By Charlie O. Mallonee
The Oakland Athletics shot out of the gate quickly on Saturday night in Pittsburgh, hanging three runs up on the scoreboard in the top of the first inning. Khris Davis singled to right to drive Matt Chapman home to score. Kendrys Morales hit his first triple of the year to drive Davis home to score, and Morales would score the third Oakland run of the inning on a Stephen Piscotty single to left field. That was a very promising start for the green and gold.
The Pirates put their first run up on the board in the home-half of the second inning when Josh Bell hit a Chris Bassitt 84 mph cutter over the right field wall.
Bell came back to haunt the A’s again in the bottom of the third inning with two out and Starling Marte on at first. Bell hit his eighth home run of the season over the center field wall off a 93 mph sinker that tied the game at 3-3.
The A’s retook the lead in the fifth inning when Khris Davis hit a single to center field that drove Matt Chapman home to score the fourth run of the contest for Oakland.
Pittsburgh broke this game open in the bottom of the seventh inning when they scored three runs. Kevin Newman hit his first triple of the season off Wendelken that drove in two runners on base to score and gave the Pirates a 5-4 lead. Francisco Cervelli then hit a 2-2 change up from Wendelken into left field that allowed Newman to score easily from third base. After seven complete innings, the Pirates held a 6-4 lead.
Pirates (15-15) focus
- Josh Bell was the star of the game for Pittsburgh. He hit two home runs, picked up three RBI and scored two runs. Bell is batting .291 for the Pirates.
- Gregory Polanco went 2-for-5 for Pittsburgh on Saturday. He hit a double and scored a run for his team in the win.
- Outfielder Bryan Reynolds had a good night for his team, going 2-for-3 at the plate. Reynolds also scored a run.
- Michael Feliz picked up his first win of the season working in relief.
- Felipe Vazquez recorded his ninth save of the year preserving the win for his team.
A’s (15-20) spotlight
- Matt Chapman had a 2-for-4 game scoring two runs. He hit a double and a triple in the game.
- Khris Davis picked up two RBI and scored a run in his 2-for-4 night for Oakland. Davis played left field in the game because there is no designated hitter because this is a National League ballpark.
- The A’s are hoping that this was a breakout game for Kendrys Morales who went 2-for-4 with the bat scoring a run and adding an RBI.
- Skye Bolt, who was just called up to the majors, picked up his first major league hit in the game.
- Starting pitcher Chris Bassitt did not figure into the final decision. The loss was charged to J.B. Wendelken (0-1) who pitched 1.0 innings giving up three runs (all earned) off four hits. He walked one and struck out one.
The third and final game of the series will be played on Sunday. First pitch is scheduled for 10:35 AM Bay Area time. Frankie Montas (4-2, 2.97 ERA) will take the hill for Oakland. The Pirates will counter with Jordan Lyles (2-1, 2.42 ERA).