A’s score early and often in destroying the ChiSox 13-2 on Saturday

Canha
Canha and Olson celebrate on a day when the A’s score 13 runs Photo: @Athletics

by Charlie O. Mallonee

Oakland — The A’s continued their winning ways on Saturday as they won for the eighth time in their last 10 games dominating the Chicago White Sox (42-46) 13-2. Oakland put seven runs up on the board in the first inning. That was the first time the Athletics had done that since 2014 against the Astros.

The A’s sent 10 men to the plate in the bottom of the first inning. The big highlight of that inning was when Franklin Barreto hit a 1-1 pitch from Ross Detwiler over the wall in left field with two runners on base for a 3-run home run. It was his second round-tripper of the year. Bob Melvin said it was a “huge” hit that really put the Athletics on the winning path.

Chicago starting pitcher Dylan Covey lasted just 0.2-innings as he gave up six runs (all earned off just four hits. Covey walked two batters and struck out one. He threw 32 (20 strikes) pitches to the eight batters he faced. And of course, Covey (1-5) was charged with the loss.

The A’s never let up in the game. In the bottom of the fourth inning, Oakland (52-41) hit five consecutive base hits that resulted in four runs. With the score at 11-0, you could sense the competitive spirit of the White Sox had left the building.

Focus on the Athletics

Bassitt
Photo/Graphic: @Athletics
  • Chris Bassitt picked up his sixth victory of the season as he worked six scoreless innings. Bassitt allowed just four hits while walking just two and striking out six of the 24 batters he faced. This was the first time Bassitt had worked that many innings since back on June 2nd versus Houston. He wound up with a no-decision in that contest. Bob Melvin was pleased with Bassitt because he worked hard with the big lead and did not lose his focus.
  • The top four men the Oakland batting order went 9-for-16 in the game. They scored seven runs and recorded three RBI. Marcus Semien went 2-for-5 with two runs scored. Matt Chapman had a 3-for-4 day with two doubles, two runs scored and an RBI. Matt Olson was 2-for-4 with the bat while scoring three runs and adding an RBI. DH Khris Davis had a 1-for-3 game scoring two runs and driving in one run. Skipper Bob Melvin acknowledged that his top four men in the batting order are the keys to his team’s offense.
  • Blake Treinen was able to get some work in as he pitched the seventh inning. He gave up two runs off two hits. Melvin was not concerned about Treinen’s performance as it was not in the type of “high pressure” situations the reliever normally works in during games.
  • Melvin was also pleased to get Lou Trivino into the game for an inning. Trivino had not seen any game action since July 4th. He worked one scoreless inning on Saturday.
  • The A’s scored 13 runs off 13 hits and recorded 13 RBI in the game on Saturday.
  • Oakland is now 6-2 in the month of July. The A’s have won three consecutive games. They have won all three series that they played in July.
  • The A’s record is now 28-20 at home and 24-21 on the road.
  • The team is 20-15 in day games.
Barreto
Franklin Barreto celebrates after A’s win Photo: @Athletics

Chicago White Sox Notes

  • Dylan Covey’s 0.2-innings was the shortest by a ChiSox pitcher since September 21, 2017, when Carson Fulmer left after just 0.1-inning pitched due to a blister.
  • White Sox catcher Zack Collins ended an 0-for-23 hitless streak when he singled in the seventh inning. Collins had not recorded a hit since hitting a home run in his first Major League at-bat. Chicago pitchers may not be thrilled to have Collins behind the dish when they are on the mound. They have a 6.50 ERA when Collins is catching.
  • Yoan Moncada ended his career-high 14-game hitting streak (23-for-57) by going 0-for-4 in the game. He was hitting .404 during the streak.
  • Outfielder Jon Jay had a 2-for-4 game with the bat and has now reached base safely in 11 of his 12 games with the Sox.

Interesting factoid of the game

Today’s announced attendance was 22,222. For a while, it felt like that might be the total number of runs that might be scored in the game.

Up Next

In the series finale on Sunday, the White Sox will send RHP Reynaldo Lopez (4-8, 6.34) to the hill to face the Athletics LHP Brett Anderson (9-5, 3.86). Anderson was victorious in his last start in Seattle on July 5th – winning that game 5-2.

 

Mired In Mediocrity: A’s stuck at .500 after 6-3 loss to the Mariners

By Morris Phillips

OAKLAND–It’s official: the A’s lengthiest–and potentially most promising–homestand of 2019 is a dud…at least to this point.

The season as a whole? Of course, it’s to be determined, as is this home stand. But the point of determination is fast approaching. Last season at this juncture, the A’s were two games into the best finish in Major League Baseball (63 wins in the final 92 games of the season). This season to date, the A’s are coming to grips with a series loss at home to the scuffling Mariners, capped by a 6-3 loss on Sunday.

The manner of the loss–the A’s squandered 2-0 and 3-2 leads–another reminder of the team’s inability to sustain successes within a game, or over a stretch of games. As a result, the A’s (36-36) are stuck at .500 for the 16th time this season.

Individually, Sunday’s game fell on setup man Lou Trivino’s inability to navigate the eighth inning in which the Mariners struck for four runs to overcome a one-run deficit and put the game away in one fell swoop.

Trivino failed to retire any of the five batters he faced, although the biggest blow to his stint was a fly ball off the bat of Domingo Santana that right fielder Mark Canha lost in the sun for a two-base error.

The normally staunch Canha committed his first error in his last 152 game appearances.

“It was like the ball was falling faster than I could run,” Canha explained. “It was just a brutal play. Brutal.”

“I feel like it cost us the game. It put Lou in a really tough spot and I feel horrible about it.”

That set up the Mariners with runners at second and third with one out, at which point Trivino’s command issues cropped up. Designated hitter Daniel Vogelbach, a serious threat with 17 home runs, was walked on four pitches which loaded the bases. Then Kyle Seager doubled home a pair on a 1-0 pitch to give the Mariners the lead.

“I blow the lead for what seems to be the 10th time this year,” Trivino said. “It’s frustrating and Lord willing I can fight through this and come up for us.”

Bob Melvin summoned Yusmeiro Petit at that point, and he allowed a run-scoring, sacrifice fly to Tom Murphy. Dee Gordon’s RBI triple then capped the rally.

The A’s remained a season-worst 12 games behind the division-leading Astros, who lost to Toronto. More importantly, the Rangers fell in Cincinnati, which kept the A’s within 2 1/2 games of the team currently in possession of the second wild card.

Featured pitcher Tanner Anderson pitched 5 1/3 innings in relief of opener Ryan Buchter, allowing three hits and two runs. That second, impressive outing means the minor league call up will likely get a third opportunity. Khris Davis opened the day’s scoring with a two-run homer, his 15th. But those individual highlights couldn’t trump a disastrous eighth that decided it.

The A’s hoped to take full advantage of a home stretch against last-place clubs in Seattle and Baltimore, but now must turn their attention to fleecing the Orioles starting Monday.

Mike Fiers and Baltimore’s Andrew Cashner will face off in the opener at 7:07 pm.

Ranger Danger: A’s get all they can handle from Texas in 9-8 win

By Morris Phillips

What did it take for the A’s to squeeze past host Texas on Sunday and salvage a split of the two teams’ rapid fire, four-game series?

Everything they had.

The A’s saw their 8-0, fourth inning lead evaporate over the final innings, so much so they needed an afterthought, RBI single from Khris Davis in the top of the ninth inning to provide the margin of victory in a 9-8 nail biter.

“After losing the doubleheader, we were going to take a win any way we can get it,” manager Bob Melvin said. “We gave some runs back, but thank goodness we got that last out.”

Davis’ two-run homer off Rangers’ starter Drew Smyly in the third inning seemed to accomplish the intended dismissal of the Rangers, putting the A’s up 5-0 at that point. If not, the A’s three-run fourth–highlighted by Marcus Semien’s two-run double–surely did the trick, putting the A’s up 8-0.

But it didn’t. The red hot Rangers–winners of 17 of 24 coming in–wouldn’t go away.

The Rangers took advantage of the best pitching the A’s had to offer, first with a pair of runs off staff ace Frankie Montas in the fourth. Then the Rangers burned set up man Lou Trivino for three runs in the eighth, and one more off Blake Treinen in the ninth. The A’s defense didn’t help matters with a pair of errors accounting for unearned runs in the sixth and the ninth to make things dicey.

With Treinen on to nail down the last three outs, the Rangers came up with three base hits to narrow the lead to 9-7, then 9-8 when Josh Phlegley was  charged with a passed ball, allowing Nomar Mazara to race home from third. But with two on and two out, Treinen induced a fly ball out off the bat of Ronald Guzman to end in it.

“I’m glad we pulled this one out. We needed this win,” said Davis, who homered for the first time since May 13.

The four-game set took less than 48 hours to complete, and forced the teams to endure consecutive days in the grueling, North Texas sun. The Rangers pitching staff fared better than the A’s, as they got a lengthy start from Adrian Sampson on Saturday night. The A’s had to lean on all of its significant bullpen arms at least twice, which will impact their next series at the East-leading Tampa Bay Rays starting Monday.

Frustration City: A’s ejected, then dejected in 6-4 loss to the Astros in 12 innings

By Morris Phillips

OAKLAND — For the A’s, losing to the Houston Astros is inherently frustrating enough without the exhausting efforts needed for extra innings, or the itchy umpires’ hair trigger ejections.

And the mood swings associated with winning and losing streaks, not to mention all four of the squandered, solo shots, along with the other big at-bats

Sunday was the conclusion of a cautionary tale in two parts, as the A’s fell to the Astros 6-4 in 12 innings, a real tooth-and-nail battle, on the heels of the Astros’ dominating 5-1 win Saturday night, starring the ageless Justin Verlander.

And the message sent emphatically by the division-leading Astros, who were minus three of the American League’s most dynamic players?

Oakland, you’re not there yet.

“They’re running out great pitchers. They’ve got plenty of arms,” said Matt Chapman, who hit a big home run leading off the eighth inning that would ultimately send the game to extras. “We’ve definitely got our work cut out for us. They’ve had our number obviously the last couple of years. It’s their division until somebody knocks them off their reign.”

The Astros swept the series, and increased their advantage over the third place A’s to 10 1/2 games. They’ve won seven of the first eight meetings this season between the clubs, after winning 12 of 19 last season.

And the A’s haven’t exactly sat idle during all this. They’ve fought, scrapped and more often that not, come up short. On the heels of a 10-game win streak, they’ve lost five in a row, and as talented as they are, the A’s can’t seem to put it together–within a game, or for an extended stretch.

“We had the 10 in a row going and couldn’t back it up. It’s been a little bit of a roller coaster for us,” manager Bob Melvin said. “We have to find a way to be a little more consistent.”

On Sunday, a lot of good things transpired for the A’s. They got a quality outing–and a return to form–from starter Chris Bassitt. The Oakland defense took a beating from the Astros’ running game, featuring dynamic fill-in Myles Straw, who was 3 for 4, stole second  base three times and scored three times. But the A’s relievers battled, and the entire lineup came up with big at-bats.

It just wasn’t enough.

The Astros first exhausted Blake Treinen then wore down Lou Trivino in the second of his two innings providing the visitors a breakthrough in the twelfth. Straw singled, then stole second. With one out, Michael Brantley and Yuri Gurriel came up with back-to-back RBI singles to give Houston a 6-4 lead.

“I think for any power pitcher, the second inning would be tough,” Melvin said. “We use him a lot and we have to find a way to maybe use him a little bit less. When you’re that good, you want to try to stay in the game and win it.”

After Chapman’s game-tying blast in the eighth, 10 of the final 18 A’s to bat struck out.  Of the eight that didn’t succumb to strikes, none drew a walk. And the highlight at-bat–Ramon Laureano’s 11-pitch battle with Ryan Pressly–ended with the centerfielder looking at strike three with two runners aboard to conclude the eighth.

Laureano’s reaction? A swift grab and slam of his batting helmet to the Coliseum turf.

Somehow, Laureano’s act of frustration flew below the radar of home plate umpire Alan Porter. Two innings later, Stephen Piscotty struck out to end the tenth. A magic word or two later, Piscotty was tossed, and Melvin too, coming to Piscotty’s aid.

Porter also ejected Marcus Semien on Saturday, an extension of the rancor built up by Semien’s pop down the left field line that drew chalk, but was ruled foul, then held up by replay.

Curiously, neither Piscotty or Semien had ever been ejected–at any level of their careers.

That should tell you a lot,” said Piscotty of the circumstances of Porter ejecting players with no previous history on consecutive days.

The A’s get Monday off before starting a road trip in Anaheim with the Angels on Tuesday night.

A’s make it three wins in a row over the Tigers with a 4-1 victory on Saturday

Det4
Graphic/Photo: @Athletics

By Charlie O. Mallonee

The Oakland Athletics would be very happy to play the Detroit Tigers every day for the rest of the season. On Saturday afternoon in Detroit, the A’s defeated the Tigers for the 15th consecutive time. That winning streak dates back to May 6, 2017, which means Oakland has not lost a game to Detroit in over two years. That is nothing short of incredible.

The Mustached One wants to stay in Oakland

The pitcher with the handlebar mustache — Daniel Mengden — made his second start of the season for the A’s on Saturday. He made it a quality start by working seven complete innings. Mengden allowed one run (earned) off three hits. He struck out five Detroit hitters while walking just two batters.

Mengden threw 95 pitches (62 strikes) en route to his first win of the 2019 season. This outstanding performance may have earned Mengden a regular spot in the A’s starting rotation.

Lou Trivino relieved Mengden in the eighth inning and held the lead for the starter. Trivino allowed no runs and gave up just one hit.

Blake Treinen came on in the ninth inning to close it out for Oakland. He did not allow the Tigers to score and gave up just one hit. He also struck out one batter. Treinen earned his seventh save of the season.

Det3
Graphic/Photo: @Athletics

The A’s scored first and never looked back

The Athletics put the first runs up on the board in the top of the third inning when Nick Hundley hit a home run to right field with Profar on base to give his team a 2-0 lead. Ultimately, that would be all the runs Oakland would need to win the game, but they were not done scoring for the day.

In the top the fifth inning, Jurickson Profar hit his fifth double of the year to left field that drove Robbie Grossman home to score the A’s third run of the contest.

Chad Pinder put the icing on the cake in the top of the seventh inning when he hit his fifth home run of the year to left center field to give the A’s a 4-1 lead.

The Tigers scored their only run in the fourth inning when Ronny Rodriguez scored on a wild pitch thrown by Mengden.

Boyd took the loss for the Tigers

Det5
Graphic/Photo: @Tigers

Matthew Boyd made the start for Detroit and he was hung with the loss. Boyd worked 6.1-innings giving up four runs (all earned) on seven hits. He struck out eight Oakland hitters, but he also allowed two home runs.

Boyd’s record now stands at 4-4 for the season.

Season Series Finale on Sunday

The A’s and Tigers will wrap up their 2019 season series on Sunday in Detroit. Former Tigers pitcher Mike Fiers (3-3) will take the ball for the A’s while LHP Gregory Soto (0-2) gets the call to the mound for the Tigers. First pitch is scheduled for 10:10 AM Pacific Daylight Savings Time.

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

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

MIN 2
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

MIN 1
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

IMG_0519

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

IMG_0520

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

IMG_0512

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.

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

Celebration
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.

 

The winning streak continues as the A’s crush the Indians 7-2 on Saturday

IMG_4719
Canha bangs an RBI-double off the left field wall Photo: Charlie O. Mallonee

By Charlie O. Mallonee

OAKLAND, Calif. — The well-traveled veteran pitcher Edwin Jackson made his second start for the Oakland Athletics on Saturday, and he worked 6.2 innings, allowing two runs on two hits, while walking none to come away with his first victory in a Green and Gold uniform. Jackson’s teammates rewarded his efforts by coming from back from a 2-0 deficit to score seven runs off just eight hit to win their sixth consecutive game.

Neither starting pitcher allowed a hit or baserunner in the first three innings of the game. The Indians were the first to strike when they hit two home runs off Jackson in the top of the fourth inning. Francisco Lindor hit his 20th homer of the season into the right-field seats on a 1-1 count to lead off the inning. With one out, Jose Ramirez stepped up to the plate to face Jackson and jacked a 2-2 pitch over the center-field wall for his 24th round-tripper of 2018. Things were not looking good for Jackson at that moment.

Jackson settled down in the top of the fifth and he did not allow another baserunner in the remaining 1.2 innings he would pitch.

The A’s struck back in the home half of the sixth inning. Franklin Barreto led off with a double. Josh Phegley then hit his second home run of the year into the left field seats to tie the game at 2-2. Dustin Fowler followed up with a single through the hole at second. Mark Canha hit a line drive to left that hit at the top of the wall for a double that allowed the speedy Fowler to race home from first to score the A’s third run and give them the lead. Canha was thrown out trying to advance to third. Oakland took a lead 3-2 and would never trail in the game again.

Oakland would score four more times in the eighth inning to make the final score 7-2.

IMG_4854
Bob Melvin came out to congratulate and take starter Edwin Jackson out of the game Photo: Charlie O. Mallonee

Edwin Jackson (1-0) gets credit for the win. The Indians’ starter Adam Plutko (4-2) is tagged with the loss. A’s reliever Lou Trivino picked up his third save of the season.

Oakland’s record improves to 46-38, and they are now 8.5 games behind the Astros in the AL West. The Indians fall to 44-37, but maintain an 8.0 game lead over the second-place Twins.

Melvin talks about his team after the game

In the Batter’s Box

A’s

  • Dustin Fowler snapped an 0-for-9 hitless streak with his single in the bottom of the sixth inning. Hitting his fifth home run of the year in the bottom of the eighth was just icing of the cake. Fowler was the only A’s player to have multiple hits in the game.
  • Matt Olson hit his 18th home run in the home half of the eighth inning as the A’s kept adding insurance runs to their lead. He has now hit 15 of his 18 home runs off right-handed pitching.
  • Mark Canha extended his hitting streak to nine games, which is the longest streak of his career. He has also reached base safely in his last 10 games.
  • Khris Davis hit a sacrifice fly to up his RBI total to 55 for the season.
  • The A’s went 2-for-6 with runners in scoring position and left just three runners on base.

Indians

  • Francisco Lindor is on fire. In his last 19 games, he is batting .306 (23-for-75) with six home runs, five doubles, 11 RBI and 20 runs scored.
  • Since the start of the 2017 season, Jose Ramirez leads the major leagues with 136 extra base hits. He entered the game on Saturday tied for fourth in the MLB with his teammate Francisco Lindor with 44 extra base hits so far this season.
  • Jason Kipnis has now reached base safely in each of his last 13 games. In those 13 games, he is batting .312 with three homers and eight runs scored.

On the Hill

A’s

  • Edwin Jackson still has not walked a batter since joining the A’s. He worked 6.2 innings giving up two runs (earned) off two hits (both HRs). He struck out six Cleveland hitters. Jackson threw 86 pitches (52 strikes).
  • The A’s used four relief pitchers to close out the game. Ryan Butcher, Emilio Pagan, Yusmeiro Petit and Lou Trivino worked the final 2.1 innings.
  • The plan was to have Petit close it out, but he looked a bit rusty when got up on the mound. Manager Bob Melvin said that was on him for not getting him into some games earlier in the week.

Indians

IMG_4767
Terry Francona has a little chat with umpire Tony Randazzo Photo: Charlie O. Mallonee
  • Indians starter Adam Plutko looked brilliant in the opening three innings but the wheels came off in the sixth inning. He pitched 5.2 innings allowing three runs (earned) on five hits. He walked one and struck out three.
  • The Indians used five pitchers in the contest.
  • Dan Otero and Josh Tomlin really struggled in the eighth inning when the A’s sealed the game by scoring four runs on just three hits. Two walks and two home runs were the fatal flaws for the relievers.
  • A familiar face to Bay Area baseball fans came into the game to shut down the A’s in the eighth inning, former Giant George Kontos was brought in to do the job.

Up Next

The A’s will try to complete their second consecutive series sweep on Sunday when they will close out this three-game series with the Indians. The Indians will start RHP Mike Clevinger (6-3, 3.03). The A’s will counter with RHP Frankie Montas (4-1, 3.68). First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 PM PDT.