The A’s beat the Mariners and secure home-field advantage for the Wild Card

AL Wild 1
Graphic/Photo: @Athletics

by Charlie O. Mallonee

The Oakland Athletics beat the Seattle Mariners 1-0 on Saturday night to win their 97th game of the season which tied their win total from the 2018 season. More importantly, the win guarantees them home-field advantage for the single-game Wild Card contest with the Tampa Rays on Wednesday night.

The A’s are 52-29 at the Coliseum this season and are 7-3 over their last 10 games. The Rays are 48-32 on the road in 2019 and 7-3 in their last 10 games. The tarps will be off on Mount Davis and the crowd could be up to 59,000-plus fans on Wednesday night to cheer the Athletics on to victory and into the AL Playoffs. The Coliseum can be an intimidating place for a visiting team.

The difference on Saturday night

It was a home run by Ramon Laureno that made the difference for the Athletics on Saturday night. Laureno hit his 24th HR of the season off Seattle pitcher Marco Gonzales in the top of the third inning with two out and count of 3-2. The ball traveled 392-feet over the left-field wall.

The A’s have hit 35 home runs versus the Mariners this season tying their franchise record for the most home runs in a single season against a single opponent. Oakland also hit 35 home runs against the Rangers this season.

Anderson gets the win

Brett Anderson was credited with the win. He now a 13-9 record for the season with a 3.89 ERA. Anderson worked 5.0 innings allowing no runs off three hits. He walked one and struck out three Mariners.

“I was willing to let him go out for the sixth. He got a little bit of elbow tightness so we took him out. But, I mean, good stuff. The best [velocity] of the year. I know it’s been eight, or nine or ten days or whatever. But we saw some 94s, some 93s, it looked good. (He) just felt a little something after the fifth. We didn’t want to push that,” said A’s manager Bob Melvin.

Luzardo gets the save

Jesus Luzardo worked 2.0 innings to earn his second save of the year. He allowed no runs off one hit. Luzardo walked none and struck out three.

A’s manager Bob Melvin said, “(He was) pretty calm. And we’ve seen him, in bases loaded nobody out situations in Texas too. I don’t think the nerves are really there. (He) hits a guy, then makes good pitches with his breaking balls in the last at-bat. And (Tim) Lopes is
swinging pretty good too. That’s kind of how we look at it today, we didn’t want him throwing too many pitches, but as long as he was under 30, we felt good about it. Now, three days rest for him as well…”

Melvin on Wild Card Home Field Advantage

“There’s going to be 50,000 people in Oakland, I got a feeling. When we get that bigger crowd at home, they have an effect. So, we’re excited about going home in front of our fans. There’s a great bond between us and the fans there, and they can get pretty loud.”



After superior showing against the Astros and Yankees, A’s come up empty against the Giants, lose finale, 5-4

By Morris Phillips

OAKLAND–Well that’s not how great teams cap a superior home stand.

The A’s were flying high–and leading the wild card chase–after taking six of seven from the Astros and Yankees. But with two games remaining on their nine-game stand at the Coliseum, the A’s flopped dropping a second straight to the Giants on Sunday, 5-4.

Donovan Solano went 4-for-4 and Evan Longoria knocked in three runs as the Giants came across the Bay and achieved the two-game sweep. The A’s appeared to be in business after Mark Canha homered for the second time off San Francisco rookie Logan Webb to take a 4-3 lead in the fourth. But Webb and five relievers limited the A’s to a pair of hits the rest of the way, and the Giants kept their playoff hopes on life support with a second, straight win.

The A’s normally reliable bullpen played the culprit for the second straight game, as Blake Treinen allowed the go-ahead, two-run single to Longoria in the seventh. Treinen was on to pick up Jake Diekman, who walked Donovan Solano, and hit Mike Yastrzemski with a pitch, two of the only three batters he faced. After battling Buster Posey, Treinen allowed the hit to Longoria on the first pitch.

“I got a groundball,” Treinen explaned. “I can’t control where it goes.”

The A’s fell a half game behind the Rays in the wild card stack with the Indians a full game ahead, and in control of the top spot, and the opportunity to host the wild card game. All three teams fell on Sunday, putting greater focus on the A’s inability to pull out a win at home.

All three teams have concerns going into the season’s final 30 ballgames, mostly on the injury front. The Rays lost Brandon Lowe earlier this week, and now Kevin Kiermaier has bruised ribs. Tampa also just ended a lengthy, favorable portion of their schedule, and will face all playoff-worthy competition in the upcoming weeks.

The Indians placed Jose Ramirez on the injured list over the weekend, as they uncharacteristically lost a pair to the downtrodden Royals. Cleveland briefly lost control of the top wild card spot before regaining it on Saturday.

And the A’s are dealing with Stephen Piscotty’s high ankle sprain that will likely land him on the injured list. With Mark Canha getting hot, they might not miss Piscotty terribly over the short run, but Khris Davis’ prolonged slump continues to be an issue. Davis was benched Sunday in favor of Jurickson Profar as the designated hitter.

The A’s hope the schedule will aid their efforts with them visiting the Royals for four games, while the Rays visit Houston, then host Cleveland for the only three, remaining games between the three wild card hopefuls.

The A’s honored the 1989 World Series champs before the game, a chance for the fans to reconnect with Dave Stewart, Rickey Henderson and the other heroes of their most recent World Series title.

On Monday, the A’s open a week-long road trip at Kauffman Stadium with Homer Bailey facing Brad Keller.



A’s fall short of 4-game sweep of the Astros, still looking up in AL Wild Card chase

By Morris Phillips

OAKLAND — After another highly satisfying weekend, one of baseball’s best teams is still on the outside looking in.

The A’s failed to sweep the AL West-leading Astros four straight, falling 4-1 on Sunday afternoon as Zack Greinke picked up his 200th career win. The Astros avoided a sixth, consecutive loss, propping themselves up with Alex Bregman’s 4 for 4 afternoon, including a three-run homer in the fifth inning.

But with the Indians, Twins and Rays winning Sunday, the A’s will need to pick it up to grab an American League Wild Card spot. Even as the second hottest team in baseball over the last 50 games (34-16), the A’s are still trailing in the race for the second, wild card spot which they captured in 2018.

Manager Bob Melvin remains focused on having his club prepared each day, without being preoccupied with the standings. In Melvin’s mind, with 38 games remaining, it’s still to early to compare wins and losses.

“We’re just trying to win as many games as we can,” Melvin said. “We know we’re quite a bit behind (the division-leading Astros), so every game we can win against them gets us a little bit closer. We’re still in August. It’s not until a little bit later in September ’til I start focusing on kind of where we are as far as the division and the wild card. Things flip around pretty quickly.”

That flip around was abrupt over the weekend, as the A’s had dropped nine of their first 11 contests against Houston, before finally standing up to the division leaders with three, consecutive wins. More impressive, the A’s matched the pitching-rich Astros on the mound while getting some key blasts from its powerful lineup.

Things reverted to the norm on Sunday with Bregman’s big day at the plate, and Greinke on his game, which has been the case in almost all of his Bay Area outings. The future Hall of Famer limited the A’s to four hits, and only Marcus Semien’s fourth inning home run came at a cost.

“He does it a little bit differently than most premiere starters,” Melvin said of Greinke. “He paints with his fastball. His changeup is almost the same speed as his fastball, yet it dives off the table and goes straight down.”

Brett Anderson struggled in his five innings of work, uncharacteristically walking four batters. That issue came in focus when Melvin abruptly removed Anderson in the middle of an at-bat, when he spotted the pitcher laboring due to a blister.

The A’s bullpen closed the door, but couldn’t aid the offense, which saw scoring opportunities evaporate in the seventh and ninth innings due to double plays.

The Yankees visit the Coliseum starting Tuesday, as the A’s brace for a second, consecutive elite opponent. New York is still without Giancarlo Stanton, but haven’t missed a beat with several other bit players taking more prominent roles during their injury-riddled, but productive season to date.

On Tuesday, Homer Bailey will take the mound for the A’s in a matchup with Cy Young candidate Domingo German (16-2, 3.96 ERA).

Two out ninth inning Hit By Pitch leads to A’s 5-4 victory over the Twins

Photo/Graphic: @Athletics

by Charlie O. Mallonee

In the top of the ninth inning, the Oakland Athletics trailed the Minnesota Twins 4-3 with two outs when Mark Canha came to the plate to face Taylor Rogers. Rogers threw Canha a slider that hit the batter on the back foot to give the A’s a runner to keep the inning alive.

Ramon Laureano hit a double to left field that moved Canha into scoring position at third base. That set the table for Khris Davis who hit a line drive to the right side of the infield that deflected off the glove of first baseman Ehire Adrianza that allowed Canha and Laureano to score. The A’s took the lead 5-4.

The Twins did not go quietly into the night

The A’s brought in Liam Hendriks to close out the game in the bottom of the ninth. It was clear right from the first batter that Hendriks was not as sharp as he usually is on the mound. He had pitched on Friday night and that may have taken a toll on his effectiveness.

Hendriks ended up loading the bases with just one out. Mitch Garver came to bat and hit the first pitch from Hendriks on the ground to the shortstop Marcus Semien. Semien underhanded the ball to Profar who had plenty of time to make the throw to Olson at first to complete the double play. Just that quickly, the A’s had won the game 5-4.

A’s Spotlight

Liam Hendriks celebrates the save Photo: @Athletics
  • Blake Treinen (3-3, 4.46) was credited with the win. Treinen pitched 0.2-innings giving up one hit and walking two hitters.
  • Liam Hendriks picked up his eighth save of the season while working his way out that ninth-inning jam.
  • Starting pitcher Brett Anderson did not figure into the final decision and had to leave the game due to a blister on the left middle finger. His status is listed as day-to-day.
  • Matt Olson extended his hitting streak to 15 games which is now the longest active streak in baseball. Olson is now hitting .295 (18-for-61) with four home runs over the 15 games.
  • Ramon Laureano recorded his 29th multi-hit game and fifth consecutive contest on Saturday night. The young outfielder has hit 20 home runs this season.
  • Mark Canha hit his 16th home run of the season on Saturday night. He is now just one home run short of tying his career-high of 17 which he set last season.

Twins Notes

  •   Taylor Rogers (2-2, 1.97) was the losing pitcher. Rogers was also charged with a blown save – ouch!
  • Minnesota starting pitcher Jose Berrios worked 5.2 innings and gave up no runs, but he did not figure into the final decision.
  • This was the first loss this season for the Twins when they were leading after eight innings. They are now 53-1 when leading after eight innings.
  • The Twins have hit 181 home runs this season tying them with the Dodgers, Brewers, and Braves for the most home runs hit in the Major Leagues.
  • Miguel Sano hit his 14th home run of the season in the game, but it was just his second round-tripper at Target Field this year.
  • Nelson Cruz hit his 379th career home run on Saturday night which allowed him to pass A’s coach Matt Williams on the All-Time list.

Up Next

The A’s and Twins wrap up this four-game series on Sunday at 11:10 PM PDT. Oakland will send RHP Daniel Mengden (5-1, 4.21) to face the Twins RHP Michael Pineda (6-5, 4.38).

1,000 Ways To Thrive: A’s nip the White Sox, acquire starter Homer Bailey from the Royals

By Morris Phillips

OAKLAND–When it comes to post All-Star break success, the A’s have no peer. With Bob Melvin pulling the strings, the Billy Beane-led front office making the deals, not to mention the baseballs flying over the fence, the A’s know how to put the finishing touches on a 162-game season.

On Sunday at the Coliseum, the A’s laid the foundation for the 2019 version of the climb up the American League standings with a 3-2, walkoff win over the White Sox.

Baserunner Chad Pinder, looking to take second base on Ramon Laureano’s ground ball in the hole, instead raced home with the winning run when shortstop Jose Rondon’s throw sailed past second and into foul ground as the alert Pinder crossed the plate.

“I was just trying to beat the throw, and as I’m sliding, I saw the second baseman lunge a bit,” Pinder recounted. “And from there, I was trying to get ahold of Matt (the third base coach) and see what he sees. He sent me, so I went home.”

After the Sox were basically no-shows on Friday and Saturday, losing both days by a combined score of 18-3, starting pitcher Reynaldo Lopez set the tone by limiting the A’s to three hits with seven strikeouts through six innings.

Lopez had allowed at least one home run in ten consecutive starts, while the A’s had homered in 14 straight games, but that intersection was bypassed when Lopez exited with a 2-1 lead.

A’s starter Brett Anderson stepped on a bat in foul territory, allowed a tie breaking homer to Eloy Jimenez, and exited in the seventh after a Yolmer Sanchez double. But other than those unfortunate moments, Anderson was steady in pursuit of his tenth win of the season.

Once Lopez departed, the home run ball appeared. Laureano got the A’s even leading off the seventh with his career-best 18th off reliever Evan Marshall.

“We felt like he had a chance to be a 30-homer guy,” Melvin said. “Maybe he’s on pace a little sooner than we expected.”

The A’s have won 12 of 15, and surpassed Cleveland, Texas and Boston in the ever-changing wild card race. The A’s are within striking range of the Astros in the AL West as well.

Given that, the Sunday morning’s timing of the deal with the Royals to acquire starting pitcher Homer Bailey was brilliant. Bailey was scratched during warmups in Kansas City, and will be available on Wednesday afternoon for his first start with the A’s.

The deal for the 33-year old former Red who pitched a no-hitter against the Giants came at the cost of 2017 compensatory pick Kevin Merrell, an infielder with speed currently at AA-Midland.

Oakland A’s podcast with Joey Friedman: A’s win four of last five games; Oakland just 1 1/2 out of the wild card; plus more

photo from  Jurickson Profar #23 congratulates Matt Olson #28 of the Oakland Athletics on his three run home run against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the third inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on June 28, 2019 in Anaheim, California

On the A’s podcast with Joey F:

#1 The A’s continue their winning ways after defeating the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday night in a 4-0 shutout at the Big A in Anaheim the team now are 4-1 on the current road trip

#2 Oakland starter Brett Anderson pitched 7.2 innings of shutout ball surrendering just two hits, two walks and striking out three.

#3 A’s closer Liam Hendricks shut the door on the Angels in the eighth and ninth innings pitching 1.1 innings and striking out two hitters.

#4 The A’s Matt Chapman not only noted for his great defense at third base hit his 20th home run on Saturday night

#5 Starting pitchers for game three of the series in Anaheim on Sunday: For Oakland Chris Bassitt (4-3 ERA 3.86) and for Los Angeles Andrew Heaney (1-1 ERA 4.99)

A’s podcast with Joey Friedman are heard each Sunday at

A’s shutout Angels 4-0 on Saturday night in Anaheim

Halos Anderson
Brett Anderson gave up just two hits on Saturday night Photo: @Athltetics

by Charlie O. Mallonee

The Oakland Athletics won their second consecutive game over the Angels on Saturday night 4-0. The A’s combined strong pitching and key hitting to stop “the Halos” in their tracks.

The win upped the Athletics record to 45-39 for the season and made them 4-1 on this six-game road trip. They are 7.0 games behind first-place Houston and 1.5 games back of second-place Texas. Oakland is now 1.5 games out of the Wild Card race.

Pitching was key for the A’s

Brett Anderson had an outstanding start for the Athletics on Saturday night. He was able to work 7.2-innings of shutout baseball. Anderson allowed just two hits, two walks and struck out three Los Angeles batters. He threw 100 pitches (63 strikes). Anderson’s record improved to 8-5 for the year.

Liam Hendricks came in to close out the game for Oakland. Hendricks worked 1.1-innings giving up one hit and striking out two. It was not a save situation for Hendricks.

A’s used their power to score

Halos Chapman
Chapman hit home run #20 on Saturday night Photo: @Athletics

Oakland put three runs up on the board in the fifth inning. Marcus Semien doubled to left field to send Jurickson Profar home to score. For Semien, it was his 19th double and 42nd RBI of the season.

Also in the fifth inning, Matt Chapman hit a two-run home run (20) with Semien on base. That gave the A’s a 3-0 lead.

In the top of the seventh inning, Josh Phegley hit a single to right field that allowed Profar to score again. That put the A’s up 4-0.

The four-game series concludes on Sunday

Oakland will send Chris Bassitt (4-3, 3.86) to the hill to face off against Andrew Heaney (1-1, 4.99). The first pitch is scheduled for 1:07 PM.

Analytics Make Them Tick: Rays blow past the A’s 8-2 in the series finale

By Morris Phillips

OAKLAND — With openers, featured pitchers, defensive shifts and situational hitting, the Tampa Bay Rays had their analytics game working on Sunday afternoon at the Coliseum.

All that number crunching, along with a heavy dose of bat dexterity, meant bad news for the A’s, 8-2 losers in the finale of their 10-game home stand. The A’s finished their lengthiest stint at home this season with an underwhelming 6-4 record that could have gained some juice with a win over wild card leader Tampa Bay in the series finale.

“It’s frustrating from my end that we could have taken a series from a team ahead of us in the standing,” said starting pitcher Brett Anderson, who was lifted during the Rays’ big fourth inning that broke the game open.

The Rays took control with three runs in the third, and five runs on seven hits in the fourth, but they built momentum in the first inning courtesy of Ryne Stanek, baseball’s premiere opener in 2019. Stanek has already started 22 games for the Rays, assuming the task of navigating the opposing teams’ meat of the order the first time through, while never lasting as long as the first two innings of a ballgame.

The hard throwing Stanek isn’t averse to walking a batter or two (18 walks allowed in 43 2/3 innings) to get to a favorable matchup. On Sunday, in his 51st stint as an opener in the last two seasons, he looked comfortable in the face of adversity, facing five batters in the first, allowing a hit and a walk, and striking out three, including an inning-ending punch out of Ramon Laureano with two runners on.

Then after throwing 26 pitches in the first inning, issuing a four-pitch walk to Mark Canha leading off the second, Stanek was gone.

But Ryan Yarbrough, the featured pitcher, picked Stanek up immediately, assuming a baserunner in the second, then pitching six innings in an innocuous manner as possible, befitting a guy asked to neither start or finish a game

“It was big to give our bullpen some time off and take a big day like this into the off-day,” manager Kevin Cash of Yarbrough.

Yarbrough allowed a run on five hits in his six innings, but the key spot came right away, facing Matt Olson with runners on second and third with two outs and the first run of the ballgame in. Olson had previously homered against Yarbrough, adding to the tension of the moment.

But with the shift deployed and second baseman Joey Wendle playing in shallow right, Olson was retired by the aggressiveness of the defense.

Photo/Graphic: @Astros

By Charlie O. Mallonee

Coming home to the Oakland Coliseum has not been a good thing for the Oakland Athletics. After winning 11 consecutive games, the A’s have now lost four games in a row at home. They have also lost a second consecutive series at home.

The first-place Houston Astros downed the A’s 5-1 on Saturday night at the Coliseum behind the “lights out” pitching of Justin Verlander (9-2, 2.27 ERA). The perennial All-Star pitcher worked 8.0-innings allowing just one run (earned) off four hits. Verlander struck out eight Oakland hitters while walking just two.

The A’s only run of the game came in the second inning when Stephen Piscotty hit the first pitch from Verlander over the wall in right field for his seventh home run of the season.

Brett Anderson (6-4, 3.95 ERA) made the start for Oakland. He worked 5.1-innings giving up three runs (all earned) on eight hits. Anderson struck out two and walked two.

The A’s used two relief pitchers in the contest. Yusmeiro Petit pitched 2.2-innings of perfect baseball while striking out two Astros. Joakim Soria closed out the game pitching the ninth inning and giving up two runs off two hits (1 HR).

A’s Spotlight

Marcus Semien ejected Photo: @Athletics
  • Anderson has allowed five home runs in his last four starts after he gave up just one homer in his previous eight starts.
  • Ramon Laureano recorded his sixth assist of the year on Saturday. The center fielder threw Robinson Chirinos out as he attempted to advance to second base in the fourth inning.
  • Speaking of Laureano, he extended his career-long hitting streak to 14 games when he singled off Verlander in the fifth inning.
  • Marcus Semien was ejected in the fifth inning of the game. It was the first time Semien has been ejected from a game in his career.
  • Stephen Piscotty has possessed the hot bat for the A’s during this homestand. He went 2-for-4 on Saturday and he is batting .417 (10-for-24) with five runs, two doubles, two home runs, and four RBI in the eight games.

Houston Notes

Graphic: @Astros
  • Justin Verlander passed Cy Young for 21st on the all-time strikeout list (that’s impressive). Verlander is now for tied for the most wins in the Major Leagues with nine victories.
  • Josh Reddick is happy to back in the Coliseum. He has hit home runs in consecutive games for the first time since September 15 and 16, 2018. Reddick is hitting .412 (7-for-17) with three home runs and five RBI in four games in the Coliseum this season.
  • Michael Brantley now leads the MLB in multi-hit games after going 2-for-3 with a walk on Saturday. He has posted 27 multi-hit games. Brantley has recorded 72 hits already this season and is tied for first in the American League.

Up Next

The Astros and A’s will wrap up their series on Sunday at 1:07 PM PDT. Houston will send RHP Gerrit Cole (5-5, 4.04 ERA) to the mound to try and make it a sweep over Oakland. The A’s will counter with RHP Chris Bassitt (3-1, 3.27 ERA) in order to try and stop their losing streak.

Nine Is Fine: A’s sweep Mariners, extend streak with 7-1 win

By Morris Phillips

OAKLAND — In a lot of ways, frustration trumped elation at the Coliseum on Sunday, as the Mariners’ winless road trip seemed like a bigger deal than the A’s nine-game win streak.

For one, the A’s established an early lead and cruised to a 7-1 win behind lesser names catcher Josh Phlegley and veteran starter Brett Anderson. Make no mistake, the A’s won, and looked good doing so, but the Mariners looked bad and felt worse after losing for the 30th time in their last 40 games, and seeing their season on the brink with still more than 100 games left to play.

“Some games we didn’t pitch that well, some games we didn’t play defense that well and some games we didn’t hit,” manager Scott Servais said of the Mariners’ 0-6 road trip, their worst since 2010. “When that happens and you can’t put a full game together, you are going to have a tough road trip. And that’s what we experienced.”

“We have to play good baseball and we haven’t done that,”

Servais and the Mariners’ frustration spilled over in the seventh inning when Mark Canha slid into second base outside of the constraints dictated by the rule designed to protect infielders on double play balls. Canha–running along the infield grass then finishing his slide with his leg up–appeared to go outside a direct path to the bag, which kept J.P. Crawford from unleashing a throw to first. Replay got involved, and Servais took out his frustrations on umpiring crew chief Mike Everitt, who then ejected Servais.

When play ensued, trail runner Jurickson Profar scored–along with Skye Bolt, on board with a walk — on Phlegley’s double that increased the A’s lead to 5-1.

“Clearly J.P. got taken out on the play. They saw it different in New York than I saw it. There was no explanation. It was just replay. If you argue replay, it’s not going to go well,” Servais said after the game.

Seattle starter Mike Leake approached second base umpire Bill Welke immediately after the double play was interrupted to take exception to the non-call. That was the beginning of the end of Leake’s afternoon as he steadied by striking out Ramon Laureano, but then saw Profar steal second on his watch, as he was issuing Bolt a four-pitch walk. Bolt, the rookie hitting .143, would go 0 for 3 in the game with a run scored. Bolt was Leake’s final batter, as acting manager Manny Acta lifted the starter, who left the mound in a huff.

“We need some guidance in the right direction. We’re all here fighting, being professionals. It could come from players or management, or both. I don’t know,” said a frustrated Leake, who has one win in his last nine starts.

One thing that has to get corrected when the Mariners return home on Monday is their inability to overcome deficits. The Mariners have lost 19 consecutive games in which their opponents have scored first, dating back to mid-April. On Sunday, Leake allowed a two-run shot to Matt Chapman in the first inning, and a solo shot to Phlegley in the second.

That and maybe take a cue from the A’s. By most accounts, the A’s most frustrating defeats in 2019 were to the Mariners, first in Japan to start the season, then in Seattle on their most recent, road trip. In both cases, the A’s have responded with winning baseball, and haven’t lost at all since losing 4-3 at Safeco Field on May 14.

Since that second, consecutive one-run loss to Seattle, the A’s are 9-0. The Mariners are 1-9. Thus the elation, and frustration.

The A’s open a three-game set with the Angels on Memorial Day at 1:05 pm at the Coliseum.