Photo credit: @nbcbayarea
By Jerry Feitelberg
OAKLAND — The A’s came back from a 4-1 deficit with two out in the ninth to beat the Rays 5-4 at Oakland Coliseum on Thursday night. Thursday’s hero was A’s third baseman Matt Chapman. Chappie came to the plate with two on and two out, with the A’s trailing 4-2, and came through with his 17th home of the year. The blast sent the A’s players onto the field to congratulate Chapman, and 12,351 fans went home with smiles on their faces.
The two starters, the Rays’ Charlie Morton and A’s Frankie Montas, pitched exceptionally well. Morton baffled the A’s for 6 1/3 innings allowing just four hits and one run. Montas was better. Frankie gave the A’s eight innings, and allowed one run and four hits. It was probably the best outing of the year for Montas. It was a no-decision for both. Each team’s destiny laid in the hands of the bullpen. A’s closer Blake Treinen gave up three runs, and appeared to be the losing pitcher. The A’s offense saved him as they scored four times off Rays’ closer Diego Castillo was 7-for-7 in save opportunities this year.
The A’s drew first blood in the bottom of the fifth. The Rays’ Charlie Morton had been motoring along allowing just one hit in the first four innings of the game. With one out in the bottom of the fifth, Jurickson Profar took Morton deep over the 362-foot marker in right-center. It was Profar’s 10th of the season and the A’s led 1-0.
The lead didn’t last long as Tommy Pham blasted his 13th of the year to tie the game. Montas didn’t get rattled, and he retired the next two hitters. He has given up one run and four hits through six innings of work.
Things went south for Oakland in the top of the ninth. Ryan Christenson, filling in for Bob Melvin, elected to bring in Blake Treinen to pitch the ninth. Montas had been dominant for eight innings and had allowed but one run and four hits. His pitch count was at 93 and Christenson could have sent Frankie out to start the ninth. Christenson didn’t, and the move backfired on the A’s. Treinen, who has control issues all season, walked the first two hitters he faced. The Rays then pulled off a double steal to put men at second and third with no out. Avisail Garcia singled to drive in Tommy Pham with the Rays’ second run. Brandon Lowe stopped at third. Ji-Man Choi singled to drive in Lowe. Garcia went to third and scored on a sacrifice bunt by Willy Adames. The Rays scored three runs on two walks, two hits, three stolen bases, and a sacrifice bunt. The Rays led 4-1 midway through the ninth.
The A’s were not done. They rallied to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. The Rays’ closer committed a closer’s cardinal sin: He walked Robbie Grossman leading off. Grossman advanced to second on a wild pitch. Profar walked to put men on at first and second with one out, Beau Taylor, pinch-hitting for Josh Phegley, struck out. Marcus Semien, with his 16-game hitting streak on the line, singled to drive in Grossman with the A’s second run. Profar and Semien advanced a base when Kevin Kierman mishandled the ball for an error. Rays’ manager Kevin Cash opted to pitch to Matt Chapman. Had the Rays walked Chappie, Castillo would have had to throw to the left-handed Matt Olson. The decision to pitch to Chapman cost the Rays the game as Chapman blasted his 17th home run of the year. The A’s walked off with a 5-4 win.
Game Notes: With the win, the A’s are now 40-36. The Rays dropped their fourth in a row and are 43-32. The Rays are now 4 1/2 games behind the Yankees in the race for first place in the AL East.
Marcus Semien extended his hitting streak to 17 games with a single in his last at-bat in the ninth. Jurickson Profar and Matt Chapman homered for the A’s. Tommy Pham homered for the Rays.
Chapman’s home run was his second walk-off home run of the season and the second of his career.
Lpu Trivino was the winning pitcher. Trivino worked one third of an inning. Castillo took the loss for the Rays.
Oakland’s line score was five runs, seven hits, and no errors. Tampa Bay’s line was four runs, six hits, and one significant error.
Time of game was three hours and one minute.
Up Next: Game two of the four-game series will be played Friday night at the Coliseum.
Tanner Anderson will be making his third start for the A’s, and the Rays have not announced their starter. Game time will be at 7:07 pm.