New York (NL) (96-57). 4. 9. 0
Oakland (56-96). 10 14. 0
Saturday, September 24, 2022
Oakland A’s Seth Brown rounds the bases after hitting a solo shot against New York Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom in the bottom of the third inning at the Oakland Coliseum on Sat Sep 24, 2022 (AP News photo)
By Lewis Rubman
OAKLAND–Ken Waldichuk is not a household name. He came to the Athletics at this year’s trade along with Luis Medina, JP Sears, and Cooper Bowman in the deal that sent Frankie Montás and Lou Trivino to the Bronx.
A fifth round choice of the Yankees in the 2019 draft, he entered today’s matinee at 0-2, 7.13 in the bigs and was 6-4, 2.84 in his 2022 minor league appearances, all as a starter. Waldichuk is hoping to pitch well enough to ensure himself a permanent spot on the A’s 2023 roster.
The green and gold’s rookie left hander’s performance in the Athletics’ stunning 10-4 triumph over the visiting New York Mets wasn’t outstanding, but he stuck around long enough to earn the win hurling five frames and yielding four runs, all earned, on five hits, two of which went yard, and notching four Ks. He didn’t walk anyone but did hit two batters, which isn’t unusual for pitchers facing the Mets. His ERA crept up to 7.15.
Waldichuk’s mound opponent, Jacob DeGrom also is a candidate for a roster spot … in Cooperstown. DeGrom is primarily a fastball and slider pitcher who uses his change and curve effectively.
He brought a lifetime record of 82-55, 2.49 to the game today and was 5-2, 2.32 for the season. The 34 year old right hander had been on the injured list w for almost 13 months after damaging his elbow. He was reinstated to the active list on August 2.
DeGrom wasn’t in Hall of Fame form this afternoon, allowing the A’s to score early and often. He lasted only four innings but managed to throw 80 pitches in the short stint. 30 of them were balls. He gave up five runs, all earned, on six hits, including a home run.
DeGrom struck out five and walked four Athletics. He left trailing 5-4, and was tagged with the loss, giving him a season’s record of 5-3, 2.93.
Before the game began, Oakland made room for Ernie Clement, whom they acquired from Cleveland yesterday, by designating Sheldon Neuse for assignment.
The visitors went ahead in their first turn at bat, urged on by loud and frequent cheers of “Let’s Go, Mets,” and “Pete A-LON-SO!). James McNeil led off with a solid single to left and moved to third when Mark Canha dropped a single into center field.
Francisco Lindor sent a liner to Tony Kemp in left for the Mets’ first out but also their first tally, McNeill crossing the plate on the sacrifice.
Pete Alsono then whacked a 94 mph four seamer into the stairway above the 367 foot marker in left field for his 38th home run and 122nd, 123rd, and 124th RBI of the year.
That three run lead looked pretty formidable when the A’s came up in their half of the first and Tony Kemp grounded out to first. But Vimael Machín singled to left, and Seth Brown walked to load the bases.
Dermís García then sent a liner to left that looked like it would end up as a sacrifice fly until McNeil stumbled and it became a two run double that put the potential tying run on third. Conner Capel’s ground out to second brought that run in, and Shea Langeliers put the home team ahead 4-3 with a double to left.
One out into the second, Nick Vientos took advantage of the hot Coliseum air to tie the score at four with a 394 homer into the right field seats.
It looked as if DeGrom had found his groove after he set the top of the A’s lineup down in order inthe second, but Seth Brown sent his first offering of the home third just over the low center field fence to put Oakland ahead once more, this time 5-4.
The A’s threatened again in the fourth, putting runners on second and third on a walk to Machín and Murphy’s down the line double to left with two out. Brown hit a vicious liner to the right side that Alonso captured at first with an heroic dive to his right.
Trevor Williams replaced DeGrom to start the fifth and quickly surrendered Oakland’s sixth run on a one out solo round tripper to right by Capel, who made a magnificent catch of Alonso’s foul to right in the next inning. That was the inning in which Austin Pruitt took over from Waldichuk. It ended with a sterling grab of another foul on the opposite side of the diamond by Machín.
Joely Rodríguez replaced Wiliams to start the bottom of the sixth and left four batters later, having gotten two outs but also having surrendered a run on singles to Machín and Brown, interspersed by a ground out by Murphy that advanced Machín to second. Tyler McGill left the bullpen to get the final out with Oakland now ahead 7-4.
It was Adam Ottovino who tried to halt the A’s advance after the seventh inning stretch. He almost pulled it off. Capel led off with a dying quail that popped out of a diving Ruf’s glove when he jarred his arm against the outfield grass, resulting in a triple. Ottovino almost stranded Capel at third, but Allen smacked a single to right, and it was 8-4 Oakland.
It was time for the Athletics’ setup man, AJ Puk, to strut his stuff in the eighth. McNeil sent his first pitch into short center field, where Cristián Pache now was playing. He seemed to lose the ball in the sun, and it fell to earth for a single. In spite of another single, this one to Lindor, Puk and the A’s escaped from the inning unscathed.
Trevor May ws the next Met on the mound, and he had a rough eighth inning. Machín drew a base on balls. After Murphy flew out, Brown lined a double to right, and García walked to load the bases. Capel lined a single to right to bring in two runs and put the Athletics´score into double digits. Ruf’s defense looked dicey on both of the balls hit to him.
Tyler Cyr sealed the Oakland victory with a scoreless ninth, in which he issued a pair of two out walks. A beautiful horizontal grab of Canha’s left field bound liner by shortstop Nick Allen ended the metropolitan threat.
Ironically, Tony Kemp, who had been among the A’s few bright spots at the plate, was the only starter not to get at least one hit, going 0-5. He more than made up for this with his outstanding defense work, most notably at second base, where he was moved in the top of the seventh after playing six frames in left.
Will another HOF candidate bite the dust tomorrow afternoon? We’ll see when, at 1:07, Matt Scherzer (10-4, 2.15) goes against another relative newcomer, JP Sears (6-2, 3.58)