Photo credit: @tigers
By Lewis Rubman
Detroit: 5 | 11 | 0
Oakland: 4 | 6 | 0
OAKLAND — This is when I usually say who’s pitching and how he’s doing. Instead, I’ll just mention that when the two-part serial that began in Detroit on May 19 and wound up in Oakland this afternoon, Mike Fiers was the winning pitcher and is now 14-3. Zac Reininger was saddled with the loss and stands at 0-2. There was no save.
For the record, Detroit’s starting pitcher in the scheduled game, Spencer Turnbull, started the evening at 3-14, 4.45. The right-hander is tied for sixth place among rookie hurlers at 116. His 125 1/3 innings pitched makes him ninth among freshmen in that category, but makes his punch out total a little less impressive.
Homer Bailey started for the A’s. The question was, which Homer Bailey would answer the bell? It was the pretty good Homer Bailey who pitched the top of the first, walking Miguel Cabrera but getting his three other adversaries out on grounders to second and short. As the game progressed, Bailey got better and better, holding the Tigers scoreless over the next five and a third innings before yielding to Joakim Soria. Bailey gave a good account of himself but got no decision.
Oakland got men on base early and often. Chapman walked with one out in the first but was cut down at third by Victor Reyes’s bullet to Lugo when he tried to advance an extra base on Olson’s single to right. They didn’t waste their opportunities in the second, though. Phegley’s double, singles by Brown and Profar, Laureano getting hit by a pitcher on his first plate appearance since coming off the IL, and walks to Semien and Chapman combined to give Oakland four runs and drive Turnbull to the showers. He had thrown 56 pitches, 31 for strikes in one and 2/3 of an inning pitched, giving up four runs (all earned) on four hits, three walks, and a hit batter. He struck out two. In spite of this terrible performance, Turnbull escaped with a no decision.
Turnbull’s replacement, Nick Ramírez, applied the tourniquet that stopped the hemorrhage of scoring against the Bengals, doing an excellent job over 2 1/3 innings and allowing only one walk while punching out three. He gave way to another southpaw, Tyler Alexander, at the start of the fifth. The two relievers held the A’s at bay and gave the Tiger batsmen a chance to get the team back in the game.
They did that in the top of the seventh, when Bailey seemed to run out of steam. He issued a lead off walk to Cabrera on five pitches and then surrendered a home run to Christin Stewart on an 83 mph split fingered fast ball that landed in the left field seats. With the score now 4-2 in favor of the A’s, Bailey got a ground out to second from Candelario before yielding a single to Dawel Lugo. That ended Bailey’s outing. His line was 6 1/3 innings pitched, two runs (both earned and coming on Candelario’s bomb) on five hits, one walk, and three strike outs. Joakim Soria, following Bailey to the mound, manged to quell the Tigers’ uprising in spite of giving up hits to two of the three batters he faced. The inning ended on Willi Castro’s fly out to Laureano at the warning track in left center field.
Soria had done his job, not elegantly but effectively. His replacement, Jake Diekman, started off the eighth in high fashion with two quick groundouts by Reyes and Castro. But then the A’s lefty began to unravel. Carbrera singled. Stewart did damage for the second straight inning, this time lining a double to left that sent Tim Beckham, running for Cabrera, to third. Diekman hit Candelario with his last pitch of the day to load the bases. His replacement, Lou Trivino, gave up a single to Lugo, which brought in Beckham and Brandon Dixon, running for Steward, to tie the game. The runs were charged to Diekman.
When Oakland came to bat in the bottom of the eighth, they faced Buck Farmer, whom Davis and Profar hit hard, but the KD’s fly landed in Reyes’s glove at the warning track, and Profar lined out to the same outfielder.
The A’s sent their closer Hendriks, who had pitched the seventh frame of the afternoon’s continuation game, to face the now dangerous Tigers in the ninth. He retired the Tigers’ 8, 9, and 10 hitters, 1-2-3.
Wlth the exception of Hendriks and Wendelken, who worked the 10th, the A’s bullpen once more disappointed. Paul Blackburn, another September call up, gave up a leadoff double to Lugo in the 11th. Travis Demeritte sacrificed him to second. It looked as if Blackburn might wiggle out of trouble when Pinder, now playing left field, caught Grayson Greiner’s fly ball on the warning track, but weak hitting shortstop Willi Castro lined a double to right that plated the leading, and eventually winning run in the 11th frame. Blackburn was charged with the loss, but it was a collective failure.
The Tigers’ bullpen, in contrast, was excellent. Between Ramírez, Alexander, Farmer, José Cisnero, Daniel Stumpf, John Schreiber, who got the win, and Joe Jiménez, who earned the save, they hurled 9 1/3 innings without allowing a run, and they gave up only two hits and four walks. They struck out 10 Oakland batters.
Oakland lost a full game today to Houston in the division race, but that’s academic now. The A’s still are the second wild card leader, trailing Tampa Bay by 1 game but a 1/2 ahead of the Indians.
Tomorrow’s game is scheduled to start at 6:07 p.m. with Chris Bassitt (9-3, 3.67 ERA) facing Jordan Zimmermann (1-9, 6.03 ERA). The numbers are disparate, but, as tonight’s action showed us, on any given day…