Photo credit: @Brewers
By Lewis Rubman
Milwaukee: 4 | 9 | 1 | 7 LOB
Oakland: 2 | 7 | 1 | 8 LOB
OAKLAND — Milwaukee’s newly acquired right-hander Jordan Lyles brought an unimpressive 5-7, 5.36 ERA record to the mound at the Coliseum tonight. Even though those dismal numbers, compiled while he still was toiling for Pittsburgh, were in line with his lifetime mark of 36-59, 5.29 ERA, they don’t give an idea of how badly he’d been struggling before he was dealt to the Brewers. He had gone 0-5, 10.00 ERA in his last five contests and 4-7, 6.06 ERA in his last 15. He features a slightly below average four-seam fast ball and a knuckle curve, but he has a few other pitches in his repertory. He threw a lot of classical curve balls tonight.
Oakland countered with Brett Anderson (9-8, 4.05 ERA), who recently has pitched effectively for the first four innings or so, but has run into trouble after that.
He didn’t start effectively tonight, allowing lead-off hitter Lorenzo Cain his eighth home run of the season, a line drive to left that came on the second pitch of the game. In spite of a one out single to right by Ryan Braun, the A’s lefty avoided further damage by inducing clean-up batter Yasmani Grandal to bounce into a 4-6-3 double play.
Anderson allowed another run in the third frame, giving up a single to Orlando Arcia, followed by Christian Yellich’s double to right, which extended the Brewers’ left fielder’s hitting streak to 18 consecutive games and drove in his teammate.
The A’s got one run back in their half of the inning when Marcus Semien led off with a double, and two batters later, Matt Chapman, who has been struggling at the plate, drove him in with a sac fly to right.
But Anderson coughed up that run in the top of the fourth. Yasmani Grandal led off with a single to left, and Keston Hiura drove him in with a double to deep left center. Once again, Anderson snuffed out the rally, but by now, the A’s were trailing 3-1.
Oakland came close to narrowing the gap in the bottom of the fifth, and Semien again was instrumental. He drew a two-out walk and advanced to third when Lyle’s pick off attempt ended up deep in the right field bullpen. But Martini’s fly to right closed out the frame.
A leaping grab of Grandal’s line drive to the right field score board by Robbie Grossman provided excitement in the top of the sixth, but his diving stab at Mike Moustakas’ sinking liner to right center got past him for a double. Anderson got out of the resulting jam by retiring Manny Piña on a fly to Canha in center.
Lyles didn’t come out for the bottom of the sixth. His line for five innings’ work was 94 pitches, 64 of which were strikes, one run earned, three hits, two walks, and four bases on balls. His replacement, Matt Albers, surrendered a one out double to Olson before getting Davis on a hard hit line drive to Cain in center and a full count strike out of Mark Canha.
Albers had two strikeouts to go with the one hit he allowed in his inning of work before giving way to Jeremy Jeffress, who started the home half of the seventh for the Brewers. With one out, Chris Herrmann drove a slicing liner into the left field corner for a two bagger. Jurickson Profar pinch hit for Barreto and spanked a leg double to right center to narrow the visitors’ lead to one run at 3-2. But Semien struck out, and Nick Martini flied out to left to end the comeback.
After seven innings of work, in which he gave up three runs, all earned, on eight hits, one a home run, struck out three, and didn’t walk anyone, Anderson’s task was completed. He had thrown 95 pitches, 64 of them strikes, a record almost identical to Lyles’, and was replaced on the mound by Lou Trivino, still struggling, in spite of his good performance last Sunday against Texas, to regain the dominance he showed last season.
Dominant he wasn’t, giving up a double to Braun and walks to Hiura and Mustakas before unloading a wild pitch to Manny Piña that let in Ben Gamel, running for Braun, from third, and then refilling the bases by walking Piña. Trivino gave way to Wei-Chung Wang, off of whom Eric Thames launched a deep fly that Canha tracked down spectacularly on the warning track in right center field.
Junior Guerra, who entered the fray to start the bottom of the eighth, allowed only a walk to Olson.
Joakim Soria set Milwaukee down 1, 2, 3 in the ninth.
Josh Hader, last night’s losing pitcher, relieved Guerra for the ninth inning, hoping to redeem himself. He did, allowing only a single to Profar.
Lyles got the win. He’s now 6-7 with an ERA of 5.15. Anderson was tagged with the loss. His record stands at 9-7, 4.04 ERA. Hader was credited with his 24th save.
Before the game, the Athletics acquired right handed pitcher Tanner Roak from Cincinnati in exchange for outfielder Jameson Hannah, who had been with Stockton, and an undisclosed amount of cash. They also designated pitcher Andrew Triggs for assignment and placed Ramón Laureano and Josh Phegley on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to July 29. The team recalled Nick Martini and Beau Taylor from Las Vegas to replace them and out-righted pitcher Brian Schlitter to the Aviators.
The Oakland bullpen continues to give reason for concern, although Blake Treinan’s performance last night was encouraging. Also troubling is Matt Chapman’s current slump at the plate. He now is two for 27, including 12 strikeouts, in his last seven games. His fielding, however, remains brilliant. Losing speedy, hard throwing, and hard hitting Laureano for at least 10 days to what is called a right lower leg stress reaction, comes at a particularly unfortunate time.
The A’s now have a won-lost record of 61-48, eight games behind Houston for the division lead. They are a half a game behind Tampa Bay for the second wild card spot and 2 1/2 games behind Cleveland for the first wild card berth.
Right-handers Chase Anderson (5-2, 3.89 ERA) and Homer Bailey (9-7, 3.53 ERA overall and 2-1, 8.59 ERA for Oakland) will be on the mound for the Brewers and A’s, respectively, tomorrow afternoon. That’s when the dog days of August begin. By month’s end, we should have a better fix on who the top dog will be.