A’s shutout Royals 1-0 in 11 innings

Photo credit: @Athletics

Kansas City: 0 | 4 | 1

Oakland: 1 | 5 | 0

By Lewis Rubman

OAKLAND — Last night’s thrilling come-from-behind win over Kansas City, starting with Olson’s astounding home run blast in the seventh and culminating in Hendrik’s electrifying revindication of Mondaly’s debacle in the ninth, nudged the A’s an inch or two further towards a play off berth. They entered this afternoon contest against the pesky Kansas City Royals two full games ahead of Tampa Bay, who lost last night to the Dodgers, for the home field advantage and two and a half games in front of Cleveland, whose elimination number from wild card competition stands at 11 with just that many games left to play. At game time Oakland had 10 to go. Any combination of Oakland wins and Cleveland losses of 11 or more in those 21 contests would put the A’s in the postseason, if only for a single encounter. After the game was over, they’d picked up a half a game on Cleveland, who now have an elimination number of 10 with 11 games remaining on their schedule.

Danny Duffy, the Royals’ starting pitcher is a reminder that Kansas City’s most recent glory days are not that far back in the team’s past; he pitched a half a dozen innings in the 2014 and 2015 World Series for them. So far this year, his record had been a mediocre 6-6, 4.55 ERA, and he had yet to throw a pitch against the A’s. The Oakland hitter with the best record against him was Robbie Grossman at six for 17 (.353). The A’s switch-hitter outfielder was not in the A’s opening lineup, probably owing to his .180 batting average against lefties this year.

Oakland’s starting pitcher, Homer Bailey, has ties to a less glorious time in Kansas City baseball history. He had gone 7-6, 4.80 ERA for the Royals this season when they dealt him to the A’s on July 14. Between then and the time the A’s took the verdant, recently rained upon field after a 28-minute delay caused by same light rain that had refreshed the playing surface, the veteran right hander had gone 6-2 with an ERA of 4.70, sometimes pitching very well, other times, not.

Looking at the starters’ records, you wouldn’t have anticipated how well they would perform. The once and future Royal hurlers traded shutout innings until they both had left the game. Their successors did the same until there were two men down in the bottom of the 11th inning.

Oakland threatened in their half of the fourth when Semien opened the frame with a two bagger to right center, but the A’s fell victim to the curse of the lead off double when Duffy struck out Chapman and Canha, with Olson’s fly out to deep right sandwiched between the two Ks.

It was Kansas City’s chance to threaten in the top of the seventh. With one out, Jorge Soler smacked a double to left for the Royals’ third hit. A strikeout and an intentional walk later, Ryan O’Hearn hit a sinking fly to left. Chad Pinder made a spectacular diving grab of the ball to preserve the tie.

Bailey finally left the game after the A’s went down in the seventh. He had pitched seven complete innings and yielded only three hits and an intentional walk. His strike out total was a personal season-high 11. 66 of his 95 pitches were strikes. His replacement was Yusmeiro Petit, making his league leading 76th appearance.

When Scott Barlow took over for Duffy to pitch the Oakland eighth, the Royals’ starter had gotten through seven innings, allowing just two hits and a walk on 103 pitches, 67 of which were strikes. He struck out six Oakland batters.

Barlow lasted until he yielded a two out walk to Chapman in the bottom of the ninth. Those two outs had come about on strikeouts of a pinch hitting Jurickson Profar, followed by another against Semien. It took left-handed sidearmer Tim Hill one pitch to retire Olson on a pop to short.

Jake Diekman, another ex-Royal, replaced Petit to pitch the 10th.

He stuck out the two men he faced. Then Cheslor Cuthbert was announced as a pinch hitter for Ryan O’Hearn, which brought in JB Wendelken to strike Cuthbert out on five pitches. Ah, the intricacies of lefty-righty match ups!

Monday night’s winning pitcher, Kevin McCarthy gave up two quick singles to Canha and Laureano but bounced back to fan Khris Davis and get Sean Murphy to get Laureano out at on a bounder up the middle that second base man Merrifield made a good catch of and flipped to short stop Mondesí for the force. It was cold comfort that Canha advanced to third because he died there when Grossman, facing the latest Royal reliever, grounded out short to first.

Wendelkin survived a hairy top of the 10th. Bubba Starling began it with a single to right. Meibris Viloria sacrificed him to second. Brian Phillips was out on a hard line drive to Canha in center. Mondesí walked to load the bases with two out. Then Wendelkin got Jorge Soler to swing and miss on a 1-2 slider.

Jesse Hahn was on the mound when the A’s came to bat in the bottom of the eleventh. Profar worked him for a walk. Semien went down swinging, but Profar swiped second on the strike out pitch, so the play was a functional sacrifice. Chapman took a called third strike. Now, with Olson at the plate, it was time for Kansas City to grant an intentional walk. Mark Canha, whose Hometown Hero t-shirt was the afternoon’s give away, sent a 1-2 offering from Hahn down the right field line for a walk off double.

The hard earned win went to Wendelken, bringing his season’s totals to 3-1, 3.66 ERA for his 1 1/3 innings of work. Hahn was saddled with the loss.

11 innings of excitement, played in three hours and seven minutes, under clear skies in warm weather. This is how a play off chase should be conducted.

The A’s have a day of rest tomorrow. I won’t; I’ll be writing a discussion of the state of the race for the postseason. The team returns to the Coliseum on Friday, where Mike Fiers (14-4, 4.09 ERA) will face Mike Minor (13-9, 3.33 ERA) and the Texas Rangers at 7:07 p.m.

Royals escape with 6-5 win in 9th inning

Photo credit: @NBCSAthletics

By Lewis Rubman

Kansas City: 6 | 11 | 0

Oakland: 5 | 10 | 1

OAKLAND–The A’s sent right-hander Tanner Roark to the fifty yard line—excuse me, the pitcher’s mound—to face the Kansas City Royals at the Coliseum this evening. Roark had pitched against them most recently on August 28, four weeks after Oakland obtained his services from Cincinnati in a trade deadline deal. In that game, he gave up four runs (all earned) in six innings of work in Kaufman Stadium. The A’s went on to lose the contest 6-4, but Roark wound up with a no-decision. He had gone 6-7, 4.24 ERA for the Reds and entered tonight 4-1, 3.40 ERA in his seven starts for the green and gold.

The Royals lost no time in jumping all over the A’s starter. Whit Merrifield led off with a single to left. The next batter, Adalberto Mondesí (AKA Raúl Mondesí, Jr.) brought him home with a ringing triple to left center. Mondesí would have come home on Jorge Soler’s fly to right if anyone other than Ramón Laureano had been playing that position. With one out, the Royals shortstop started to advance when Laureano caught Hunter Dozier’s fly, but stopped and turned back as soon as he saw the laser that Laser Ramón unleashed to Sean Murphy at the plate. Roark then struck out Alex Gordon to end the inning.

Roark’s counterpart, Glenn Sparkman, entered the game with a record of 4-11, 5.94 ERA (0-1, with four earned runs in 4 1/3 innings pitched) also had a shaky start. Marcus Semien led off with a single to center. With number two hitter Laureano at the plate, Sparkman unleashed a wild pitch that allowed Semien to advance to second. A blink of the eye later, a balk sent Semien to third. There was a brief pause in the action when Chapman popped out to second, but Olson soon ended that by slicing a double to left, driving in both runners. In spite of another wild pitch, which allowed Olson to advance to third while Canha was at bat, and a walk to Canha, the A’s had to settle for a pair of runs after Seth Brown popped out to third and Khris Davis flew out to medium deep right field.

Jefferson Profar, batting lefty (his low average, high power side) opened the home second by sending a 1-2, 94 mph four seam fastball over the left field fence only to have Alex Gordon leap over the Ring Central sign to capture the flying pellet. Sean Murphy, followed Profar’s shot with a two bagger off the left field fence. His stay at second was a brief one. Semien got the green light on an 3-0 count. He also got the same pitch that had been served to Profar, but the A’s shortstop sent this one over the fence in center, and no one in uniform caught it. Oakland now was up, 4-1 DH Jorge Soler’s 45th home run of the season, leading off the fourth, landed in the center field seats, 451 feet from home, and narrowed the A’s advantage to 4-2. Dozier followed that with a double to left, and after Roark hit Gordon with a pitch, the potential tying run was at the plate in the person of Bubba Starling. He walked on a 3-2 count, and now the tying runs were on the three bases with nobody out. And Yusmeiro Petit was warming up in the A’s bullpen. Ryan O’Hearn worked the count to 3-2 before striking out on a 92 mph two-seamer. Meibrys Viloria also went down swinging on a 3-2 offering, another two-seam, 92 mph fast ball.

The count also was 3-2 on Brett Phillips when he went to down on strikes, but Phillips didn’t swing on his 92 mph two-seam fast ball. (Roark had struck out all the three of those batters in their previous plate appearances of the night).

Roark found himself in trouble in the fifth as well. He surrendered a single to to Whit Merrifield, struck out Mondesí, and found himself with the potential tying runs in scoring position when Soler doubled to left center. Roark stayed in the game long enough to retire Dozier on a pop up to Profar and then was lifted so that the left-handed Jake Diekman could face the left handed hitting Alex Gordon. The move backfired; Gordon singled to right, driving in the two Royals baserunners. Bubba Sterling, up next, broke his bat on a grounder to Semien, whose throw to Olson looked on time to first base umpire Ryan Addition, but not to the reviewing umpires in New York, who reversed his call on appeal. The leading run now was on second in the person of Gordon. But Diekman struck out Ryan McBroom, batting for O’Hearn and remaining in the game to play first.

Roark’s final line was 4 1/3 innings pitched, four runs, all earned, on seven hits, one walk, eight strikeouts, one home run, and one hit batter. He threw 110 pitches, 67 strikes. He wouldn’t figure in the decision.

After Laureano had singled and Chapman struck out to start the A’s half of the fifth, lefty Tim Hill came in to face the A’s left-handed slugger, Matt Olson. Hill was successful, getting Olson to fly out to just short of the right field warning track. With the count 2-2 on Canha, Laureano put the possible tie breaking run in scoring position by stealing second, uncontested. But Canha grounded out to third, and the threat was dead.

Sparkman, like Roark, left with a record of 4 1/3 innings pitched, four runs (all earned) and one home run. His other figures were three walks and a strikeout, two wild pitches, and a balk. Of his 78 pitches, 40 were strikes. He, too, would not be credited or charged with a decision.

The score still was knotted at four-all when Yusmeiro Petit relieved Diekman in the top of the sixth with one out and one on to face the top of the KC order. It turned out he needed only one pitch to retire the side on an around the horn DP.

Scott Barlow was on the mound for the Royals when Profar, batting left-handed, bounced a triple off the center field fence in the bottom of the sixth. But there also were two outs, and Murphy’s nubber in front the plate ended the short-lived threat.

Petit would pitch one more frame, a 1-2-3 seventh, before giving way to Joakim Soria, who came in as Oakland’s set up man. He performed that role excellenty, getting the Royals to dance the conga (1, 2, 3, kick) in the eighth.

Olson greeted rookie reliever Gabe Speier with a majestic double off the right field wall. It was “hello, good-bye,” because Kevin McCarthy promptly relieved the reliever. Canha hit a sharp bounder to the mound, and Franklin Barreto, running for Olson, was caught between second and third. Before being put out, he prolonged the rundown long enough to allow Canha to reach second. When the count on Grossman had reached 3-0, the Royals elected to concede the fourth ball to him, putting runners on first and second with one down. Khris Davis came through with an RBI single to center, and once more the A’s were ahead. The run was charged to Speier.

Liam Hendriks came in to pitch the Kansas City ninth. That was no surprise. What were surprises were Meibrys Viloria’s game tying home run with one out, followed by Brett Phillips’ fly to the center field warning track that Laureano, now playing center, dropped for a two-base error. By this time, Merrifileld’s two-base hit, which brought in Phillips with the leading run, was almost expected. Somehow, the unusually vulnerable Hendriks avoided further trouble by closing down Kansas City on a fly to the right field warning track by Mondesí and a pop out to Murphy by Soler.

Ian Kennedy, the Royals closer, who had earned his 29th save on Thursday, came in to try for his 30th. Semien led off with a weak grounder to third that Dozier couldn’t come up with cleanly and which went for a hit. Laureano then flew out to shallow right, and Chapman went down swinging. Because Olson had been removed for a pinch runner, Chad Pinder, who was playing first in Olson’s stead, was all the stood between the A’s and a disappointing loss. He didn’t stand there long. Kennedy struck him out on a 95 mph fast ball.

McCarthy–now 4-2, 5.00 ERA–got the win, and Kennedy earned his 30th save. The usually impermeable Hendriks suffered his third loss and sixth blown safe.

Oakland now is eight games behind Houston, whose magic number to clinch the division title also is eight. The A’s, however, lead Tampa Bay by one game in the race to be home team in play-in game and are a game and a half ahead of Cleveland to reach that game. The Indians’ elimination number is 11. The A’s are one and two games ahead of the Rays and the Tribe, respectively, in the loss column.

Brett Anderson (12-9, 4.07 ERA) will go against Jorge López (4-7, 6.09 ERA) at 7:07 p.m. tomorrow evening.

Raiders beat Broncos 24-16, Gruden picks up 100th win

Photo credit: @espn

By Jeremy Kahn

OAKLAND — Despite the fact that the Oakland Raiders their biggest acquisition on Saturday, it did not damper their performance against the Denver Broncos.

Tyrell Williams was on the receiving end of a Derek Carr eight-yard touchdown pass on the Raiders initial drive of the season, as the Raiders defeated the Broncos 24-16 before a crowd of 52,359 at the Coliseum.

With the victory in the opener against a rival that goes to back to the old AFL days in 1960, it gave Raiders head coach Jon Gruden his 100th career victory.

Rookie Josh Jacobs scored his first NFL touchdown, as he scored the first of two touchdowns on the evening with 3:30 remaining in the second quarter.

That touchdown by Jacobs ended a 13 play 95 yards that last a whopping eight minutes and thirty-five seconds.

Jacobs ended up carrying the ball 23 times for 85 yards, and scoring twice, as he helped the Raiders to the season-opening victory.

Derek Carr was outstanding, as he went 22-for-26 for 259 yards and one touchdown.

Making his Broncos debut, Joe Flacco went 21-for-31 for 268 yards and one touchdown to Emmanuel Sanders with 2:15 remaining in the game.

The Broncos kicked deep, as Vic Fangio held on to all three timeouts; however, Carr found Williams for 10 yards and then Jacobs clinched the game, as he picked up the first down after a 13-yard run.

This was the first Raiders game since the Raiders released Antonio Brown per his request on Saturday morning. Brown never played a down for the Raiders in the pre-season, as he sat out most practices due to frostbite on his feet and helmet issues.

Williams was the leading receiver for the Raiders, as he caught x passes for xx yards and the initial touchdown that got the Raiders on the board.

There was a scary moment in the third quarter, as Gareon Conley was kneed in the neck area by teammate Johnathan Abram, when they attempted to tackle Royce Freeman after a 26-yard run. Abram was called for a 15-yard unnecessary roughness call.

Brandon McManus kicked three field goals for the Broncos, as he nailed two from 26 yards and one from 39 yards.

Karl Joseph was the leading tackler for the Raiders, as he picked seven tackles on the evening, while the Broncos were led by inside linebacker Josey Jewell, who led all tacklers with 14 tackles.

UP NEXT: After the huge victory over the Broncos, the Raiders will stay home and face another old AFC West rival on Sunday at 1:05 p.m., as the Kansas City Chiefs come into the Coliseum. This will be the last home game for the Raiders in Oakland until they face the Detroit Lions on November 3.

The Raiders have a home game on October 5 against the Chicago Bears; however, that game is in London, England.

A’s Wrap up Homestand With 3-1 Win Over Tigers

Photo credit: @Athletics

By Ana Kieu

Sean Manaea reminded A’s fans of his dominance in his return on Sunday at RingCentral Coliseum. Manaea allowed just one run in seven innings of work.

The A’s (84-59) defeated the Tigers (42-100) by a final of 3-1 and boarded a flight to Houston to open a four-game series against the Astros at Minute Maid Field on Monday at 5:10 p.m. PST.

The A’s got on the board first. Marcus Semien scored on a Mark Canha ground out for a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning.

The A’s plated two runs for a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning. Khris Davis doubled on a fly ball, which enabled Canha and Chad Pinder to score, respectively.

The Tigers ended the A’s chances of a potential shutout with a lone run in the top of the fifth inning. Cristin Stewart homered on a fly ball to center field for his ninth home run of the season.

With the win, Oakland went 5-1 on the six-game homestand and also managed to pick up a road win against the Tigers in the middle of it.

The A’s also celebrated Pride in Oakland in their front office and in The Town itself. This was a perfect time for the LGBTQ folks and their allies to celebrate who they are and what they stand for.

A’s defeat the Tigers 7-3 in makeup game

Photo credit: @Athletics

By Lewis Rubman

Oakland: 7 | 12 | 1

Detroit: 3 | 5 | 0

A line drive double to left center off the bat of Stephen Piscotty broke a 3-3 tie between the A’s and the Tigers in Detroit with two outs in the top of the seventh back on May 19. Matt Olson received a declared walk, and Jurickson Profar lined out to deep right field, at the foul line. (I got these facts from Baseball Reference’s invaluable website).

Liam Hendriks, who hadn’t yet become Oakland’s closer, came in to relieve Mike Fiers in the bottom of the frame. He threw four pitches (two balls, a swinging strike, and a foul) to Josh Harrison concerns about the weather caused umpire Tim Timmons to halt play. A hard rain began to fall, and what began as a rain delay became a suspended games before the Tigers had a chance could further reply to the A’s recent offensive. Since the teams’ schedules prevented resuming play in Detroit, the remainder of the game was played this afternoon, with the Tigers the home team in Ring Central Coliseum, as a prelude to this evening’s scheduled contest. The inherited line up for Oakland was Semien (SS), Chapman (3B), Pinder (LF), Davis (DH), Piscotty (RF), Olson (1B), Profar (2B), Laureano (CF), and Grossman (pinch hitting for Phegley).

The alignment Detroit brought west with them consisted of Niko Goodrum (1B), Dawel Lugo (3B), Nicolás Castellano (RF), Miguel Cabrera (DH), Ronny Rodríguez (SS), Christin Stewart (1B), Josh Harrison (2B), Grayson Greiner (C), and JaCoby Jones (CF). Gregory Soto had started, followed by Buck Farmer, Daniel Stumpf, Zach Reininger, and Victor Alcántara.

These changes were made when play resumed:

For Oakland: Pinder moved to right, Sheldon Neuse at second base replaced Piscotty, Profar moved from second to left, Canha moved from left to center; and Sean Murphy replaced Phegley as catcher.

For Detroit: Victor Reyes at first base replaced Goodllrum, Harold Castro in right replaced, Jordy Mercer at second replaced Harrison, Jeimer Candelario in center replaced Jones, and, finally, David McKay relieved Alcántara on the mound.

Play resumed at 5:18 p.m., and Hendrix set the Tigers down in order on two strike outs, interspersed by Greiner’s fly to the warning track in center field. McKay, in turn, got the A’s down 1,2,3, but the only fair ball hit against him was a grounder to short.

Detroit mounted a mini threat on Lugo’s one-out double to left center against Jake Diekman, who had pitched for Kansas City on May 19 and replaced Hendriks to start the home, i.e. Detroit, eighth. In the day by day chronicles, Diekman now has pitched for two teams in one day.

Matt Chapman led off the top of the ninth with a single to left and, two pitches later, trotted home in front of Pinder, who had blasted a 94 mph slider into the seats beyond right field.

J.B. Wendelken, freshly called up from Las Vegas, closed out the game for the A’s. He received help from a stellar play by Semien on Rodríguez’s grounder to the left of second base. He got the last two outs on his own, striking out Stewart and Mercer on curve balls.

The scheduled game will start at 7:07 p.m. The sword of Damocles has been lifted from above the A’s head.

Puk gets first MLB win, A’s defeat Angels 10-6

Photo credit: @Athletics

By Lewis Rubman

Los Angeles (AL): 6 | 11 | 0
Oakland: 10 | 10 | 0

OAKLAND — Once again, it was youth versus experience when the Angels sent 21 year old rookie José Suárez (2-5, 6.71 ERA), their number one pitching prospect according to Baseball America, to follow opener Luke Bard (1-2, 5.09 ERA) at just under 20, no grey beard himself, in this afternoon’s game. The A’s lefty Brett Anderson (11-9, 4.04 ERA), whose major league tenure dates back to 2009, provided the experience. The A’s were looking for a sweep in this third and concluding episode of the last series in the Coliseum for this year between the two teams.

The Angels already had a run lead when Bard first toed the rubber. With one out in the top of the opening frame, Marcus Semien threw Mike Trout out at first. Minor league call-up umpire Alex Tosi ruled him safe. Although replay seemed to show that the throw had beaten Trout to the bag, the A’s decided not to challenge the call. Albert Pujols followed with a double play ball to Matt Chapman, which the usually sure handed third base man bobbled. It went as a hit. Brian Goodwin also hit a double play ball, but after Olson’s throw to Semien got Goodwin out at second, Anderson didn’t get his foot on the base in time for Semien’s relay to consummate the twin killing at first. Justin Upton then banged a double off the State Farm sign in right center field to score the two remaining baserunners. Finally, Anderson struck out Kole Calhoun to stop the ugliness.

In the bottom half of the inning, Tosi made another controversial call. With Semien on base after having been hit by a pitch and one out, due to Chapman having struck out, Matt Olson hit a hard drive wide of first. Pujols made a good play on it and threw to Bard, covering. Olson made the mistake of sliding head first into the bag, and the young ump called him out, with Semien moving up to third on the play. Oakland challenged, but New York confirmed, the call. Mark Canha drove him in with a single to center on the next pitch. And that’s how Los Angeles was leading when Súarez entered the game as scheduled in the bottom of the second.

The Halos combined little ball and big ball to pad their lead in the third. David Fletcher led off with a bunt single to third. On the next pitch, Trout blasted a 90 mph sinker 455 feet into the upper deck in center field for this 45th homer run and 103rd and 104th RBI of the season.

After five innings of work, Anderson had surrendered five runs, all of them earned, although those he gave up in the first were undeserved. He allowed nine hits, including Trout’s homer in the third, and didn’t walk anyone. For a long while, it looked like he’d take the loss, but things turned out differently.

While Anderson was shaky, allowing a fifth Los Angeles tally in fifth and escaping only by a pick off-caught stealling of Upton, who had driven in the run, Súarez was in command. He set down 11 of the first 14 Athletics he faced before he allowed his first extra base hit, a rule book double to Semien with two down in the sixth.

Until then he had surrendered only two walks and a single.

After Chapman went down swinging to strand Semien at second, ending the fifth, A.J. Puk relieved Anderson, and the game that had been a youthful challenge to baseball middle age became a show case of young talent. Puk looked good. He got the side down in order in the sixth, striking out Calhoun and Rengifo and getting Simmons out on a good play by Chapman. Best of all, given his tendency towards wildness, the A’s rookie threw only two balls in that 11 pitch inning.

Súarez appeared to weaken in the A’s sixth. Olson opened it with a double to right. He moved on to third after Calhoun made an outstanding diving grab on Canha’s drlve to right and stayed there out of respect for Trout’s arm when Profar flied out to medium deep center. Trout’s throw home was off-line, but it was the right decision. Then Davis lined out to short.

Puk’s beautiful sixth was offset in the next inning by Kevan Smith’s lead off homer to left on an 0-2, 90 mph slider. It was his third round tripper of the year and his first hit after an 0 for 30 drought and allowed the Angels to go into the seventh inning break with a 6-1 lead.

The one-two punch of a Sheldon Neuse single and a 390 foot dinger to left by Josh Phegley broke the spell and ended Súarez’s day. He had thrown 5 1/3 innings of five-hit ball, giving up two runs, both earned, on five five hits, and two walks, while striking out two. He ceded his mound duties to Ty Buttrey, who loaded the bases on a single to Semien and walks to the Matts Brother, Chapman and Olson. He walked Canha, too. The score now was 6-4, and Buttrey was in the locker room, having yielded to Miguel del Pozo, who walked Profar on a full count, bringing the A’s to within a run of the Angels.

Luis García took over for del Pozo and got to a full count on Khris Davis, who sent a weak ground to short for the second out of the inning, but, more important, the sixth and tying run of the game for Oakland. This brought Adalaberto Mejía to the mound, while Robbie Grossman waited in the on deck circle to pinch-hit for Pinder. Batting from his strong side, the left, Grossman drove Mejia’s first pitch off the center field fence for a bases clearing two run triple, which gave Oakland its first lead of the afternoon, 8-6.

Ryan Buchter came on for the A’s to start the Angel’s eight. After fanning Goodwin and Upton, he allowed a single to Calhoun and gave way to Lou Trivino, who got Simmons to ground out on highway 523, Chapman to Olson.

Noé Ramírez was brought in to pitch the eighth and keep the Angels in reach of the A’s. He got his first man, Phegley, on a grounder in the shift to Rengifo. But Semien’s hard shot down the third base line got past Fletcher for a double. Ramírez retired Chapman on a pop foul to first and then elected to walk Olson. He followed that with an 88 mph fastball that hit Canha in the arm. Profar then lifted a fly to center field that Trout lost in the sun. The Texas League double plated Semien and gave Profar his third RBI of the day and gave Oakland a 10-6 lead.

Jake Diekman pitched the Angels ninth and set them down in order.

Puk got the win, his first major league decision. The loss went to Butry, which dropped his record to 6-7-2, 4.12 ERA.

The win puts Oakland 8 1/2 games behind Houston in the AL West. More realistically, it puts them ahead of Tampa Bay and Cleveland in the wild card race. The lead over the Rays is a mere percentage point, but it’s nine points and a full game over Cleveland. Tampa Bay has four games left to play against Boston and two against the Yankees. Cleveland still has to play three games on the road against both Minnesota and Washington. Oakland will have to take on the Astros four more times before the season ends. None of the three wild card contenders has it easy, but it’s my guess that the schedule slightly favors the A’s, who have won their season series against both the Rays and the Indians, meaning a tie goes in favor the A’s.

Tomorrow’s night’s game against the Tigers will be proceeded by the completion of the May 19th contest at Detroit, which was suspended because of rain in the middle of the seventh inning. Detroit will take the field as the home team, trailing Oakland, 5-3. After that, it will be Spencer Turnbull (3-14, 4.45 ERA) on the mound for Detroit and Homer Bailey (7-6, 4.80 ERA with Kansas City; 5-2, 5.26 ERA with Oakland; 12-8, 4.96 ERA overall) for the A’s.

A’s edge the Angels 7-5; Fiers wasn’t dominate but Oakland is in the win column

Photo credit: @Athletics

By Lewis Rubman

Los Angeles (AL): 5 | 8 | 2

Oakland: 7 | 6 | 0

The A’s recent 4-3 whirlwind trip to Kansas City and New York was successful, but only if you define success as the avoidance of a major disaster. The team is by no means out of the running for the postseason, but the outlook is, if not bleak, cloudy. Fangraphs estimates the A’s chances of reaching the wild card play-in game at 44.5%, and the same source gives them the same chance of winning that game.

That’s encouraging, but it doesn’t solve Oakland’s problems, the most glaring of which is their unreliable bullpen. Joakim Soria frequently can be counted on to yield a run an inning, which should disqualify him as candidate to enter close games in late innings. Yusmeiro Petit is having a pretty good season, but when he doesn’t have it, he’s subject to melt downs. Blake Treinen has done more than just revert to the norm after last year’s magnificent run of saves; he seems—I take no pleasure in saying this—a liability. Meanwhile, Lou Trivino keeps tantalizing A’s fans with the hope that he’s finally turned the corner and is escaping his dream turned nightmare.

This leads to the paradox that the role of the A’s starter is both more and less significant than it normally would be. He needs to pitch deep in the game, but, however well he does, it could all be wiped out if he doesn’t get the offensive and relief support he needs. The A’s lineup frequently provides the former, and, until this past weekend, Liam Hendriks was a regular source of the latter, as were the middle relievers and set up men when they were on their A or even B+ game.

Sean Manea’s return—and it was an unqualified success—enabled Oakland to push Mike Fiers’ next start back a game, thereby giving their ace, tonight’starter at the Coliseum, a day’s rest more than his regular turn and the day off after New York would otherwise have provided. Rhythms being as important as they are to the pitchers’ craft, added rest doesn’t always help them when they get back to business, but those respites usually pay off over time, especially when the race to make the playoffs becomes pressing.

Fiers was by no means dominating in tonight’s contest. He left after five innings of work, in which he gave up four runs, all of them earned, on seven hits, two of which were home runs, and two walks. He struck out two and threw 83 pitches, 51 of which were strikes.

The A’s have taken other steps to bolster their chances of success. Seth Brown already has contributed both offensively and defensively, and the injury-prone Sean Murphy is a fairly sure bet to do so as well, especially if he can stay healthy. Right-handed starter Paul Blackburn is up from Vegas, where he went 11-3, 4.34 ERA (.327 in his last 11 games) in what decidedly is not a pitcher friendly league or home ball park. Susan Slusser has reported that he’s expected to be used in long relief. We’re still waiting for the return of Ramón Laureano and Jesús Luzardo, not to mention the homecoming (on the road) of suspended Frankie Montás for the six last games of the regular season. He could give the team one start, several relief innings, or a combination both activities.

But enough about the A’s. The Angels sent Jaime Barría, who at 4-7, 6.10 ERA, had gotten into the sixth inning only once in his 11 starts for the Halos this season, to the mound. The right hander had a horrendous ERA of 9.68 over 48 1/3 innings in Salt Lake this season, but managed to strike out 44 batters while with the Angels’ Triple-A affiliate. Tonight, he lasted four frames, in which he surrendered five runs, four of the earned, on five hits and two walks. He struck out five, and 44 of his 74  pitches were strikes.

Mike Trout greeted Fiers rudely with a one out home run to left on the fifth pitch of the game. It came off an 87 mph fast ball. The pitch’s velocity put to rest the suspicion that Fiers might be over rested. But he settled down to strike out two-way Shohei Ohtani and soon to be Cooperstown bound Albert Pujols to fly out to medium deep center.

The Angels scored again against Fiers in the top of the second. Justin Upton followed a four pitch walk to Kole Calhoun with a single to left. Andrelton Simmons also singled to left, scoring Calhoun. Upton tried to advance to third on Simmons’ single, but Seth Brown cut him down with a bullet of a throw to Matt Chapman. In spite of a steal of second by Simmons, Fiers escaped further damage by fanning Luis Rengifo and retiring ex A’s farmhand Max Stassi, who hit a soft liner to Profar at second. Oakland was down, 2-0 after one and a half innings of play.

Matt Olson doubled to center to lead off the Oakland second. He held his base when Mark Canha grounded out to short but scored on Brown’s ringing triple to right. Khris Davis hit a bouncer to Simmons at short, and it looked like he might try to throw Brown out at home. But he changed his mind at the last moment and threw to first, giving KD an RBI and the A’s a temporary tie.

In their half of the third, the A’s got two men in scoring position and Simmons two errors when, with Semien on first with a single, the Angels’ shortstop couldn’t handle Robbie Grossman’s hard grounder behind second and then made an uncontrolled backhand flip towards Fletcher, but over his head. Chapman then sent an 84 mph slider over the head of the leaping Trout in center and over the fence behind him.

The A’s three-run advantage was, however, short lived. One pitch into the fourth and Pujols launched his 21st round tripper of 2019, sending an 89 mph two-seamer into the left field bleachers, and the lead had shrunk to two.

The Angels’ half of the fifth started off well for the A’s. But after Stassi’s fly to center sent Canha to the warning track for the second out, Fletcher singled, and Trout walked, setting the stage for Ohtani’s slicing double to left, whcih drove in Fletcher and advanced Trout to to third. Pujol’s grounder to Semien stopped the bleeding and left Oakland ahead 5-4 at the half-way point.

Southpaw Adalberto Mejía took over for Barría to start the bottom of the fifth and set Grossman, Chapman, and Olson down in order.

The problematic Blake Treinen started the sixth for the A’s. He struck out Kole Calhoun and then reversed course by allowing a game-tying home run to Upton, his 11th, to left. By now, Ryan Buchter was up and throwing in the A’s bullpen for the second time in the game. After Treinen walked Simmons and Rengifo, Buchter came in to try to limit the damage. Brad Ausmus countered by calling on Brian Goodwin to hit for Stassi. Buchter got him on a called third strike, a 92 mph four-seamer, and gave way to Yusmeiro Petit. He got Fletcher to pop out to Olson near the mound. Fiers’ streak of 20 consecutive starts without a loss was preserved and extended. He now is tied with Lefty Grove for the longest in franchise history. But it was not a good performance.

Noé Ramírez, who entered the game to start the A’s sixth, painfully undid the Halos’ comeback. Canha’s line drive off what looked like Ramírez’s buttocks but might have been his hip bounded to short, where Simons couldn’t make a play on it. Then Seth Brown whacked a triple to right to score Canha. It was the rookie’s second of the game, which tied a record last tied by Chapman last year. Khris Davis drove Brown in with a sac fly to the center field wall, his second RBI of the game.

When the 14,031 fans in attendance had finished singing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” Keynan Middleton came into the ball game, relieving the unfortunate Ramírez. The latest Angels hurler issued two walks but escaped damage thanks to the pitchers’ best friend, which went Simmons to Rengifo to Pujols.

The nail bite inducing Joakim Soria faced three men in the Angels’ seventh. His best friend took the form of Semien to Profar to Olson.

Luis García toed the rubber for Los Angeles (or Anaheim, to be precise). He started his own DP, 1-4-6-3, and we went into the top of the ninth with Liam Hendriks on the mound, trying to redeem his recent unpleasantness in the Bronx. Three batters and seven pitches later he did, gaining his eighteenth save.

Petit got the win, raising his won-lost record to 5-3 and lowering his ERA to 2.84. The loss went to Ramírez. He’s now 4-3, 3.95 ERA.

The win leaves the A’s in second place in the AL west at 79-58, 9 1/2 games behind Houston. They are in a virtual tie with Cleveland for the second wild card spot, leading the Indians by one percentage point and trailing Tampa Bay by 1 game for the first wild card spot. Oakland has 25 1/3 games left to play. That third of a game will be played Friday night before they face Detroit for a full-scale encounter.

Tomorrow evening, Oakland will send RHP Tanner Roark (2-1, 3.30 ERA with them, 6-7, 4.24 ERA for Cincinnati) against Anaheim’s left handed Patrick Sandoval (0-1, 5.24 ERA).

A’s beat Yankees 5-3, earn three-game sweep

Photo credit: @Athletics

By Jerry Feitelberg

OAKLAND — The Oakland A’s beat the New York Yankees Thursday night 5-3 to sweep the three-game series. The A’s have now won seven of the last nine games. They took three out of four from the Astros and split the two-game series in San Francisco with the Giants.

A’s starter Tanner Roark won his eighth game of the year. Roark is now 2-1 with the A’s since coming here at the trade deadline. He went 6 1/3 innings allowing two runs and seven hits. Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka took the loss. Tanaka’s record drops to 9-7. His line was six innings pitched, eight hits, and five runs.

The A’s put three on the board in the bottom of the first. Marcus Semien led off with a double to right to start the rally. Tanaka walked Robbie Grossman and Matt Chapman to load the bases with no out. A’s first baseman Matt Olson reached on a fielder’s choice. Semien scored on the play, and Grossman advanced to third. Olson went to second on a wild pitch. Mark Canha singled to drive in Grossman and Olson to give the A’s a 3-0 lead.

Robbie Grossman led off the third with a triple to left field. He scored on Matt Chapman’s single. Chapman went to second on Matt Olson’s single. Canha reached on a fielder’s choice. Chapman went to third. Olson was out at second. Stephen Piscotty reached on a fielder’s choice. Chapman scored to give the A’s a 5-0 lead.

The Yankees scored their first run of the game in the fifth. With one out, Gleyber Torres doubled. He scored on Mike Tauchman’s single. Roark retired the next two hitters. The A’s lead 5-1 midway through the fifth.

With one out in the top of the seventh, Yankees’ second baseman Gleyber Torres hit a 400-foot home run over the wall in left center field. It was Torres’ 30th of the year. A’s manager Bob Melvin removed Roark from the game. Jake Diekman was the new A’s pitcher, and he retired both hitters he faced to end the inning. The A’s led 5-2 halfway through the seventh.

The Yankees got their third run of the game in the top of the ninth. Joakim Soria was in to close out the game for Oakland. He retired the first two hitters. The next hitter, Gleyber Torres, blasted his second home run of the night to make it 5-3. It was Torres’ 31st homer of the year. Soria struck out Mike Tauchman to end the game. The A’s swept the Yankees.

Game Notes: The A’s used four pitchers to subdue the Yankees. Jake Diekman, Lou Trivino, and Joakim Soria followed Roark to the mound Thursday night. In four starts with the A’s Roark has struck out 7+ hitters twice, He threw a wild pitch in the second inning. It was his first wild pitch in 129.0 innings. The last one occurred on July 3rd, 2018, against Boston.

The A’s won their fourth game of the year in which they did not hit a home run. Mark Canha led the A’s offense with two hits and two runs batted in.  Canha extended his hitting streak to seven games. He is hitting .354 (23-for-65) with two home runs, 12 RBI, and eight walks in 17 games in August.  He is hitting .429 (12-for-28) during his hitting streak and .458 (11-for-24) this homestand. Robbie Grossman also had two hits for Oakland.

The Yankees’ attack was led by Gleyber Torres. Torres had four hits. He had a single, double, and two home runs. The A’s held the other Yankee hitters under control.

The A’s improve to 74-53. They are tied with the Tampa Bay Rays for the first Wild Card. The Indians lost again to the New York Mets, and they trail both teams by 1/2 game.

Time of game was two hours and 51 minutes. 24,750 fans were on hand to watch the A’s complete the sweep.

Up Next: The A’s are off on Friday. They host the San Francisco Giants on Saturday and Sunday. Chris Bassitt (9-5, 3.61 ERA) will pitch for Oakland. The Giants will send Madison Bumgarner (8-8, 3.72 ERA) to the hill. Bumgarner beat the A’s last week in San Francisco.

A’s win a thriller vs. Yankees 6-4

Photo credit: @Athletics

By Jerry Feitelberg

OAKLAND — The Oakland A’s won a thriller Wednesday night as they beat the New York Yankees for the second night in a row by a score of 6-4.

The Yankees, with a lineup of power hitters, made a run late in the game. The A’s have power hitters, too and Khris Davis, Marcus Semien, and Stephen Piscotty all went deep. The A’s bullpen met the challenge as they did the job and recorded the win for the A’s.

Mike Fiers started for Oakland, Fiers went 5 1/3 innings and allowed six hits and two runs. He was credited with the win, and he is now 12-3 for the year. The Yankees left, J.A. Happ, took the loss and he is now 10-8.

The Yankees jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the second. Yanks shortstop Didi Gregorius led off with a double. Fiers retired Gleyber Torres for the first out. Mike Tauchman, player center-field for the Yanks, singled to drive in Gregorius. Fiers retired the next two hitters to end the threat. The A’s, as they did Tuesday night, scored twice in their half of the second. Stephen Piscotty led off with a single. A’s DH Khris Davis, who has been mired in a horrible slump, hit his 18th of the year over the fence in right field to give the A’s a 2-1 advantage.

The A’s put two more on the board in the third. Josh Phegley walked to start the inning. A’s shortstop Marcus Semien blasted his 22nd home run of the year to put the A’s up 4-1 after three complete.

The A’s sent Happ to the showers in the fifth. Jurickson Profar led off with a double. Happ hit Phegley with a pitch to put two men on with no out. Happ walked Semien to load the bases. Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone decided to make a pitching change. He brought in righty Chad Green to pitch. Green got Matt Chapman and Matt Olson to foul out. Mark Canha reached on an infield single to drive in Profar with the fifth run of the game for Oakland. Green retired Chad Pinder on a ground out to short.

The Yankees added a run in the sixth. Fiers struck out the first hitter, Gary Sanchez. The next three hitters Gio Urshela, Didi Gregorius, and Gleyber Torres all singled to load the bases. A’s manager Bob Melvin went to his bullpen and brought in lefty Jake Diekman to face the left-handed hitter Mike Tauchman. Diekman got Tauchman to fly out to left. Urshela scored on the play. Melvin removed Diekman, and Yusmeiro Petit was brought in to face Cameron Maybin. Petit struck out Maybin for the final out. The A’s upped the lead to four in their half of the sixth. Stephen Piscotty led off with an opposite field solo homer that barely made it over the wall in right field. It was Piscotty’s 13 th big fly of the season. The A’s lead 6-2 after six.

Yankees DH Mike Ford led off the seventh with his 5th round-tripper of the year to make it 6-3. The Yanks plated another run to make it 6-4. With two out, Gary Sanchez singled. He went to third on Urshela’s single to right. Didi Gregorius doubled to drive in Sanchez. Blake Treinen was able to get Gleyber Torres to ground out for the final out.

The Yankees threatened in the top of the eighth. Bob Melvin brought in rookie A.J.Puk to make his major league debut. Puk, who can hit 100 miles per hour on the speed gun, walked Mike Tauchman to start the inning. Jurickson Profar made a sensational catch on a bloop hit off Cameron Maybin’s bat for the first out. Puk, facing lefty Mike Ford, gave up a single. Tauchman went to third when right fielder Chad Pinder misplayed the ball. Melvin brought in his closer Liam Hendriks to get the A’s out of the jam. Hendriks did his job as he struck out DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Judge to end the threat. Hendriks retired the Yankees in order in the ninth to preserve the win for Oakland. The A’s won 6-4.

Game Notes: With the win, the A’s improve to 73-53. They remain tied with the Tampa Bay Rays for the second Wild Card. They did, however, pick up a game on the Cleveland Indians in the race for the first Wild Card.  The Indians lost to the New York Mets for the second night in a row. The Rays and A’s are both just 1/2 game behind the Indians.

The A’s A.J. Puk made his Major League debut in the eighth inning. The fans gave him a tremendous ovation as he entered from the bullpen. Puk went 1/3 of an inning and gave up a walk and a hit.

A’s manager Bob Melvin hit a new milestone in his managerial career. With the win. Melvin recorded his 1200th win as a big league manager. Quite an achievement.

Liam Hendriks was credited with his 15th save of the year. Hendriks retired all five hitters he faced.

The A’s line score was six, runs, six hits and one error. The A’s left three on base.

The Yankees’ line was four runs, 11 hits and no errors. 10 men were stranded on base.

Time of game was three hours and two minutes. Most of the 22,017 people in the stands were A’s fans who went home happy. Meanwhile, the Yankee fans went home wondering what hit them.

Up Next: Game three of the series will be played Thursday night at the Oakland Coliseum. The A’s will have Tann Roark doing the pitching. Roark is 7-8 with an ERA of 4.01. He will be opposed by the Yankees’ Masahiro Tanaka. Tanaka is 9-6, and his ERA is 4.56. Game time will be at 6:07 pm.

Grossman’s 1st walk-off wins it for the A’s 3-2

Photo credit: @Athletics

By Lewis Rubman

In 13 innings
Houston: 2 | 9 | 0 | 12 LOB
Oakland: 3 | 8 | 2 | 6 LOB

OAKLAND, Calif. — Last night’s thrilling roller coaster victory over Houston, following Wednesday’s Perils of Pauline win over San Francisco, left the A’s 8 1/2 games behind the Astros in the Western Dvision, 2 games behind Cleveland for the first wild card slot, and 1 1/2 games behind Tampa Bay for the second wild card berth. The standings and the recent developments that led to them show that the there is reason for cautious optimism about the A’s chances for advancement even if their rehabbing pitchers–almost a starting rotation in itself–don’t recover as quickly and thoroughly as might be hoped.

Here’s a quick rundown of what the Athletic’s roster looks like nowadays.

Mark Canha has continued to show that, although lacking the injured Ramón Laureano’s pizzazz, he’s reliable and powerful at the plate and a more than competent center fielder with good range and a strong arm. He may not be as fleet afoot as Laureano, but who is? And Canha hasn’t a laser arm like Laureano’s, he hits his cutoff man and knows when not to attempt a Hail Mary throw.

Josh Phegley returned from the injured list today. That’s good news, although Dustin Garneau, who filled in for him admirably, was DFA’d to make room for Phegley.

Perhaps it’s too early to celebrate the return of stability to second base, but platooning right-handed hitting Chad Pinder and lefty batsman Corban Joseph at that position seems preferable to leaving the job to the switch-hitting (.304 right, .177 left) and throwing challenged Jurickson Profar. Pinder’s overall BA is .250, .264 from the right side. In the small sample of Joseph we’ve seen since he joined the team on Tuesday, he has gone 3-for-7 with one home run and three RBI. He did, however, commit an error tonight.

The bullpen situation is less encouraging. The acquisition of Jake Diekman, who joined the team on July 29, gave some wiggle room to the left handed relief crew. But his ERA in his 4 2/3 innings in eight appearances going into tonight was 5.79 and his WHIP was 1.93. The A’s go-to lefty had been Ryan Buchter, with an ERA of 3.19 and a WHIP of 1.61, nothing outstanding, but serviceable. His figures for August up until game time were more encouraging, 2 2/3 innings over three games with an ERA of zero and a WHIP of 1.13. The remaining southpaw in the Oakland pen, Weu-Chung Wang, has given up an earned run for each of the three innings he’s pitched so far this month and has a WHIP of 2.

The A’s major right-handed relievers, Joaquim Soria and Yusmeiro Petit, have been uneven, Petit being more reliable than Soria, who has given only occasional glimpses of how effective he can be. He had a chance to do that tonight and took full advantage of it. Last year’s one-two punch of Lou Trivino and Blake Treinen hadn’t seemed to have recovered the form that made them keys to the A’s late 2018 surge. Tonight Treinen pitched the seventh inning and showed some of the indominable skill and guts he exhibited last year. Trivino, the winner of tonight’s thriller, got a chance to strut his stuff starting in the eleventh . Mike Fiers continues to be solid starter if you discount his melt down in last night’s heat, and Homer Bailey was very, very good in his seven innings on Wednesday against the Giants. Brett Anderson has been starting his games well but faltering in the middle innings. Chris Bassitt turned a corner in late July and turned a decent start against the Cubs and an excellent one against the White Sox during the A’s visit to Chicago earlier this month.

This brings us to tonight’s starter. Tanner Roark, who was given the unenviable task of going up against Jutin Verlander. The A’s righty took the mound with a 1-1, 2.31 ERA record since joining the team, which is pretty close to his lifetime numbers of 2-0, 2.53 ERA against the Astros. Verlander, at 15-4, 2.82 ERA, is a strong contender for the Cy Young Award this year and has a good shot at making the Hall of Fame after he retires. At game time, he was 2-0, 0.64 ERA (yes, 0.64 ERA) against Oakland this season.

The teams traded zeroes and Ks for the first three innings, with Verlander striking out seven of the nine Athletics he faced (the two others flew out) and Roark fanning three of his 11 opponents.

Houston fell victim to The Curse of the Lead-Off Double in the top of the fourth, with Roark working his way out of trouble after Michael Bradley’s opposite field two bagger against the shift. But the A’s hurler had, by then, thrown 79 pitches. He also helped his own cause by making a couple of spiffy plays on balls hit sharply to the mound.

Oakland suffered a similar fate in its half of the frame when Marcus Semien led off the inning with a double off the center field wall but was stranded on third when Josh Reddick corralled Matt Olson’s fly to the warning track just in front of the 367 foot sign in right.

Mark Canha finally broke the tie in bottom of the fifth by blasting a 2-2, 95 mph Verlander four seamer into the left centerfield stands for his 18th round tripper of the season.

In their next turn at the plate, the Astros erased Oakland’s slim lead with another double–not a lead off one–by Brantley, a walk to Alex Bregman, a single by Yordan Alvarez, and Carlos Correa’s sacrifice fly to right. They went on to take the lead when Yuri Gurriel’s single to right center drove in Bergman from second. Canha came through defensively to compliment his dinger by throwing Gurriel out at second trying to stretch his hit.

It didn’t take the A’s long to catch up in their half of the sixth. With one out, Semien deposited a 2-2 pitch, a ninety-four mph, four-seam fast ball, over the Xfinity sign in right centerfield for his 20th dinger of the year.

Roark didn’t come out for the seventh, leaving after having thrown 102 pitches, 62 of them strikes. He allowed two runs, both earned, on six hits, and three walks. He symmetrically struck out three.

Melvin entrusted the inning to Blake Treinan, who promptly allowed a single to Robinson Chirinos to open the frame. Treinen then got Reddick to pop out to Olson and struck out Springer and Altuve on full counts.

Treinen’s succcessor, Jake Diekman, yielded a two-out double to rookie sensation Alvarez, but escaped the eighth without allowing a run.

Verlander’s work was over, having hurled 101 pitches (70 strikes) in seven innings, during which he gave up two runs (both earned) on four hits, which included a home run, and struck out 11 without allowing a walk. His replacement, Ryan Pressly, did, however, allow a base on balls, and it almost cost the Astros dearly. Semien got the pass and, with two out, stole second, advancing to third after Chirinos’s throw went into center field for an error. But Pressly dealt with the threat by getting Robbie Grossman to ground out to first, unassisted.

In the top of the ninth, it was another of the A’s bullpen question marks’ chance to preserve the tie. Joakim Soria set down Houston to a conga beat, 1-2-3. A.J. Hinch called on his closer, Roberto Osuna, to do the same to Oakland in bottom of the inning. He did, and the game went into extra innings with Soria back on the hill for the Green and Gold. He got the first two Astros he faced, K’ing Springer and getting Altuve to fly out to Piscotty in right. Then Brantley’s bouncer to Joseph in the shift at second went through the fielder’s legs for an error. He moved up to second when Soria walked Bregman on four pitches. Aledymas Díaz pinch hit for Jake Marisnick, who had pinch run for the DH Alvarez after his eighth inning double. Soria struck him out.

Enter Will Harris to pitch the last of the 10th for the visitors and to set down the home team in order. Lou. Trivino came in for the Houston half of the 11th, and the A’s erstwhile stellar set up man also had a 1-2-3 inning, as did Joe Smith in the bottom the frame for Houston.

Trivino gave up a two-out single up the middle to Altuve in the top of the 12th, but Brantley’s grounder to Olson, unassisted, put an end to the threat, such as it was.

Matt Chapman greeted Houston’s new pitcher, Hector Rondón with a first pitch double to center. He advanced to third on Olson’s slow grounder to Bregman. Chapman tried to score on Davis’s grounder to Correa, but was caught in a rundown between third and home, while the A’s DH made it to second, where Profar ran for him. Canha legged out a single to short, and Profar moved on to third. Piscotty, who was 0-for-4, came to the plate and grounded out to short.

Melvin kept Trivino on the mound for his third inning, the 13th. He struck out Bregman and Díaz. Then, with the count at 3-2, Correa hit a scorcher down the third base line that skipped past Chapman for a questionably scored two base error. After the A’s conceded a walk to Gurriel, Chirinos forced him at second on a ground ball to Semien. To the surprise of some of us in the press box, Houston chose not to request a review of the play, but instead brought in Cy Snead to pitch the bottom of the inning.

Joseph greeted him with a slicing single to left. Chris Herrmann sacrifice bunted him into scoring position. After Semien struck out, Hinch made another negative decision, not to walk Grossman and face Chapman. Grossman, batting from his strong side, laced a single to center, scoring Joseph. It was Grosman’s first career walk off hit.

The well deserved win went to Lou Trivino, who, in three innings, allowed only one walk, which was declared, or intentional, or whatever it’s called under the new rules, and struck out four Astros. His record now stands at 4-5. Snead took the loss.

The A’s now trail Houston 7 1/2 games in the division pennant race and are only a 1/2 game behind Tampa Bay for a play off spot.

Tomorrow afternoon’s game will feature Chris Bassitt (8-5, 3.56 ERA) against an unnamed Houston starter.