourth round-tripper hit in Oakland this season. He has hit 19.
  • Mike Fiers worked only 3.2 innings which was his shortest outing for the A’s.
  • Khris Davis ended a 0-for-19 streak with his RBI-single in the sixth inning.
  • The A’s are 57-0 when leading after seven innings.
  • The M’s Mike Leake has not won a game since June 23rd in Boston.
  • Nelson Cruz hit his 16th career home run at the Coliseum on Friday night which is the most among active players.
  • Dee Gordon now leads the American League with 30 stolen bases.
Ramon vs Sea
Laureano scores in the 1st inning vs Seattle Photo: @Athletics

 Up Next
The A’s and Mariners will play game three of this crucial four-game series on Saturday night at 6:05 PM PDT.

The M’s will send LHP James Paxton to the mound. Paxton is 10-5 on the season and will be making his 25th start of the year. He has a 3.68 ERA.

The A’s will counter with RHP Daniel Mengden, who was recalled from Triple-A Nashville last Monday. This is Mengden’s second tour of duty with the big club. Mengden has a 6-6 record on the year with a 4.28 ERA.

A’s beat the Twins 6-2 on Saturday night as Fiers and Lucroy star

13000 HR
Graphic: @Athletics

by Charlie O. Mallonee

The Oakland Athletics took a 2-1 lead in their four-game series with Minnesota by downing the Twins 6-2 in game three on Saturday night in the Twin Cities. The A’s won the game using their typical formula of strong starting pitching, consistent bullpen relief  and power production at the plate.

The Athletics have found themselves in a must win situation in each of the games in Minnesota. The first place Houston Astros have been on a tear winning four consecutive games forcing Oakland to win just to stay 1.5 games back in second place in the American League West.

The Seattle Mariners have also been applying pressure on the A’s as they have won two games in a row to stay just 4.0 games behind Oakland in third place. Many have tried to write the Mariners out of the playoff hunt but someone forgot to tell Seattle they’re done for the season. With six games left to play against the A’s and three versus the Astros, the M’s can erase a four game deficit very quickly.

Fiers comes through again

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Photo: @Athletics

Mike Fiers (10-6) started the game for the A’s and once again showed why the team had focused on adding him to the roster. Fiers worked 5.2 innings giving up just one run (earned) on five hits. He struck out seven Twins and walked just two. Fiers threw 100 pitches (63 strikes).

The one run Fiers gave up was spectacular. In the bottom of the fourth inning, he tried to throw a 3-2 fastball past Miguel Sano but was unsuccessful. Sano crushed the ball 455 feet into the third deck in left center field for his 12th home run of the season.

Fiers did get credit for the win.

A’s bullpen does its job again

Lou Trivino was brought in to relieve Fiers and ended the bottom of the sixth inning. “Sweet Lou” ran into some trouble in the seventh when he gave up a home run to Tyler Austin and then hit Willians Astudillo with a pitch. Ryan Buchter entered the game but was unable to get an out, so the call went to Jeurys Familia who shut the Twins down.

Familia worked the eighth inning to set it up Blake Treinen in a non-save situation. Treinen needed the work so that is why he was used in the game. He pitched a perfect ninth and the A’s won their 78th game of 2018.

Lucroy had an amazing night with the bat

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Lucroy get high fives after hitting the 13,000th home run in Athletics history Photo: @Athletics

The A’s backstop went 2-for-4 in the game with a home run and recorded four RBI. Lucroy drove in the A’s first run of the contest in the top of the second inning when he singled to left driving home Chad Pinder. It was the 500th RBI of his career.

Lucroy was just getting started. In the top of the fourth inning, he clubbed a home run to left center field that plated Mark Canha and Ramon Laureano ahead of him. It was the third home run of the season for Lucroy, but more importantly, it was 13,000th in Athletics’ (Philadelphia, Kansas City, Oakland) history. Lucroy will now be in the A’s milestone record book forever more.

Chad Pinder had a good night with the bat. He went 3-for-4 and scored two runs. In the meantime, Matt Chapman had an odd night. He also went 3-for-4 at the plate but scored no runs and produced no RBI. It is very unusual for a hitter have a .750 night with the bat and walk away with no run production.

Up Next

The Athletics will play the final game of the series on Sunday at 11:10 AM PDT. Chris Bassitt (2-3, 3.38) will start for Oakland while the Twins will counter with All-Star Jose Berrios (11-6, 3.69).

 

 

 

A’s win their fifth game in a row, downing the Tigers 2-1 on Saturday night

Chappy HR
Chapman hit home run number 14 Photo @Athletics

By Charlie O. Mallonee

OAKLAND, Calif. — The announced attendance at the Oakland Coliseum on Saturday night was 33,668. They came to see the hometown Oakland Athletics, who started the game versus the Detroit Tigers in second place in the American League West and in the American League Wild Card playoff race. The big crowd also came to see a “Harry Potter” inspired fireworks show that would follow the contest.

The fans were treated to another A’s win as they beat the Tigers 2-1. It was the A’s fifth consecutive win as they have won every game of this current homestand. Oakland is now 20 games over .500 as they improved to 66-46 with 50 games left to play in the regular season.

The one question this reporter had after the game was – how many of the 33,668 paying customers really enjoyed the A’s win? It was a bit like taking a ride with Mr. Peabody and Sherman in the Waybac Machine because it was not a typical 2018 MLB game. Strong pitching and good defense dominated the game with some hitting highlights thrown in for good measure.

Mr Peabody

It was my kind of game, but I am an “old guy.” I love a pitcher’s duel. I do not have to see a half dozen home runs to feel like I have been to a great game. I hope the veteran fans in the crowd on Saturday night helped the younger fans appreciate what they were seeing. It is a side of baseball I hope we never lose an appreciation for as fans.

There were home runs

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All of the A’s runs came via the long ball. Matt Chapman led off the third inning by hitting a 0-2 pitch from Jordan Zimmerman to straightaway center field for his 14th home run of the season to tie the game at 1-1. After Jed Lowrie lined out to center field, Khris Davis stepped into the batter’s box to face Zimmerman. Davis “crushed” his 30th home run of the year into the left field seats off the first pitch delivered to him. That gave the A’s a 2-1 lead which as it would turn out would be all they would need to win the game.

Davis became the sixth player in A’s history to hit 30-plus home runs in three straight seasons. The last Athletic to accomplish the feat was Miguel Tejada in 2000-02.

Pitching was very strong

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Edwin Jackson continues to be an amazing performer on the mound for the A’s. He worked 6.1 innings giving up one run (unearned) off five hits. Jackson struck out three Tigers and walked just one. He earned the victory which upped his record to 3-2 on the season with a 2.87 ERA. Not bad for a pitcher who started off in Triple-A while trying to get back to “the Bigs.”

Lou Trivino came on to relieve Jackson in the seventh inning and gave up just one hit and no runs in 1.2 innings on the mound. If you are an A’s opponent and are trailing late in the game, you watch Trivino work magic on the hill knowing that in the ninth inning the worst is yet to come.

And, the worst did enter the game in the ninth as Blake Treinen took the ball to close out the contest. It was not a perfect inning as he did allow one hit while striking out two batters. Treinen now has 28 saves for the year to go with his 0.95 ERA.

The Tigers’ Jordan Zimmerman lost his fourth decision in a row. He has not won a game since July 6 when he beat Texas. Zimmerman was 4-0 before the losing streak began.

Zimmerman threw 6.1 innings giving up two runs (both earned, both home runs) while striking out six and walking just three. Frankly, Zimmerman pitched well enough to win on almost any given night except this one.

Drew VerHagen pitched 1.2 innings of perfect relief for Detroit, but the Tigers could not produce any more runs.

Defense

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In a 2-1 game, there are many plays by the defense that should be talked about, but we are only going to mention two in this story.

The two plays that will be referred to were both made by rookie outfielder Ramon Laureano, who played in his second major league game on Saturday night. He was supposed to have the night off, but Mark Canha came down ill and Laureano was pressed into service.

In the top of the fifth inning with two out, the Tigers’ Mike Gerber hit a “flare” into left-center field. Laureano ran to his right, stretched out and put a glove on the ball but it popped out of his glove. Gerber saw the ball get away and immediately kept running for second base. Laureano jumped up and threw the ball to second baseman Jed Lowrie who put the tag down on Gerber who over-slid the bag in his haste to get the extra base. That was the third out of the inning and the crowd expressed their appreciation for the rookie in a very vocal manner.

Jeimer Candelario led off the top of the seventh inning for Detroit. He hit a 2-2 pitch from Jackson into right-center field that looked like it would fall in for a base hit. Laureano ran hard to his left then went into a controlled slide and made a great catch for the first out of the inning. Yes, the crowd went wild.

Quick notes for hardcore fans

  • Quick game – 2 hours and 30 minutes
  • A’s six hits – 10 strikeouts
  • Tigers’ seven hits – six strikeouts
  • Runners In Scoring Position

A’s 0-for-10 (Wow!)

Tigers 1-for-4

  • Team Left on Base

Oakland 7

Detroit 4

  • Errors

A’s 1

Tigers 1

Up Next
The A’s will go for the series sweep on Sunday when they will send RHP Trevor Cahill (3-2, 3.39 ERA) to the hill to face the Tigers’ LHP Francisco Liriano (3-5, 4.62 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 PM PST.

A’s walk it off in 11 innings beating the Giants 4-3 on Saturday night

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Jonathan Lucroy rounds the bases in triumph Photo @Athletics

By Charlie O. Mallonee

OAKLAND — Game five of the 2018 Bay Bridge Series – the second of three to be played in Oakland – was played before the largest crowd to witness a Major League Baseball this season. The A’s (56-43) decided to take the tarps off the seats in the upper deck known as “Mount Davis” for the first time since 2006. The result was 56,310 Bay Area baseball fans were treated to a “wild and woolly” affair.

The top the ninth arrived at the Oakland Coliseum, and as usual, it was Treinen time. The A’s held a slim 3-2 lead over the Giants, but the A’s have been the masters of winning one-run games (15-8) in 2018. Treinen retired the first two batters — Posey and Sandoval on groundouts. The third hitter of the inning – Alen Hanson – struck out, but the strike three pitch was wild, got by the catcher and Hanson wound up safe at first (this is now the first paragraph of a Stephen King novel).

Hunter Pence then hit a pitch into right field that rolled into foul territory and into the Giants bullpen for a double, and Alen Hanson scored on the play. As right fielder Stephen Piscotty charged the ball, a member of the Giants bullpen picked up a chair and made contact with the outfielder. The Athletics contended that it should have been a “dead ball” at that point which would have kept the run from scoring. There is no rule that umpires could invoke, so the A’s challenged the play on a boundary call. A video review of the play upheld the call on the field. When the top of the ninth inning was over, the game was tied at 3-3.

The A’s were unable to score in the bottom of the ninth, so it was on to extra innings.

There was no scoring in the 10th inning and the Giants (51-49) failed to produce any runs in the top of the 11th frame.

The A’s are late inning battlers

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Chapman at the plate Photo Charlie O. Mallonee

Teams are learning that they cannot let the A’s hang around late in games and continue to have chances to score – because they will. That is exactly what happened on Saturday night.

In the bottom of the 11th inning, the Giants put LHP Will Smith on the mound. Piscotty grounded out to lead off the inning for Oakland. Dustin Fowler was then robbed of a hit when he lifted a “flare” to shallow right-center and shortstop Brandon Crawford made an outstanding sliding catch beyond the bag at second.

With two out, Matt Chapman picked up his third hit of the game with a single up the middle. Chad Pinder followed up with a single to left-center that moved Chapman up to second. Catcher Jonathan Lucroy – who did not enter the game until the 10th inning – singled to right-center field and Chapman never had any thoughts of doing anything but crossing home plate to score the winning run which he did.

The A’s won the game 4-3 to even the series in Oakland at 1-1 and to take a 3-2 lead in the six-game series after five games.

The walk off single was Lucroy’s second of the season. The Athletics are now 7-4 in extra inning games for the season and improved to 14-6 in games decided in the last at bat.

On the Hill

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At meeting at the mound on Saturday night Photo Charlie O. Mallonee

The Giants started their one-time superstar – LHP Madison Bumgarner – who has struggled since coming back from a broken finger on his pitching hand. “MadBum” looked strong in the opening four innings, but the A’s hitters got patient and things went south for Bumgarner in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Bumgarner loaded the bases and walked two runs in to give the A’s the lead 2-1 which ended his night. Sam Dyson came in to relieve Bumgarner and induced Mark Canha to hit into a double play but Chad Pinder scored the A’s third run on the play.

Bumgarner worked 4.0-plus innings giving up three runs (earned). He walked six and struck out five.

Will Smith (0-1) took the loss.

Trevor Cahill started the game for Oakland. It was his second start since coming off the disabled list. He worked 5.2-innings and gave up one run (earned) on a home run to Brandon Belt. Cahill struck out five and walked three.

Blake Treinen was charged with his fourth blown save of the season as he gave up the tying run when Hunter Pence hit the RBI-double into the bullpen along the right field line.

Yusmeiro Petit picks up his fifth win of the year as he was the pitcher of record after working a perfect top of the 11th inning for the A’s.

At the Plate

Matt Chapman went 3-for-5 with two runs scored to lead the A’s with the bat. He is now hitting at a .253 clip.

Stephen Piscotty hit his 26th double of the year off Bumgarner.

Phegley (10), Semien (34) and Lucroy (28) all recorded RBI for the A’s.

Oakland went 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position and left nine runners on base.

Hunter Pence likes being a DH. He went 3-for-5 with a double and two RBI as the Giants DH Saturday night.

The Giants also went 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position and left 8 men on base.

Let the buying begin

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Jeurys Familia Photo MLB.com

The question has been answered. The A’s are going to be buyers as the non-wavier trade deadline approaches. Oakland has acquired RHP relief pitcher Jeurys Familia from the New York Mets for two minor leaguers and $1-million in international slot money. Familia appeared in 40 games for NYM posting a 2.88 ERA with a 1.230 WHIP. He has struck out 43 in 40.2-innings and walked just 14. Familia has given up just one home run. He will be a free agent at the end of the 2018 season.

Get those suitcases packed

The A’s will head out on the road after the game on Sunday for a seven-game, two-city road trip. They will play four games in hot, humid Arlington, Texas versus the Rangers. All four games are night contests. There is no thought of day baseball this time of year in the Metroplex. After the four games in Texas, Oakland heads to Denver to play three games at Coors Field with the Colorado Rockies. The power hitting Athletics may find batting at a mile-high just to their liking.

Lonnnnng homestand coming

The A’s will return home from their road trip on Monday, July 30 to begin a stretch where 17 of their next 20 games will be played in Oakland. The only break in the homestand is three games in Anaheim with the Angels. Oakland will host the Blue Jays, Tigers, Dodgers, Mariners, Astros and Rangers in those 17 home games.

A belated parade for the 1989 World Champions

The 1989 World Champion Oakland Athletics were honored with long overdue parade to celebrate their 1989 World Series sweep of the San Francisco Giants. The team did not receive the parade because they did not want to show disrespect to those who lost loved ones in the tragic earthquake that disrupted the series. The celebration before the game was very nice. The one sad thing was there are several players that have passed on who could be there to be a part of the pregame honor.

Up next

The sixth and final game of the 2018 Bay Bridge Series will be played on Sunday at the Coliseum at 1:05 PM. The Giants will send RHP Johnny Cueto to the mound for his third start since coming off the disabled list on July 5th. He is 3-1 on the year with a 2.36 ERA. Cueto is 2-0 in Interleague games this season.

The A’s will counter with LHP Sean Manaea who 4-0 with a 3.14 ERA in eight starts since the beginning of June. His overall record this season is 9-6 with a 3.42 ERA. Manaea has an 11-game winning streak when pitching in day games that dates back to May 20, 2017. He is 2-1 with a 2.45 ERA in three career starts versus the Giants.

They may be down, but they’re never out! A’s beat the Giants 4-3

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A’s celebrate after beating the Giants Photo: @Athletics

By Charlie O. Mallonee

SAN FRANCISCO — The Oakland Athletics (54-42) really do not know when to quit. In the major leagues, teams that are trailing as they head into the late innings (the seventh inning and beyond) are pretty much doomed to failure the majority of the time. The goal for every big league team is to score early and often because later is usually too late.

The 2018 A’s are breaking all of those rules. The A’s are tied for second in runs scored in the seventh inning or later (173). They did it again on Saturday night against the San Francisco Giants (50-47).

The A’s were trailing the Giants 3-2 as they came to bat in the top of the seventh inning. Tony Watson was the new pitcher for San Francisco. Josh Phegley led off the inning with a single to right. The pitcher’s spot was due up (National League park), so manager Bob Melvin put in Mark Canha as a pinch hitter. Canha hit a 3-2 pitch halfway up into the bleachers in left field for his 12th home run of the season and his 38th and 39th RBIs of the year.

The A’s took a 4-3 lead and never looked back. Lou Trivino worked 2.0 innings of scoreless relief for his team. All-star Blake Treinen then came on in the bottom of the ninth. Treinen struggled a bit as he walked two Giants, but he worked his way out of trouble to earn his 24th save of the season.

The win went to Yusmeiro Petit (4-2) who was pitcher of record in the top of the seventh inning. The loss goes to Tony Watson who also receives a blown save for his record.

Neither starter had a great night. Brett Anderson worked just 3.1 innings for Oakland giving up three runs (all earned) on eight hits. Jeff Samardzija made the start for the Giants and he lasted just 4.0 innings. He allowed two runs (both earned) off three hits. He walked two and struck out one batter.

Steven Duggar had another good game for the Giants, going 2-for-4 at the plate while scoring two runs and adding an RBI. Buster Posey had a 2-for-4 night hitting as well.

Samardzija Swan Song?

To say that the Giants have been disappointed with the performance of Jeff Samardzija this season — may be one of the great understatements of 2018. His performance on Saturday did nothing to help his standing with the team. His 10th start lasted just 4.0 innings and saw “the Shark” give up two runs (both earned) on three hits. He walked two and struck out just one Oakland batter. The real concern was his velocity or lack of it. Samardzija had trouble breaking into the 90’s with his pitches. The Giants would love to open his spot for a younger pitcher, but they have to figure out what to do with the 33-year old veteran who will make $18-million per season through 2020.

A little bullpen irony 

In the seventh inning, the Giants’ lifted reliever Tony Watson and gave the ball to Ray Black with one out and two runners on base. The A’s had Lou Trivino warming up in their bullpen and would ultimately pitch the seventh inning for Oakland. The irony is that Trivino credits Black for his success as a pitcher. The A’s RHP said he was watching Black pitch at Class-A San Jose when he was with the Stockton Ports and he liked the way Black pitched. Trivino incorporated some of Black’s technique into his own style and now both are facing off in the major leagues.

So long Santiago and other transactions

Relief pitcher Santiago Casilla was designated for assignment (DFA) by the A’s. Casilla appeared in 26 games pitching 31.1 innings while posting a 3.16 ERA. He struck out 22 and walked 20 which lead to a WHIP of 1.213. Casilla had a poor outing on Friday night in San Francisco. If no team claims Casilla off waivers, he will have to decide if he will accept an assignment to the minors.

Ryan Dull received an airline ticket back to Nashville. Dull had a rough outing for the A’s on Friday night and has struggled to find any consistency on the mound this season. He had worked 18 innings for Oakland giving up 21 hits (3 HRs) while striking out 17 and walking five. Dull was carrying an ERA of 6.00, which will not keep you in the Major Leagues.

Franklin Barreto continues to rack up the frequent flier miles as he has returned from Nashville. His return is related to the leg contusion suffered by Jed Lowrie on Friday night. Lowrie did not play on Saturday and do not expect to see him on Sunday. Lowrie’s status for the All-Star game has not been addressed.

Good news for the starting pitching rotation

Daniel Mengden has been brought off the disabled list by the A’s. Mengden was put on the 10-day DL due to a foot sprain. The RHP is 6-6 this season in 16 starts with a 4.47 ERA in 90.2 innings pitched. He has struck out 55 and walked just 19 batters. Mengden could well see action in the Bay Bridge Series Part 2 in Oakland next weekend.