Minnesota Twins’ Gary Sanchez, bottom left, is congratulated by third base coach Tommy Watkins after hitting a home run off of Oakland Athletics pitcher Domingo Acevedo, rear at the Oakland Coliseum on Mon May 16, 2022 (AP News photo)
Minnesota. 3. 8. 0
Oakland. 1. 4. 0
Monday May 16, 2022
By Lewis Rubman
OAKLAND–May has not been a merry month for the Oakland A’s (15-23). Their won-lost record since April 30 was 5-7 going into tonight’s game against the Minnesota Twins (21-15), bad enough for the hometown team to bring up the rear in the American League’s western division at 15-22.
Their hitting has been so bad that this is what the game notes distributed this afternoon led off its section entitled “Offense:” “The A’s had three sacrifice hits yesterday, which was just their second game with three sacrifice bunts over the last 21 years (also Aug. 3, 2013 vs. Texas)…have seven sacrifice hits for the season, which is tied for the most in the American League….” That was the good news.
Oakland’s team batting average after Monday’s debacle stood at .199. Sabrmetrics has taught us that there are better gauges of offensive strength than the BA, but that’s still a pretty distressing statistic.
Meanwhile, their opponents from the Twin Cities came to town leading the AL Central at 20-15. Not earth shatteringly good but not too shabby either.
The A’s chose a rookie southpaw for their starter Zach Logue, at 2-1,1.35, owed his one loss to the Twinkies, having thrown 90 pitches against them on May 6, his first major league start. He lasted five innings and allowed two runs, both earned, on five hits and two walks. Unfortunately, two of those hits went the distance.
The 26 year old native of Mason, Ohio, was acquired from the Blue Jays in March and assigned to Las Vegas, joining the A’s on the day of his debut. With the Aviators, he went 0-0,5.63. He took the loss tonight.
His right handed opponent for the Twins had a tad more experience. This was his 222nd start in the show. (As WC Fields complimented May West in “My Little Chickadee,” “What symmetrical digits!). At game time, he had hurled 1276-2/3 innings for five teams in a major league career that dates back to 2006, in which he twice was named to the American League all-star team.
Sliders and four seamers, in that order, are the pitches he throws most frequently. They average 88.8 and 93.2 mph, respectively. He also uses a changeup that averages 87.1 mph and a curve. He uses those last two tools a little less than 11% of the time, combined.
The Twins drew first blood in the top of the third following a leadoff double to center by Royce Lewis. Just when it looked as if Logue would escape unscathed, Polanco lined a two out single to center, driving in Lewis
An over eager Christian Pache overthrew Murphy at home, and Polanco took second on the throw. No error was charged to the A’s centerfielder, but a more judicious return of Polanco’s hit would have been cut off before he could advance.
No harm was done, however; Luis Barrera corralled Kyle Garlick’s fly at the left center field wall to retire the side. Nonetheless, Oakland was down 1-0, and with the A’s hitting in the state it’s been in, that was an unpleasant situation for the East Bay crew to find itself in.
But they came back to tie it up in the bottom half of the frame. With Seth Brown, who walked, on first with two down, Elvis Andrus, whose bat has started to come alive recently, split the distance between left and center field for a run producing two bagger. It was his fourth RBI of the season and raised his BA to .224.
The Twins broke the tie in their next turn at bat. Logue walked Lewis, and number nine batter Nick Gordon sacrificed him to second. The gambit paid off; Byron Buxton singled Lewis home.
When Logue threw four balls to Polanco for his second walk of the inning (and the game), putting runners on first and second with one out, manager Mark Kotsay yanked him in favor of Domingo Acevedo.
Twins manager Rocco Baldelli responded by having left handed Luis Arraez pinch hit for Garlick. Acevedo got the next two men out, limiting the damage to a single run.
Logue had toiled 4-1/3 innings and allowed two runs, both earned on five hits and two walks. He struck out three, having thrown 82 pitches, 46 of them strikes.
Archer didn’t make it as far into the game as Logue had. The veteran was removed after four full innings, too soon to be credited with the win. He surrendered one run, it was earned, two hits and a walk.
He K’d two Athletics and threw 62 pitches, 37 for strikes. Yennier Cano took his place on the mound and was credited, in a scorer’s decision, with the win. His record now stands at 1-0, and he lowered his ERA from 11.57 to 6.23.
Acevedo coughed up the Twins’ third run on Gary Sánchez’a lead off blast over the Stream Your A’s sign in center field in the sixth. The Minnesota catcher’s third homer of the year traveled 433 feet and came off of a 92 mph four seam fastball.
AJ Puk, who recently has been one of the bright spots of the A’s bullpen, took over on the hill to open the top of the seventh for the hometeam. In spite of two hard hit singles and with a little help from outstanding plays by Cristian Pache, Elvis Andrus, and Seth Brown, he held the line at 3-1, Twins.
Griffin Jax entered the game for the Twin Cities after “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” Andrus greeted him with his second safety of the night, a single to right, but he was erased in a 4-6-3 double play off the bat of Barrera before Kevin Smith fanned on three pitches.
A’s reliever Lou Trivino pitched a perfect eight, yielding to A’s reliever Justin Grimm for the ninth, who gave up a walk without suffering any further damage
Tyler Duffey, trying to earn his first save of the season after failing in his two previous opportunities, set the Athletics down in order
At 6:40 tomorrow evening, the A’s James Kaprielian (0-2,4.97) will match pitches against the Twins’ Dyan Bundy (3-2,5.76) at the Oakland Coliseum first pitch 6:40 pm PDT.