Oakland A’s Sunday Game Wrap:A’s shutout Red Sox 1-0 in walk-off win

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Oakland Athletics
Oakland Athletics left fielder Khris Davis Photo Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

by Charlie O. Mallonee

Just when it looked like a no-hitter was going to be pitched against the Oakland Athletics by Eduardo Rodriguez on Sunday, a 19-second video review overturned a call at first that would have been the third out in the bottom of the eighth inning and the bid for a no-hitter was over. Frankly, what happened next was unexpected.

The Red Sox brought in closer Craig Kimbrel to pitch the bottom of the ninth inning of the scoreless game. Danny Valencia led off the inning with a base on balls. With the potential winning run at first, the power-hitting Khris Davis came to the plate and hit a double to left field. Boston left fielder Brock Holt had trouble fielding the ball and Valencia was able to come home for the winning run. Davis was credited with a double and Holt was charged with an error so the run was unearned.

The Athletics defeated the Red Sox 1-0 in the final game of the three-game series. For the A’s, they score one run on just two hits while leaving six men on base. Oakland committed one error. Boston scored no runs off six hits and left nine men on base. The Red Sox committed two errors in the game.

On the Bump

It was a day that was all about pitching. The A’s had given up 27 runs in the first two games versus the Red Sox. Oakland needed a shutdown performance to give them a chance to salvage a win in the final game of the series.

A’s starter Kendall Graveman (10-9, 3.81) gave his team that chance on Sunday. He worked 6.1 scoreless innings for his team. Graveman struck out seven and walked just two. He threw 112 pitches (71 strikes).

A’s manager Bob Melvin said after the game that the key to the win was Graveman’s ability to work his way out of a bases loaded situation in the top of the fourth inning.

For all of his hard efforts, Graveman earns a no decision for the day.

Ryan Dull came on to relieve Graveman in the seventh inning with runners at first and second. Dull closed out the seventh and faced just four batters in the eighth inning to keep the shutout intact.

Closer Ryan Madson was brought in for the top of the ninth inning. He put the side down in order to keep Boston without a run on the board. Madson was the pitcher of record when Valencia scored the winning run so he picks up the win. Madson is now 5-4 on the season.

Graveman, Dull and Madson combined to shutout a very powerful Boston Red Sox team.

For most of the game, it appeared that Eduardo Rodriguez (2-5, 4.83) would be the story of the contest by pitching a no-hitter. The Red Sox left-hander was in command on the mound right from the beginning of the game. He struck out five and walked just two batters. Rodriguez had three 1-2-3 innings.

Rodriguez was cruising to another three-up, three-down inning when the unthinkable happened. With two out and Marcus Semien at the plate, the A’s shortstop hit a ball right back to the mound at the feet of the pitcher. Rodriguez could not find the ball. When Rodriguez finally found the ball, he fired it to first and Semien was called out. Almost immediately, the A’s were calling for a review and the umpires initiated a review because it was after the seventh inning.

It only took 19-seconds for video control in New York to overturn the call and Semien was called safe. That was all for the no hit bid. Rodriguez got Jake Smolinski to ground out to end the eighth inning.

Rodriguez pitched 8.0-innings giving up no runs on one hit. He struck out five and walked two. He threw 110 pitches (72 strikes). Rodriguez is now 0-2 with a 2.83 ERA in his last five starts.

Craig Kimbrel takes the loss for the Sox. He gave up one run on one hit. He walked one hitter. Kimbrel’s record falls to 2-4 for the year.

In the Batter’s Box

The Khris Davis double was the highlight for the Athletics on Sunday. Davis went 1-for-4 in the game including two strike outs but kept his concentration and aggressiveness when his team needed it the most. For Davis, it was his 20th double of the year and his 85th RBI.

It was Big Papi’s last appearance at the Coliseum on Sunday and things did not go the way he would have liked them go. Ortiz went 0-for-2 on the day with two walks.

Rookie Yoan Moncada went 2-for-4 for his second consecutive multi-hit game.

In the Field

The Red Sox $60-million man – Rookie Yoan Moncada – committed his first big league error on Sunday. In the bottom of the second inning, Moncada attempted to field a ground ball hit to third by Ryon Healy. Moncada did not get in front of the ball and wound up waving at the ball with his glove as it bounced by him into left field. Even top prospects are humbled by the baseball.

Danny Valencia was charged with an error in the fourth inning when his throw to Marcus Semien drew the shortstop off the bag and allowed the runner to be called safe in what should have been a force out. The runner was originally called out and the Red Sox had to challenge the call. It took 1-minute 19-seconds for the original call to be overturned and for the error to be charged to Valencia.

Up Next – Here come the rookies

The A’s will host the LA Angels for a three-game series that will get underway on Monday afternoon at 1:05 PM. That game will feature the debut of RHP Raul Alcantara for the Athletics. Alcantara began the season at Double-A Midland and was then promoted to Triple-A Nashville. Alcantara made eight starts at Nashville and posted a 4-0 record with a 1.18 ERA.

LHP Ross Detwiler (1-3, 4.66) will start for Oakland on Tuesday night. The Angels have not named a starter.

The Wednesday afternoon game will feature another Major League debut as RHP Jharel Cotton will take the mound for the A’s. Cotton came to the A’s from the Dodgers as a part of the Josh Reddick/Rich Hill trade. Cotton made six starts for the Sounds and recorded a 3-1 record with a 2.82 ERA. One of those wins was a one-hitter that came very close to being a no-hitter. That performance won Cotton the PCL Player of the Week.

Alcantara and Cotton will be the 11th and 12th rookie pitchers to appear for the A’s this season. They will be the 26th and 27th pitchers used by Oakland in 2016.

Oakland A’s Tuesday game wrap: The Astros beat the A’s again 3-1

by Jerry Feitelberg

AP photo: Kendall Graveman Oakland A’s pitcher in the seventh inning gives up a home run to Evan Gattis of the Houston Astros on Tuesday night at Minute Maid Field

Houston- The Astros took the second game of the three-game set 3-1 Tuesday night in Houston. The victory meant the Astros would win the series, and they go for the sweep Wednesday afternoon. The Astro’s starter Collin McHugh pitched six scoreless innings and allowed the A’s just four hits. The A’s Kendall Graveman also pitched well but not well enough to win. Graveman went seven innings and allowed three runs on four hits. Unfortunately, two of those hits were solo home runs.

Colby Rasmus hit a solo homer in the second to give the Astros the lead 1-0.  It was Rasmus’ first plate appearance since he came off the DL. Houston scored a single run in the third on a RBI single by Alex Bregman. Evan Gattis unloaded his twenty-second of the year in the seventh to extend the lead to 3-0. The A’s scored an unearned run in the top of the eighth but it wasn’t quite enough to catch the Astros and they fall to Houston 3-1.

Game Notes- With the loss, Graveman’s record fall to 10-9. He leads the A’s staff with ten wins.  “We just didn’t do enough offensively to give [Graveman] support,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “We’ll take that stuff every night.”

“Those are the games where you save two runs there, make a couple better pitches and then you’re 1-1, so they did a good job of neutralizing our offense, and you get that feeling where you need to keep it where it’s at, but to go out and eat some innings was good,” Graveman said. “But I still feel like there’s work to be done.”

The Astros have now won nine of the last eleven games played, and they find themselves in the thick of the race for either the first or second Wild Card slot. The Red Sox are currently in the first slot. They lead the Orioles by two games. The Orioles lead the Tigers by one, and the Royals and Astros are also two back of Baltimore.

The A’s meet the Astros again Wednesday for the final game of the series. Game time will be at 11:10 am PT. Lefty Ross Detwiler(1-3) will make his fifth start as an Athletic, and Mike Fiers(9-6) will throw for Houston.

In other news, there are reports that the A’s have traded Coco Crisp to the Cleveland Indians. Coco was not in the lineup Tuesday night, and he cleaned out his locker and left the park before the start of the game. The formal announcement will be made Wednesday after approval of the trade by Major League Baseball.

Oakland A’s Wednesday post game wrap: The A’s win again, take the series from the Indians

by Jerry Feitelberg

AP photo: Kendall Graveman Oakland A’s starter pitches to visiting Cleveland in the first inning Wednesday afternoon at the Oakland Coliseum

OAKLAND–The A’s beat the Cleveland Indians 5-1 Wednesday afternoon at the Oakland Coliseum. The A’s, behind another strong performance by Kendall Graveman, took the three-game series, two games to one. The A’s,  for the third game in a row, did not allow the Indians more than one run in the contest. Andrew Triggs, although he lost the game, Sean Manaea and now, Kendall Graveman are showing signs that the A’s are building a solid rotation for the future.

Graveman has become the ace of the staff. He has won nine of his last eleven starts, and his record is now 10-8. Also, his ERA is now 3.97 and is the lowest since April 25th. Graveman went six and 2/3rds innings and allowed just one run and six hits. Marc Rzepczynski, Ryan Dull, and Ryan Madson closed out the game for the A’s. Trevor Bauer took the loss for the Indians.

The A’s scored all their run second inning. Khris Davis started the rally with a triple. Ryon Healy, who extended his hitting streak to eleven games, singled to drive him in with the A’s first runs. Max Muncy and Chad Pinder also had RBIs in the frame to give the A’s a 3-0 lead. The Green and Gold plated two more runs when Indians first baseman Carlos Santana overran a Danny Valencia popup that allowed two more runs to score. Santana was charged with an error, and those runs were unearned.

The Indians scored their only run in the top of the seventh when the Indians’ catcher, Roberto Perez, homered to right field. The umpires reviewed the play and the call was upheld.

Game Notes- The Indians’ starter, Trevor Bauer, gave up all five runs, three of which were earned and nine hits. Bauer saw his record drop to 9-6.

The A’s have an off-day Thursday as they travel to St. Louis to play the Cardinals over the weekend.  Ross Detwiler (1-2) will pitch Friday night.

 

 

Cruz, Cano homer in the Mariners’ 4-3 win over the A’s

By Morris Phillips

AP photo: Robinson Cano of the Seattle Mariners rounds third greeted by third base coach Manny Acta (14) after hitting a two run home run in the fifth off Oakland A’s starter Kendall Graveman at the Oakland Coliseum on Saturday night

OAKLAND–Kendall Graveman ranks as the most experienced starter the A’s currently have to offer, but that’s hardly enough cache to keep the right hander from getting schooled by Seattle’s grey beard, sluggers Nelson Cruz and Robinson Cano.

Cruz and Cano both homered off Graveman, the difference in a narrow, 4-3 loss for the A’s at the Coliseum on Saturday night. Catcher Stephen Vogt noticed the similarity in the home run pitches, both cutters on the first pitch of the at-bat.

“I’m surprised they put such good swings on them,” Vogt said. “It’s almost like they were sitting on it.”

“For the most part I thought I threw the ball well, maybe not commanding it early as well as I wanted to, to get ahead. But that’s the way it goes,” Graveman said.

Graveman’s record fell to 8-8, his first loss at the Coliseum since May 19. The homers were surprising as well, he hadn’t allowed a round tripper at home since July 18. But Cruz and Cano, with 55 home runs between them, have made careers of spoiling the plans of pitchers.

Cruz connected in the fourth inning, erasing the A’s early 1-0 lead. Cano’s shot came in the fifth, capping a three-run rally that put the Mariners up 4-1. The A’s would respond with a pair of runs in the sixth, but they couldn’t tie it, despite getting a leadoff hit from Coco Crisp in the seventh.

In the end, a frustrating loss for the A’s, who had 11 hits, and a bunch of opportunities, but just one hit and opportunity after the sixth inning when the Seattle bullpen took over. With runners in scoring position, the A’s squandered nine of their 11 at-bats.

The A’s are 14-14 since the All-Star break, after failing to win a fifth in the last six games of their home stand. With the disabled list (14 players currently) as populated as their dugout on most nights, the A’s are just trying to tread water while playing a string of opponents that have designs on the post-season.

Billy Butler had three hits and scored twice, as Melvin has found ways to get his part-time slugger in the lineup in the absence of a few other options. Vogt and Crisp combined for five hits, but both top-of-the-lineup hitters failed to score a run.

The A’s look to grab the rubber game of the series on Sunday with Zach Neal facing Seattle’s Wade LeBlanc.

It was a gray day for Sonny in Cleveland as the Indians win 8-0

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Cleveland Indians
Tough day for Sonny Gray in Cleveland. Photo Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

By Charlie O. Mallonee

The Cleveland Indians completed a three-game sweep of Oakland on Sunday by shutting out the Athletics 8-0. The Indians rode the strong starting pitching of Corey Kluber and the well timed hitting of the bottom third of the order to close out the A’s trip to Cleveland out on a down note.

The victory was the Indians 60th of season against 42 losses. The “Tribe” has now won three games in-a-row and are 6-4 in their last 10 games. The win gives them a 4.5 game lead over second-place Detroit in the AL Central.

The loss drops the A’s record to 47-58 – 11 games under the key goal of getting to the .500 mark. The A’s have lost three straight games and are 5-5 in their last 10 games. Oakland has dropped into last place in the AL West – 14.0 games back of Texas and 0.5 games back of the Angels in fourth place.

On the Bump

Sonny Gray looked strong in the first two innings of the game. He sat the side down in order in each inning and it appeared Gray was on track for a strong outing. Then came the third inning and the wheels came off for Gray.

Gray loaded the bases and then with one out, gave up single to right field to Jason Kipnis that was good for two RBI. Francisco Lindor then hit a sacrifice fly to center field that drove in Roberto Perez. Designated Hitter Mike Napoli then hit a two-run home run over the left center field wall to make it a 5-0 game in favor of the Indians.

The A’s were unable to find any runs in the top of the fourth to help Gray as he headed back to the mound to face the Cleveland batters.

Gray gave up another run on two singles and walk and his day on the hill was over. Daniel Coulombe came on in relief and gave up a sacrifice fly (run charged to Gray) before getting the final out. The Indians led 7-0 after four complete innings.

The Indians would score once more in the bottom of the fifth-inning.

Sonny Gray’s record fell to 5-10 for the year. Even more alarming his ERA rose to 5.84. On Sunday, Gray worked just 3.1 innings giving up seven runs (all earned) on eight hits. He struck out three and walked two. Gray threw 64 pitches (43 strikes).

Daniel Coulombe threw 1.2 innings in relief giving up one run (earned) on one hit while striking out two and walking two hitters. J.B. Wendelken worked three scoreless innings of long relief giving up just one hit, striking out three and issuing one walk.

It really was Corey Kluber’s day on the bump. The 2014 Cy Young winner was in great form as he threw 7.0 scorless innings distributing just five hits, walking just two A’s while striking out seven hitters. Kluber threw 103 pitches (67 strikes). It was the kind of performance that one would expect out of the number one man in the rotation of a first-place team.

The Indians used three pitchers to cover the eighth and ninth innings to close out the game.

In the Batter’s Box

Yonder Alonso had the only multi-hit game for the A’s. He had a double and a single in the game to raise his average to .250. Stephen Vogt, Jake Smolinski and Marcus Semien all hit doubles in the contest.

The A’s left eight runners on base and were 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position.

DH Mike Napoli was the man at the plate for Cleveland on Sunday. He went 1-for-3 with a 2-run home run, scored two runs, had two RBI and added a walk.

The number seven, eight and nine hitters in the order collected five of Cleveland’s 10 hits and scored five of their eight runs. That is a pretty productive bottom third of the order.

The Indians left six runners on base and were 4-for-8 with runners in scoring position.

On Defense

In the bottom of the fourth, Lonnie Chisenhall was at first when Tyler Naquin singled to right field. Josh Reddick fielded the ball and then threw a bullet to third base to try to cut down Chisenhall who decided to challenge Reddick’s arm. Rookie Ryon Healy took the throw, put down the tag and Chisenhall became the first out of the inning.

Who goes – who stays

The clock is ticking and the phones are ringing as teams are desperately trying to make deals before the non-wavier trade deadline hits at 1:00 PM PDT on Monday. There are several A’s players that the “experts” think could be on the move.

The two most prominent names are still pitcher Rich Hill and outfielder Josh Reddick. The new wrinkle involving these two players is that several teams are trying to pick them up as a package. Peter Gammons of MLB Network says the Dodgers have asked about the two as a package deal. Ken Rosenthal of Fox is reporting that the Blue Jays are also pursuing the pair as a package.

With Hill on the DL due the blister on pitching hand, some teams have asked about a conditional trade that would reduce the compensation to the A’s if Hill is unable to become competitive for the rest of the season. The word is the A’s have said no to those proposals. Hill is a “as is” with “no warranty” trade. You buy it – you own it.

The name of Danny Valencia has dropped off the radar in the last 72 hours but do not be surprised to hear Valencia has packed his bags and is on his way to a contender tomorrow afternoon. His productive bat is too good to be ignored.

Up Next

The A’s traveled to Southern California after the game on Sunday and will have a day off before beginning a three-game series with the Angels on Tuesday.

Tue 8/2 @LAA LHP Sean Manaea (3-5,4.57) vs. RHP Matt Shoemaker (5-11,4.17) 7:05 PM PDT

Wed 8/3 @LAA RHP Kendall Graveman (7-7,4.15) vs. RHP Jared Weaver (8-8,5.14) 7:05 PM PDT

Thu 8/4 @LAA  To Be Announced for Oakland       vs. RHP Tim Lincecum (2-5,8.49) 4:05 PM PDT

The Indians will stay in Cleveland and will begin a four-game series with the Twins on Monday night.

 

A’s quiet for eight innings, then the fireworks in their 4-3 win over the Rays

By Morris Phillips

OAKLAND–Limited offense and a familiar deficit on the scoreboard had A’s fans sitting on their hands for eight innings on Saturday night. But the explosive ninth inning capped off by rookie Ryon Healy’s game-ending home run had those same fans howling all the way through the post-game fireworks display.

The A’s beat the Tampa Rays with walk-off dramatics for the second night in a row, just enough to at least temporarily escape the cellar in the AL West. And they did so despite two, major holes in their starting lineup, continuing an upward trend since the All-Star Break with a sixth win in nine outings.

“I don’t think there’s anything more fun than walk-off wins in baseball,” Healy said. “The fact we’ve been able to have so many in my short, eight-day career makes winning that much better.”

If anyone portends a brighter future for the Athletics, it’s Healy, who made his major league debut on July 15, signaling a reduction in playing time for veterans Danny Valencia, Yonder Alonso and Coco Crisp. A big guy with pop, Healy made his transition smoother by providing the quick feet and glove necessary to take over the third base job. Like a couple of other inexperienced A’s contributors, Healy has the look of a big-league mainstay with consistency as a hitter the final step in establishing himself.

Until those transformations take place, the A’s have to deal with their current reality, with lack of offense in home games as one of their biggest issues. On Saturday, Rays’ starter Drew Smyly took that issue and ran with it, holding the A’s to six hits and one run through six innings. Smyly entered Saturday’s contest with 11 losses, and no wins since May 16, but the A’s saw another, confounding left handed starter.

The A’s entered Saturday’s game hitting just .242 as a team at the Coliseum. Against left-handed starters, the A’s had lost 10 of 11, ending a streak of nine, consecutive losses on Tuesday against Houston’s Dallas Kuechel.

But those, two factors were just the foundation of the adversity facing the A’s on Saturday night. Josh Reddick and Stephen Vogt were scratched before the game, Reddick due to discomfort in his back, and Vogt was placed on the family medical leave list, necessitating that the veteran catcher miss at least three games.   Coupled with the 6:05pm start time, the bright sun and shadows, the Oakland offense not surprisingly mustered just one run, and only three baserunners getting as far as third base, through the briskly played, first eight innings.

Then in the ninth, with the A’s trailing 3-1, and Kendall Graveman’s five-game win streak in jeopardy, the A’s were faced with Tampa Bay closer Alex Colome, who had converted all 21 of his save chances. Likely alone in his optimism, Graveman held out hope in the A’s dugout, after pitching all nine innings, allowing nine hits and three runs.

“You just kind of had a feeling in the dugout we were gone to put something together eventually,” Graveman recounted.

Something came in the form of a pair of fastballs—interspersed with some nasty, breaking balls—from Colome. With a runner on, Jake Smolinski delivered first, sending a get-ahead fastball over the left field wall with Khris Davis aboard. Davis, the A’s leading home run hitter, had reached on an unlikely walk to a .246 hitter who with the A’s trailing by two runs, couldn’t tie the game as the inning’s leadoff hitter.

One out after Smolinski tied it, Healy ended it, sending a 3-2 offering over the wall in the left field power alley.

“It was awesome to see the guys there and how excited they were,” Healy said. “I saw the bullpen sprinting down, so I sort of slowed my jog a little bit to enjoy it and let them get there.”

The A’s look to make it three of four in their series with Tampa Bay on Sunday. Jesse Hahn was recalled from AAA Nashville to make the start, and he will face the Rays’ Blake Snell at 1:05pm.

 

 

A’s minor league spotlight: Franklin Barreto

 

Franklin_Barreto_5.23.16_for_6.2.16_eoii4i8c_3ee0o7ov

by Charlie O. Mallonee

The Oakland Athletics will be looking for prospects just like the one who is in out minor league spotlight this week as they move veteran players to playoff contenders between now and August 1st. Infielder Franklin Barreto is ranked the number one prospect in the A’s minor league system and he was acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays as a part of the Josh Donaldson trade that also brought Kendall Graveman to the Athletics.

Barreto was originally signed by Toronto for $1.45 million in 2012. Barreto began to catch everyone’s attention in 2014 when he led the Northwest League in multiple categories. He had a .311 batting average and .384 on base percentage. Barreto was seen as a major piece of the Donaldson trade.

After joining the A’s organization, Barreto was assigned to Advanced Class-A Stockton in the California league. He immediately found success at the plate hitting .302 with an OBP of .333. Barreto had 13 home runs and 22 doubles in 90 games, but his season was cut short when he suffered a wrist contusion in late July that put him on the disabled list for the rest of the year.

The scouts rank Barreto as an above average hitter with average power but some see him with more than average power. He is rated as a average runner. Barreto is said to have an outstanding arm but is considered to be a below average fielder.

Barreto is currently assigned to Double-A Midland of the Texas League. He has appeared in 87 games and currently has a .258 batting average with a .321 on base percentage and a .387 slugging percentage. Barreto has 17 doubles, two triples, seven home runs and 32 RBI. He 22-for-32 in the stolen base department. Based on his current hitting statistics, Barreto will probably be looking at spending at least the first half of the 2017 season back Midland.

Barreto has also struggled defensively. His original position was shortstop but there was a problem with to many errors being committed. At Midland this season, they have used Barreto at second base and at shortstop. He has committed three errors in 28 games at second and 14 errors in 56 games at short. With shortstop Marcus Semien in the majors and Triple-A All-Star shortstop Chad Pinder at Nashville, Barreto’s future may be at second base or at a corner spot in the outfield.

Barreto was selected to the Texas League South Division All-Star Team. He played second base and hit a double in the game that the South Division won 8-3.

 

 

Graveman, A’s rebound from frustrating loss with a 3-2 win at Minute Maid Park

A's double play

By Morris Phillips

If momentum is today’s starting pitcher than Kendall Graveman provided plenty for the A’s on Saturday.

Graveman stymied the Astros for eight innings, and the A’s held on for a 3-2 win over the Astros in Houston. The pitcher’s trademark sinker kept the defense behind him alert and productive, and the opponent off the scoreboard save for a couple of ninth inning runs after Graveman departed.

“He was outstanding,” Stephen Vogt said of Graveman. “With the exception of maybe three pitches, he was in the bottom part of the zone.”

On Friday, the A’s scored five times in the ninth inning to put themselves in line for an improbable, come-from-behind victory, only to see Luis Valbuena’s three-run homer win it for the Astros in the bottom of the inning. The 10-9 loss ranks at the team’s worst of the year, and Graveman and the A’s had to be back on the diamond to face the hottest team in baseball just 16 hours later.

Since May 12, the Astros had won 30 of 42 games, and their starter for Saturday’s third game of the four-game series, Lance McCullers, had never allowed more than three earned runs in any of his 16 starts at Minute Maid Park. Despite all that momentum, and Valbuena’s game-winning home run on Friday, Graveman made himself the story on Saturday.

The A’s starter retired the first 14 batters he faced, and shutout the Astros for the first eight frames on just three hits. Graveman featured his sinker throughout, and the A’s defense behind him was flawless, going a franchise record 15th consecutive game without committing an error, and turning a big double play to end the seventh inning.

“We’ve seen once he gets on a roll, his confidence elevates. So this was a nice little stretch here leading up to the break that he can feel good about,” manager Bob Melvin said.

Melvin offered Graveman an opportunity to pitch a complete game for the first time in his career, and to become the first A’s starter to go the distance this season. But after allowing three hits through eight, Graveman allowed back-to-back singles to Jake Marisnick and Marwin Gonzales opening the ninth, and Melvin summoned Ryan Dull to finish what Graveman started.

Despite the ninth inning hiccup, Graveman registered his fifth start in his last six in which he’s allowed two runs or less. After opening the season with a 5.36 ERA through nine starts, Graveman is 4-0 with 3.40 ERA over the following eight starts.

Dull nearly induced a double play ground ball off the bat of Jose Altuve, but the speedy baserunner beat the turn, allowing Marisnick to score from the third. Two batters later, Valbuena was at it again with an RBI single that made it 3-2. But Dull recovered, striking out Carlos Gomez to end the game.

Altuve’s fielder’s choice ended Dull’s incredible streak of stranding 36 consecutive inherited baserunners, a record for relievers as far back as the record keepers can measure, but the final result was Dull’s first ever save, quite a feat on the heels of Friday’s bullpen meltdown.

Stephen Vogt homered, doubled, and came up with an RBI single in the third to make it 3-0. That, along with some contributions from Coco Crisp (back from a one-game suspension) and Josh Reddick were all the offense the A’s needed.

In Sunday’s first half finale, Sean Manaea will start for the A’s in a matchup with Houston’s Dallas Kuechel, who has won four straight decisions.

The losing streak is over, A’s beat Reds 6-1

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Cincinnati Reds
Marcus Semien hits a two-run home run Photo Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

By Charlie O. Mallonee

The Oakland Athletics went into the game on Sunday against the Cincinnati Reds needing a win in the worst way. Losers of seven consecutive games, the A’s were in danger of going 0-8 on an eight game road trip. The psychological damage to the team by going winless on the road trip could have devastating effects for the rest of the season.

Not only did the A’s have to battle a losing streak, they had to battle the weather. The Midwestern summer has come early and it was 89-degrees with 55-percent humidity at game time. That made it feel like the temperature was 96-degrees. The Athletics are not used to playing in those conditions.

The A’s found their power and used the long ball with men on base to take an early lead that they never relinquished but only added to as the game progressed. Oakland had to pitch by committee due to the weather and because they were playing an Inter-league game in a National League park where the pitchers had to bat. They played the game like a team that knew they had to win the game.

In the batter’s box

Marcus Semien started off the scoring for the A’s in the top of the second inning when he hit a 3-1 pitch from John Lamb over the left field wall with Billy Butler on base to give Oakland a 2-0 lead. It was Semien’s 12th home run of the season. He finished the day going 2-for-4 with two RBI and one run scored.

The A’s scored two more runs in the second inning when Jake Smolinski hit his second home run of the year off Lamb with Josh Phegley on base. Smolinski’s home run gave the A’s a 4-0 lead at the time.

Danny Valencia joined the home run derby when he hit a solo shot into the left field seats in the top of the eighth inning off reliever A.J. Morris to give the A’s a 5-1 lead.

The A’s manufactured a run in the top of the ninth when Khris Davis hit a line drive single to center that allowed Coco Crisp to score the sixth run from second base.

Khris Davis had a 2-for-5 game with the insurance RBI.

Billy Butler continued to be productive at the plate going 3-for-3 with a run scored. The A’s have been waiting all season for Butler to catch fire.

Jed Lowrie stayed hot with the bat going 3-for-5 in the game. Lowrie’s average now stands at .303.

The A’s scored six runs on 15 hits with eight runners left on base.

The Reds only run came in the bottom of the second inning when outfielder Steve Selsky scored off catcher Ramon Cabrera’s double to left field. Kendall Graveman was on the mound for the A’s.

The Reds scored one run on seven hits and left six men on base despite the A’s having to use five different pitchers in the game.

On the Mound

Kendall Graveman started the game for Oakland on Sunday. Graveman entered the game with a 2-6 record and had really been struggling in last several starts. Graveman pitched well but succumbed to the weather very quickly. Graveman pitched to one batter in the fifth inning but had to come out of the game. He worked 4.0 innings giving up one run (earned) on seven hits while striking out five and walking two batters. Because Graveman did not work five innings it was up to the official scorer to assign the win and Graveman was given a no decision for his 4-plus innings of work.

Fernando Rodriguez came on in the top of the fifth for Graveman and pitched two perfect innings of baseball in relief. For his efforts, Rodriguez was credited with his second win of the season.

John Axford, Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson each worked a perfect inning of relief for Oakland on Sunday. Axford and Doolittle were impressive as they were throwing pitches in the high 90’s. For Madson, it was his first work on the mound since his appearance in Houston seven days ago.

John Lamb (1-4, 5.14) took the loss for the Reds even though he only pitched four innings. Cincinnati used four pitchers in their losing effort.

Defense

The key on defense for the Oakland Athletics was the fact they did not commit an error in the game. Not only did they play errorless baseball, the A’s turned three double plays that all killed potential scoring opportunities for the Reds.

The Reds did not commit an error in the game.

Up next

The A’s will have no time to rest and celebrate their victory. Oakland heads back into action on Monday night as they open a four-game home series with the Western Division leading Texas Rangers. The Rangers are 8-2 in their last 10 games and have won two games in a row.

LHP Sean Manaea (2-4, 6.20) will take the mound for Oakland. The Rangers have yet to officially name their starter although speculation centers on LHP Cesar Ramos who is a long reliever and spot starter.

 

The A’s snap the Twins four-game winning streak

by Jerry Feitelberg

photo by en.wikipedia.org file photo: Oakland A’s pitcher Kendall Graveman

OAKLAND–The Oakland A’s beat the visiting Minnesota Twins 3-2 on a beautiful, sunny day at the Coliseum. Everything went right for the A’s Monday afternoon. Kendall Graveman, who has been so inconsistent this year, pitched extremely well and gave the A’s a quality start. Graveman went six innings and allowed six hits and two runs. The bullpen did its job and kept the Twins off the board to secure Graveman’s second win of the year. John Axford, Sean Doolittle, and Ryan Madson worked the seventh, eighth and ninth innings to preserve the win. The A’s offense came through with timely hitting to beat Ervin Santana. Santana owned the A’s in the past, especially when he was with the Angels, but the A’s beat him on Memorial Day. Lastly, the defense, so maligned this season, came up big time. The play of the game was Yonder Alonso robbing Joe Maurer of a hit. Maurer’s ball was a rocket that was heading to right field. Alonso dove to his right and caught the ball that prevented two runs from scoring.

Coco Crisp, leading off in the bottom of the first, homered into the right field stands. For Coco, it was the sixteenth time in his career that he had led off the with a home run. The Twins tied the game in the top of the second. Miguel Sano singled to get the rally going for the Twins. With two out, consecutive singles bu Eduardo Escobar and Juan Centeno allowed Sano to score with the tying run. In the top of the fifth, the Twins scored their second run of the game when singles by Danny Santana and Eduardo Nunez put men on at first and third with no out. Twins’ second baseman, Brian Dozier, flew out to deep right centerfield to drive in Santana. Chris Coughlan and Coco Crisp collided on the play. Coughlan held on to the ball, but it was a scary moment as both players appeared to be injured on the play. Fortunately for the A’s, neither player was hurt. The A’s tied the game at two in the bottom of the inning. Yonder Alonso led off with a single. Marcus Semien followed with a double off the wall in left-center to drive in Alonso. Semien was out trying to go third on the throw to the plate. Maurer cut the throw off and nailed Semien at third. Bob Melvin asked for a review, but the call was upheld.

The A’s scored the go-ahead run in the sixth. Jed Lowrie started the inning with a single. Stephen Vogt doubled to left to put men on at second and third with no out. Danny Valencia walked to load the bases. Khris Davis flew out to center to drive in Lowrie with the winning run. The inning ended when Billy Butler ground into a double play.

The A’s brought in John Axford to pitch in the seventh. The Twins Juan Centeno and Danny Santana singled. Eduardo Nunez laid down a sacrifice bunt that advanced the runners to second and third with one out. Axford struck out Brian Dozier on a 98 mile-an-hour fastball. Bob Melvin brought in lefty Sean Doolittle to pitch to Joe Maurer. Maurer hit a line shot just to the right of Yonder Alonso. Alonso speared the ball for the final out of the inning. Two runs would have scored. Defensive play of the day.Doolittle pitched a  strong eighth inning, striking out two and Ryan Madson closed out the game setting the Twins down in order in the ninth. A’s win the game 3-2.

Game Notes- The A’s won their third game in a row after losing six of seven to New York, Seattle and Detroit. The A’s improved to 23-29 for the year. Graveman is now 2-6. Game two of the three-game series will be played Tuesday night at 7:05 PM.