A’s win a wild and wooly thriller over the Astros 7-6

Photo credit: @Athletics

By Jerry Feitelberg

OAKLAND — On a very warm night at the Oakland Coliseum, the A’s and the visiting Houston Astros put a display of home run power never seen here.

For the first time in the history of the Coliseum, the teams hit a total of 10 home runs. Each side hit five. Four players hit two home runs, and that was the first time that was done since 1908. With the absence of the usual marine layer, the ball was flying out of the park. The Astros had nine players in the lineup with more than 10 homers. The A’s had six. The Astros came into the game with a record of 9-2 against the A’s, but the A’s prevailed 7-6.

The Astros put two on the board in the top of the fourth inning. A’s starter Mike Fiers had been cruising along. He walked the first batter of the game. He got Jose Altuve to ground into a 6-4-3 double play. Fiers retired the next nine hitters in order until Michael Brantly singled with two out in the top of the fourth. Astros third baseman Alex Bregman blasted his 29th homer of the year over the wall near the left-field foul pole to give the Astros a 2-0 lead.

The A’s responded with four in the bottom of the fourth. Robbie Grossman led off with a double to center-field. Matt Chapman reached on a fielder’s choice. He hit a come-backer to Astros hurler Aaron Sanchez. Sanchez chose to throw to second in the hopes of nailing Grossman. Robbie slid in safely, and the A’s had two on with no out. Sanchez then had to face the left-handed hitter, Matt Olson. Olson hit his 23rd bomb of the year that went into the seats just over the 362-foot marker in left-field. Sanchez retired the next two hitters. A’s second baseman Corban Joseph, playing his second game since being called up from Triple-A Las Vegas, hit his first of the year. The ball cleared the 400-foot marker in center-field. The A’s led 4-2 after four.

In the top of the fifth, Astros shortstop Carlos Correa led off with his 18th big fly of the year to make it 4-3. Yuli Guriel followed with a single, but Fiers settled down and got the next three outs.

The Astros tied the game in the top of the sixth. With one out, Michael Brantley, who is second in hitting in the AL with a .328 batting average, blasted his 17th of the year. It was the Astros’ third round-tripper of the game. The A’s regained the lead in their half of the sixth. The Matts — Chapman and Olson — hit back-to-back blasts. Chapman’s went into the seats in left-field, and Olson’s disappeared into the second deck in right-field. It was Chapman’s 28th of the year and Olson, with two homers, has 25. The A’s led 6-4. Fiers is out to pitch the seventh inning.

Carlos Correa led off the seventh with his second homer of the game. A’s manager Bob Melvin removed Fiers from the game and replace him with Yusmeiro Petit. Yet, the Astros still trailed the A’s 6-5. Petit walked Yuli Guriel, but retired the next three hitters to end the inning.

The Astros tied the game in the top of the eighth when Michel Brantley hit a solo homer off Blake Treinen. It was Brantley’s third hit of the game and second home run. The score was knotted at six heading into the bottom of the eighth. The game didn’t stay tied for long. Chapman led off with a blast the went into the second deck in left-field. It was Chapman’s second of the game, and it was the second day in a row that he had two homers in a game. So far, there have been 10 home runs in the game. Each team has hit five. The A’s led 7-6 after eight.

The A’s brought in their closer Liam Hendriks to pitch the ninth. Hendriks set the hard-hitting Astros down to secure the win for the A’s. The A’s won by a final of 7-6.

Game Notes: With the win, the A’s recorded their 9000th win since they started playing baseball in 1901. The A’s improved to 69-52 and picked up 1/2 game on the idle Tampa Bay Rays. The A’s trail the Rays by 1 1/2 games in the race for the second Wild Card.

The A’s beat the Astros for the third time this year. The Astros had a record of 9-2 against the A’s before the start of play Thursday night.

A’s starter Mike Fiers went six innings and allowed six runs and six hits. The Astros took him deep four times. Houston starter, Aaron Sanchez went 5 1/3 innings and gave up six runs and seven hits. He, too, was tagged for four bombs. Matt Chapman was 3-for-4,

Lefty Jake Diekman, who worked 1/3 of an inning was the winning pitcher. Chris Devenski took the loss for Houston. The Astros are now 78-44 for the year and have the second-best record in the AL.

The A’s line score was seven runs, eight hits, and no errors. The Astros’ line was six runs, seven hits, and no errors.

Time of game was two hours and 35 minutes. 15,323 fans saw quite a game. It had drama. It had home runs, and it was a history-making game with the A’s 9000th win. Four players each hitting two home runs, and 10 home runs total in the game. It was quite a night.

Up Next: Game two of the four-game series will be played Friday night at the Coliseum. Tanner Roark will go for Oakland, and Houston will send their ace Justin Verlander to the mound. Game time is set for 7:07 p.m.

Chapman secures series win as A’s beat Brewers 5-3

Photo credit: @Athletics

By: Lewis Rubman

Milwaukee: 3-7-0 (10 LOB)

Oakland: 5-6-0 (6 LOB)

OAKLAND — The A’s sent Homer Bailey, who was 2-1, 8.59 ERA for them since being traded to the team from Kansas City on July 14, to the mound this afternoon. In his three Oakland starts, Bailey has been somewhat like the little girl with the little curl, right in the middle of her forehead. When he was good, he threw six innings of two-run, seven-hit ball against Seattle and 6 2/3 innings of three-run, seven-hit ball against Texas. One of those runs was charged to him after Ryan Buchter allowed a runner who had tripled off Bailey to score on a double. In between those starts, Bailey surrendered nine runs on eight hits in two horrendous innings against Houston. All of the runs he allowed in that game were earned.

Opposing him for the Brewers in today’s blearly eyed contest was Chase Anderson (5-2, 3.89 ERA), a 6’1″, 200 pound right handed hurler in his sixth year in the majors and whose current ERA exactly matches his lifetime figure. This was his 17th start of the season, which he has supplemented with five relief appearances. He features a four-seam fastball in the low to mid 90s and so far this campaign has managed to achieve an average of 8.69 strikeouts and 2.93 walks per nine innings. He throws some sort of fastball about half the time, although this figure has been decreasing steadily over his career.

Bailey threw nothing but strikes to the first two hitters he faced, and he retired both of them. But then he walked Keston Hiura on a 3-1 count, and cleanup hitter Mike Moustakas dropped a perfect bunt to third against the shift for a single that put Hiura in scoring position at second, from which he scored on Ryan Braun’s single to center. For the second straight game, Oakland was down a run before coming to bat.

Bailey pitched out of a jam in the third. With one down in the frame, Jurickson Profar committed a throwing error that enabled Christian Yellich to reach first safely. He advanced to third on Hiura’s single to center, Hiura taking second on the throw. The A’s starter rose to the occasion by getting Moustakas to pop out to Chapman and striking out Braun.

Chad Pinder led off the bottom half of the inning with a resounding round tripper off a 93 miles per hour four seam fast ball from Anderson.

The score remained tied for a very short time. A single by Eric Thames led off the fourth. That hit was followed by a walk to Travis Shaw. Orlando Arcia’s liner, knocked down by Bailey and thrown to Olson, retired the batter but moved the runners up to second and third. Trent Greshman, playing in his first major league game, got his first RBI with a sacrifice fly to Grossman in left center, unknotting the score.

Bailey left the game after thowing 101 pitches, 61 of them strikes, over six innings. He surrendered two runs, both earned, on five hits and three walks, while notching five strikeouts. He was good, although not very, very good.

Yellich extended his consecutive game hitting streak to 19 with a double off Bailey’s replacement, Jake Diekman, with a runner on first and no outs in the top of the seventh. The blast hit the right field scoreboard and tied Yellich for longest streak in the league. It was a weird inning for Diekman. He hit Hiura with a pitch to load the bases after Yellich’s two bagger had sent Grandal to third. Moustakas grounded sharply to Olson, who threw home for the force out. It took Diekman only three pitches to strike Ryan Braun out swinging on a wild pitch that enabled Yellich to sore from third, upping the Brewers’ advantage to 3-1. Diekman then needed only three more pitches to log another swinging K, this one against Thames to close out the inning.

Like Bailey, Anderson was lifted after six innings. He allowed one run, earned, on two hits, three walks, and a hit batter. He threw 92 pitches. 52 of them were strikes.

Anderson’s replacement in the home seventh, Junior Guerra, was as erratic as Diekman hd been. He let the A’s close the gap to one run by giving up a lead-off single to Canha, who moved up a base on a walk to Nick Martini, hitting for Pinder, after Profar had flown out at the center field fence. Beau Taylor’s ground out, first to the pitcher covering, moved each runner up a base, and Guerra’s wild pitch to Semien had the same effect, this time scoring Franklin Barreto, who was pinch running for Pinder and remained in the game at second, Profar moving to the outfield. Milwaukee now was up, 3-2.

Blake Treinen continued his comeback by setting down Milwaukee with one hit in the top of the eighth in relief of Diekman.

Josh Hader replaced the unfortunate Guerra, whose line was one each for innings pitched, runs, earned runs, walks, and hit batters. His pitch count was 25.

Josh Hader came in to pitch the eighth, his third relief apearance in as many days. The Brewers’ closer walked Grossman, the first man he faced. Then Chapman’s bat came alive as the A’s stellar third sacker rocketed a two run homer to straight away center field to give Oakland a 4-3 lead. Hader was pulled after Olson grounded out to first, unassisted. The reader won’t need any assistance from me to figure out Hader’s pitching line. He threw 16 pitches to earn it.

The resurgent Khris Davis greeted Hader’s replacement, Jay Jackson, with a single to center. Canha advanced the A’s DH to third with a line single to right. Canha then stole his second base of the game and advanced to third while Davis scored on Profar’s sacrifice fly to right.

Melvin called on Liam Hendricks to defend the A’s new found two run lead and in the process earn his tenth save of the season, which he had been unable to do Tuesday night. Today, he set down the side in order, striking out Yellich and Hiura and getting Moustakas to fly out to center for the game ending out.

Treinen got the win; he’s now 6-3. Hader was the losing pitcher; he’s now 1-5.

The A’s have a rare Friday off and will return to the Coliseum at 6:07 pm Saturday evening to face the Cardinals in another interleague battle. The scheduled starters are Mike Fiers (9-3, 3.54 ERA) for Oakland and the geographically named Dakota Hudson (10-5, 3.88 ERA) for St. Louis.

When the game ended at 3:50 pm, the A’s trailed Houston by 7 1/2 games for the division lead. They’re in a dead heat with Tampa Bay for the second wild card berth, both teams 2 1/2 games behind Cleveland.

A’s fall to the Brewers 4-2 at home

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.

Rangers beat the A’s again, 5-2

Photo credit sfgate.com: Oakland Athletics’ Ramon Laureano, left, reacts after being hit by a pitch thrown by Texas Rangers’ Rafael Montero in the eighth inning of a baseball game Saturday, July 27, 2019, in Oakland, Calif.

By: Lewis Rubman

Texas: 5 | 7 | 2
Oakland: 2 | 5 | 2

OAKLAND — Last Monday, the Houston Astros clobbered the A’s, 11-1. The next day, Mike Fiers and the bullpen combined to revenge that loss by holding the powerhouse team from the Lone Star state to three runs on eight hits over 11 innings while Oakland managed to score four times, also on eight hits, on a double by Ramón Laurano.

This evening, the A’s took the field behind Daniel Mengden, hoping to replicate that recovery and bounce back from last night’s similar 11-3 drubbing at the hands of the other Texas team, the Rangers from Arlington. The A’s righty went into the game at 5-1, but with an ugly ERA of 4.65. He has a six-pitch repertoire, and his most frequently thrown pitch is the four seam fastball, which he uses about a third of the time. His counterpart on the Rangers, the also right handed Lance Lynn, took the more impressive record of 12-6, 3.93 ERA, to the mound. His favorite pitch also is the four seamer, which he throws a little less than half the time, at an average velocity of between 94 and 94.5 miles per hour. The A’s bullpen looked shabby last night, with only Brian Schlitter failing to disappoint. Tonight, it looked better, but still not good.

In spite of last night’s dismal showing, at first pitch Oakland still was in a virtual tie with Tampa Bay for second place in the craps shoot that is the wild card race, leading the Rays by a minute fraction of a percentage point. Both clubs were three games behind Cleveland for the first wild card slot. As far as the Western Division lead is concerned, they’ll cross that bridge if and when they come to it.

The A’s opened the scoring in the bottom of the first when they loaded the bases on back to back errors by shortstop Danny Sanatana on grounders by Semien and Chapman followed by a three and two walk to Olson. After Llynn used his four seamer to strike out Mark Canha swinging, Laureano drove in Semien from third on a sacrifice fly to left. Lynn closed out the inning by striking out the struggling Khris Davis.

The second inning featured two spectacular defensive plays, one in each half of the frame. In the top of the inning, Chapman made a leaping grab of Willie Cahfoun’s hard line drive to what would have been short if the A’s hadn’t been deploying the shift. Not to be outdone, Delino DeShields performed a high jump over the center field fence to rob Chris Herrmann of what would have been a two run homer in the the bottom of the frame. In retrospect, it might well have been the decisive play of the game.

The series of outstanding plays continued in the top of the third when Matt Olson chased down DeShield’s foul fly to the right of the visiting bullpen. Turnabout, I guess, is fair play.

Oakland doubled its lead in the bottom of the third on a single to center by Semien, followed, after Lynn K’ed Chapman, by a four pitch walk to Olson and Canha’s single to left. Lynn recovered, getting Laureano and Davis to strike out swinging.

Texas went ahead with two out in the top of the fourth when Nomar Mazara smashed a hard liner past a diving Jurickson Profar and into right center field for a double that scored Shin-Soo Choo, who had led off the inning with a walk, on a close play at the plate. Calhoun followed suit with a double to left that brought in Mazara, who, in turn, scored the tie breaking tally on Asdrúbal Cabrera’s single to right. Forsythe’s fly to left stopped the bleeding, but the Rangers held a 3-2 lead.

Megden’s day’s work was over when he threw his 93rd pitch, a ball to Calhoun on a three and two count that put runners on first and second with one down in the top of the sixth. Blake Treinen, still trying to regain a semblance of the form that had made him the best closer in baseball last season, replaced him. He promptly surrendered a clean single to right by Cabrera, driving in Mazara from second with the fourth Texas run, which was charged to Megden. After a walk to Forsythe, Treinen found success with his power sinker, striking out DeShields and forcing Mathis to pop out to Profar to end the inning.

Ryan Buchter, who replaced Treinen to pitch the seventh, escaped unscathed in spite of his allowdng a single to Odor and Santana’s reaching base on an error by Semien. One reason for Buchter having achieved this was his picking the speedy Odor off first. Buchter stayed in the game long enough to give up a lead off homer to Mazara in the eighth, a shot into the right center field bleachers. Cabrera followed that with a hard line drive down the left field line that a diving backhand stop by Chapman held to a single. After a called third strike on Forsythe for the first out, Buchter gave way to the veteran Joaquim Soria. He got back to back strike outs of DeShields and Jeff Mathis and returned to the dugout.

Jesse Chavez, the ex-Athletic, came in for Lynn at the beginning of the A’s seventh and was effective in his one inning of relief, striking out two and not allowing a base runner. His eighth inning replacement, José LeClerc, who, after a terrible start to the season, has been on a hot streak over his last two dozen appearances, set the top of the Oakland line up down in order.

Lou Trivino held the line for the A’s in the top of the ninth. After a rare error at first by Olson, Rougned Odor blasted a fly to deep ccenter field, just short of the 400 foot sign. Laureano caught it and threw out Choo, trying to advance to second.

Canha greeeted Chris Martin, trying to close out the win, with a double to left center to lead off the home ninth. A walk to Laureano brought Khris Davis to the plate as the potential tying run. But mighty KD struck out. So did Robbie Grossman. Now Chris Herrmann represented the potential tying run or its possible last out. He grounded out to third to end the game.

When the tumult and the shouting had subsided, the A’s were tied with Boston, a half a game behind Tampa Bay for the last wild card spot and four behind Cleveland in the race to be the home team in the play in.

Lance Lynn got the well deserved win, allowing only one earned run. Martin earned his fourth save. Daniel Megden took the loss, as, once again, the A’s starter coughed up an early lead, and the bullpen couldn’t keep the game within reach. Poor control was Megden’s undoing. Of his 93 pitches, only 49, that is, 57%, were strikes. Lynn, in contrast, threw 111 pitches, 73 of which were strikes.

Tomorrow’s contest is scheduled to begin at 6:07 pm and will feature two right-handers, Adrian Sampson (6-7, 5.19 ERA) on the mound for Texas against the A’s Homer Bailey (8-7, 5.42 ERA overall; 1-1,12.38 ERA) for Oakland.

Rangers rout the A’s 11-3

Photo credit: bdtonline.com

By Jerry Feitelberg

OAKLAND — The Oakland A’s returned home Thursday to start a four-game series against their division rival Texas Rangers. The A’s lost four out of seven on the road trip and were hoping to reverse their fortunes at the expense of the Rangers. The A’s started lefty Brett Anderson, and Texas countered with righty Ariel Jurado. The A’s started well as they scored three runs in the first inning and it looked as if they were on their way to a victory. The Rangers’ Jurado composed himself after the dismal start and allowed the A’s just one hit in the next six innings. Brett Anderson pitched well for four innings. He met his Waterloo in the fifth when the Rangers scored five times and took the lead for good. The Rangers scored five more in the sixth and one in the seventh to win 11-3.

The A’s put three on the board in the bottom of the first. A’s leadoff hitter Marcus Semien started the rally with a double to left-center. Matt Chapman worked Rangers’ starter Ariel Jurado for a walk to put men on at second and first with no out. Matt Olson flew out to deep center. Semien tagged and went to third. Canha walked to load the bases. Ramon Laureano followed with a single to drive in Semien and Chapman. Canha went to third. A’s DH Khris Davis drove in Canha with a sac fly to right. The A’s owned an early 3-0 lead.

The Rangers plated five runs in the top of the fifth to take the lead 5-3. Three consecutive singles produced the Rangers first run of the game. Anderson retired Tim Fedorowicz for the first out. The next hitter Shin-Soo Choo singled to load the bases. Rangers’ left fielder Danna Santa doubled down the right-field line to drive in Cabrera and DeShields to tie the game. Choo stopped at third. Elvis Andrus hit a sac fly to right to drive in Choo with the fourth run of the inning. A’s manager Bob Melvin removed Anderson from the game and brought in Yusmeiro Petit to pitch. Petit gave up a single to former San Francisco Giant, Hunter Pence. Santana scored, and the Rangers lead 5-3 midway through the fifth.

The Rangers blew the game open in the top of the sixth. The big blow was Danny Santana’s first career grand slam. The Rangers scored a run earlier in the inning when A’s reliever Lou Trivino hit Logan Forsythe to start the inning, Trivino walked Cabrera. DeShields laid down a bunt for a hit to load the bases with no out. Trivino retired Fedorowicz for the first out. Lefty Wei-Chung Wang was now pitching for Oakland. Choo singled to drive in Forsythe and Santana followed with his big blast. Texas leads 10-3 after six.

The Rangers added a run in the seventh to end the scoring for the night.

Game Notes: With the win, the Texas Rangers improve to 52-51. The A’s drop to 58-46. Oakland remains in second place in the AL West. The A’s would be the number 2 Wild Card if the playoffs were to start today. They trail the Cleveland Indians by 2 1/2 games for the top Wild Card spot. The A’s are a 1/2 game ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays and one game ahead of the Red Sox in the race for the second Wild Card.

The Rangers’ Ariel Jurado was the winning pitcher. He is 6-6 for the season Brett Anderson went 4 2/3 innings and allowed seven hits and five runs. Anderson’s record drops to 9-6.

A’s relievers Lou Trivino, and Wei-Chung Wang had rough outings Thursday night. Trivino went 1/3 of an inning. He hit a batter, then walked a hitter, and gave up a single before being lifted from the game. His line was one hit and three runs. Wang went 1 2/3 innings and gave up four hits and three runs. He threw the pitch to Danny Santana that left the park for Santana’s first career grand slam. Santana finished the night with six RBIs.

The Rangers announced that their slugging first baseman Joey Gallo will be out for at least four weeks. Gallo will be having surgery to repair a broken hamate bone in his right hand.

Time of game was two hours and 45 minutes. 11,854 fans watched the A’s go down to defeat.

Up Next: The A’s will have to regroup Friday night. Players have to have short memories and remind themselves that each game is a new portrait. The A’s will send Daniel Mengden to the hill. Mengden is 5-1 for the year. He will be opposed by Lance Lynn. Lynn has a record of 12-6.

A’s blow out the Mariners 10-2

Photo credit: @Athletics

By: Ana Kieu

OAKLAND — The Oakland A’s and Seattle Mariners played the second game of a two-game set at the Oakland Coliseum on Wednesday afternoon.

The A’s starting lineup featured starting pitcher Homer Bailey, who made his debut as an Oakland Athletic, as well as Marcus Semien, Matt Chapman, Matt Olson, Mark Canha, Ramon Laureano, Khris Davis, Jurickson Profar, Chad Pinder and Josh Phegley.

After a scoreless first inning, the Mariners opened the scoring for a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning. Dylan Moore tripled to Mark Canha and Tim Beckham scored on the play. Shortly after, the M’s made it 2-0 on a Dee Gordon single that scored Dylan Moore.

But the A’s tied the game 2-2 in the bottom of the second inning. Jurickson Profar hit a game-tying home run that scored Ramon Laureano.

The A’s announced that Matt Chapman left the game in the top of the third inning with left ankle soreness. After that, the A’s went ahead 3-2 on a Mark Canha home run in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Mark Canha resurfaced in the bottom of the sixth inning with a home run. The A’s took a 4-2 lead.

The crowd cheered when Chad Pinder hit a three-run home run that scored Ramon Laureano and Jurickson Profar in the bottom of the sixth inning. The A’s were up 7-2.

Ramon Laureano hit a home run to give the A’s a 8-2 lead in the bottom of the eighth inning. Moments later, Jurickson Profar hit his second home run of the game and his 13th of the season to help the A’s to a double-digit 10-2 lead.

After two hours and 49 minutes of play, the A’s blew out the Mariners by a final score of 10-2.

Today’s attendance was 19,161.

The A’s head to Target Field to take on the Minnesota Twins for a four-game series. Game one will be played on Thursday at 5:10 pm PT.

A’s continue to roll as they down the Mariners 9-2

Photo credit: @Athletics

By Jerry Feitelberg

OAKLAND — The A’s continued their winning ways as they won their fifth in a row to down the Seattle Mariners 9-2 at the Oakland Coliseum on Tuesday night.

This was the 14th game of the season between the two teams. Even though the Mariners entered the game with a record of 39-58, they held a 7-6 advantage over the A’s. The M’s sent lefty Marco Gonzalez to the hill to stop the A’s. Gonzalez had beaten the A’s three times this year and was hoping to win his fourth. The A’s Daniel Mengden was given the task of slowing down the Seattle offense.

Seattle took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the second when catcher Omar Narvaez led off the inning with a solo homer. It was his 15th of the year and the third in his last two games against the A’s. Narvaez has taken over as the guy that loves to kill the A’s. Mitch Haniger had that role, but he is on the injured list.

The A’s plated two runs in the bottom of the third. With one out, Josh Phegley singled. Marcus Semien doubled to put men on at second and third. Matt Chapman singled to drive them in to put the A’s ahead 2-1.

The A’s put three on the board in the fifth. Gonzalez retired the first two A’s hitters he faced. With a 3-2 count on Marcus Semien, Gonzalez threw a pitch that appeared to be strike three. Home plate umpire Brian O’Nora took a step back and looked as if he was going to call Semien out on strikes. He didn’t, and Semien had a free pass. The Matts, Chapman, and Olson, went back-to-back to put the A’s ahead 5-1. For Chapman, it was his 22nd of the year. For Olson, it was his 20th.

The A’s scored one on the sixth. Ramon Laureano doubled with one out. Laureano took off for third. Gonzalez threw behind him to second baseman Dee Gordon. Gordon’s throw to Kyle Seager was not on the mark and sailed past Seager. That miscue allowed Laureano to score. The error was the 96th of the year for the M’s They have committed more errors than any other team in baseball this year.

In the seventh, Semien doubled when his blooper to right field fell in safely as three Mariners had a chance to make the putout. Chappie doubled to drive in Semien. Chappie has five RBIs in the game. The onslaught continued as Oakland scored two more in the eighth. Singles by Laureano and Pinder put men on at first and second. The runners advanced on a wild pitch, and both scored on Phegley’s single.

With two out in the ninth and Blake Treinen pitching, Omar Narvaez continued his hot-hitting against the A’s when he homered again. Treinen retired the next batter to end the game.

Game Notes: With the win, the A’s improve to 54-41. They have won five in a row, 13 out of the last 16, and 18 out of the previous 23. The A’s are tied with Cleveland for the second Wild Card slot and trail the Tampa Bay Rays by one game for the first slot. They also gained a game on the AL West leader Houston Astros and now trail them by 4 1/2 games.

Daniel Mengden won his fourth game in a row and is now 5-1 for the year. Mengden has not walked a batter in his last three starts.

Asked what his secret to success was, Mengden replied: “Keep them off balance and go from there.”

Mengden threw strikes on the first pitch to 16 of the 25 hitters he faced. He went 7 innings and allowed four hits and one run. The only mistake he made was the gopher ball that he served to Omar Narvaez. Gonzalez went six innings and allowed seven hits and six runs. He is 10-8 for the year.

Matt Chapman hit his 22nd dinger and has knocked in 59 so far. Matt Olson hit his 20th and has an 11-game hitting streak going.

Umpire Brian O’Nura left the game after the end of the fifth inning. He had been complaining of blurred vision to the trainers, and after missing the call, he went to the trainer’s room for treatment. Jame Hoye took over calling balls and strikes.

Time of game was two hours and 44 minutes and 18,718 fans watched the A’s win again.

Up Next: The A’s sent J.B. Wendelken to Las Vegas to make room for Homer Bailey who was acquired in a trade with the Kansas City Royals on Sunday. Bailey will make his A’s debut Wednesday afternoon against the Mariners at 12:37 pm.

A’s off to a great start in the second half, rout the White Sox 5-1

Photo credit: @Athletics

By: Lewis Rubman

Chicago White Sox: 1 | 10 | 1
Oakland Athletics: 5 |13 | 0

OAKLAND — For the third time this year, Mike Fiers took the mound for the A’s to open a segment of the season. He was trounced by Seattle in Tokyo in the season opener but came back eight days later to get the win against the Angels in Oakland’s first game of the campaign on American soil, although his performance on that occassion didn’t even rate as a quality start. His pitching picked up in May, including a no-hitter on the seventh, and, when Frankie Montás was suspended on June 21 for violating MLB’s drug policies, Fiers became the undisputed ace of the A’s pitching staff, a distinction he in any case deserved by dint of his own efforts. The A’s starter went into tonight’s contest with an ERA of 2.87 in May, 2.30 in June, and 1.50 for his one start in July. He faced the task of getting the third portion of the season, the long haul between the All=Star Game and the final stretch drive, off to a successful start.

Facing him for the White Sox was Iván Nova, a right-hander much given to throwing sinker balls and having a 4-7, 5.88 ERA record to show for it.

The A’s opened the scoring in the top of the first, when, with one out, Matt Chapman’s line drive ate up Leury García at short and ended up as a single to left. Matt Olson promptly moved Chapman to third with a single to right. The A’s third baseman then scored on Khris Davis’s clean single to center. Nova escaped further damage by inducing Mark Canha to hit into an inning ending double play, short to second to first.

Ramón Laureano extended the A’s lead by blasting a 2-2 pitch into the second deck left field seats for his seventeenth home run of the season. Not to be outdone, Jurickson Profar, batting left-handed, the switch-hitting second sacker’s weak side, followed with a homer, his eleventh, into the Budweiser seats in right, putting the home team in front by a score of 3-0.

The Pale Hose threatened in the top of the third when Ryan Cordell and García, the number nine and one hitters, laced back to back one out singles. But Oakland’s Fiers put out the Chicago fire, striking out Yoán Moncada and José Abreu, both of them swinging.

Fiers kept on shutting out the Sox, and Nova settled down, not allowing the A’s any more runs until with one down in the bottom of the sixth Canha shot his 13th round tripper of the season over the center field fence, just to the right of the 400 foot sign. On the next pitch, Robbie Grossman lined a double off the left center field wall. But Nova got Laureano to ground out to third and Profar to first to keep the A’s from posting a crooked number.

But Nova had thrown 104 pitches, and that finished his work for the night. Josh Phegley greeeted his replacement, Juan Minaya, by hitting a solid single to left on his first offering in the home half of the seventh. Three pitches later, Semien plated Phegley with a triple to left center. Minaya got two quick outs on Chapman and Olson but then issued back-to-back walks to Davis and Canha to load the bases. Rick Rentería sent lefty Josh Osich in to face Grossman, who would have batted from his weak, right, side if Bob Melvin hadn’t sent Chad Pinder in to hit for him. Osich got his man on a called third strike. But, by now, the A’s held a 5-0 advantage over Chicago.

When Fiers walked John McCann with two down and a man on base in the top the eighth, the A’s starter had thrown 111 pitches over seven and two-thirds, innings, more pitches over more innings than in any game since his early season no-hitter. Oh, yes, his replacement, Yusmeiro Petit, retired the side by getting John Jay to ground out to Profar at second.

Joakim Soria came in to mop up in the ninth. He wasn’t quite up to the job. García’s two-out single on a 3-2 count brought in Eloy Jiménez who had led off the frame with a single to spoil the shutout. Oakland’s all star closer, Liam Hendricks, the Pride of Perth, came in and struck out Moncada on three pitches.

The win went to Fiers; the loss to Nova. Hendrick got the save, his sixth in eight opportunities.

Oakland’s win puts them at 51-41, a half a game behind Cleveland for the second wild card spot.

Tomorrow afternoon’s contest will feature righty Chris Bassitt (5-4, 4.29 ERA) on the bump for the A’s. His opposing number is as yet unnamed, making it likely that he will be an opener.

A’s start the race to the playoffs on Friday

By Jerry Feitelberg

Oakland- The A’s start the second half of the season with a record of 50-41. The A’s have played 91 and have 71 games left to play. As fans know, it’s not how you start, it’s where you finish.

The A’s won 97 games last year with a so-so starting rotation, but, had a bullpen that was lights out. They lost second baseman Jed Lowrie to free agency. Lowry had a career-high 99 RBIs last year, and the team had to fill the hole. They traded for Jurickson Profar, and the young man has yet to show that he can play every day. The A’s have brought up Franklin Barreto to see if he can do the job, and the jury is still out on him.

The A’s starting rotation has surprised the pundits so far this year. Mike Fiers started slowly, but he has pitched well since May. Brett Anderson is healthy, and he has done the job. Chris Bassitt has thrown well, and Daniel Mengden has won a couple of games since being recalled. The fifth starter is a work in progress. Tanner Anderson is 0-3 and has yet to show that he can stay in the rotation. The A’s are hoping that Sean Manaea will be back in the rotation in early August. The A’s relievers Lou Trivino and Blake Treinen have not performed as well as they did last year. Trivino started well but has been rocked lately. Treinen has not had his control. He does have 16 saves, but he has walked too many hitters when he comes in to close. Yusmeiro Petit and Joakim Soria have pitched well all year. The big surprise is Liam Hendriks. Hendriks was designated for assignment last year. No one signed him, and he went back to Triple-A. This year, things have turned completely around. Hendriks was named to the AL All-Star squad, and he has done the job when called upon.

The A’s offense has power hitters all through the lineup. Matt Chapman, Matt Olson, Khris Davis, Stephen Piscotty, Ramon Laureano, Marcus Semien, and Profar all can send the ball into the seats. Catchers Josh Phegley, Chris Herrman, and Nick Hundley can also blast a baseball into the stands. The A’s defense has been superb.

The A’s have put together a team that could possibly go deep into the playoffs. They need to improve the starting rotation. Will the A’s make a trade for a starter? No one knows what Billy Beane or David Forst will do. They have not hesitated to pull the trigger on a deal if they think that it will improve the team. They don’t want to give up any of their key players as Beane or Forst remember what happened in 2014 when they sent Yoenis Cespedes to Boston for John Lester. The team went into a spiral and barely made the playoffs that year. The A’s may feel that the players coming off the Il will be sufficient to get them there. Manaea and Jharel Cotton should be back soon.

The A’s lost starting pitcher Frankie Montas for 80 games due to using of an illegal substance. Montas may make it back in late September, but he is not eligible to play in the postseason.

The ingredients are there. They have pitching, offense, and defense. They start the second half at home with three against the Chicago White Sox, and two against the Seattle Mariners. Following that, they go on the road for four with the Minnesota Twins and three with the Houston Astros. The A’s took two out of three from the Twins last week in Oakland. The Twins, in first place in the AL Central, played well against the A’s and they will give the A’s a tussle when they meet next week. The A’s then have to play the Astros in Houston. The Astros have one of the best teams in baseball. The Astros won the World Series two years ago and want to win another. They also have a potent lineup. They have two terrific starters, Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole. The A’s have not had success against Houston so far this year.

The A’s will have quite a race to the finish line. The Cleveland Indians, Texas Rangers, Boston Red Sox are teams that will be competing for the second Wild Card slot in the American League. It should be fun.

Semien powers the A’s to a 7-2 win over the Twins

Photo credit: @atleticos

By Jerry Feitelberg

OAKLAND — On a very lovely Thursday at the Oakland Coliseum, the A’s beat the Minnesota Twins 7-2 to win the three-game series 2-1. A’s shortstop Marcus Semien was the hero as he blasted two home runs and drove in five to lead the A’s to a 7-2 victory.

A’s starter Tanner Anderson was looking for his first win of the season, but it didn’t happen for him as he was removed from the game with two out in the fifth inning. He was replaced by Wei-Chung Wang. The young Taiwanese lefty was the winning pitcher and earned his first major league win.

The Twins drew first blood in the top of the first with an unearned run. Tanner Anderson retired the first two hitters he faced. He gave up singles to Nelson Cruz and Luis Arraez. He walked Miguel Sano to load the bases. The next hitter, Ehire Adrianza, was awarded first base when A’s catcher Chris Herrmann interfered with his swing. Herrmann was charged with an error. Cruz trotted home with the Twins’ first run.

The A’s tied the game in the bottom of the fourth. A’s DH Khris Davis led off with a single. Twins’ starter Jose Berrios retired the next two hitters. Robbie Grossman and Chris Herrmann each singled. Herrmann’s single allowed Davis to score. The score was 1-1 after four.

The tie didn’t last long as the Twins put their second run of the game on the board in the top of the fifth. Nelson Cruz, who loves to torment the A’s, led off with a double. Cruz went to third on a wild pitch. Anderson retired the next two hitters. He did not get by Ehire Adrianza who singled to drive in Cruz. Jonathan Schoop followed with a single, and that ended Anderson’s day. A’s manager brought in Wei-Chung Wang to pitch. Wang got Jason Castro to fly out for the final out of the inning. In the A’s half of the fifth, they were able to grab the lead 3-2. Marcus Semien led off the frame with his 12th bomb of the season. Matt Chapman walked and moved to second on a single by Matt Olson. Berrios walked Khris Davis to load the bases. Mark Canha had a golden opportunity to break the game open, but he hit into a double play. Chapman scored on the play. Berrios got Laureano to fly out to Max Kepler in right to end the inning. The A’s led 3-2.

In the bottom of the eighth, Marcus Semien hit a grand slam to blow open the game for the A’s. Robbie Grossman and Chris Herrman singled to start the rally. Jurickson Profar was hit by a pitch to load the bases with no out. Marcus Semien, who had hit a solo home run in the fifth, sent the first pitch from Mike Morin over the fence for a grand slam and the A’s now led 7-2. A’s manager Bob Melvin, brought in Joakim Soria to pitch the ninth. The Twins right-fielder, Max Kepler, doubled to start the inning, but Soria settled down and retired the next three hitters to ice the win for Oakland. The A’s won 7-2.

Game Notes and Stats: The A’s, with the win, improve to 48-40 and now lead the Texas Rangers by one game in the race for second place in the AL West. They trail the first place Houston Astros by 7 1/2 games.

The A’s had three players that had multiple hits in the game. These three had nine of the A’s 12 hits. Robbie Grossman had three singles. Chris Herrmann had his first four-hit game. He had a double and three singles. Semien had two hits, both home runs. Semien’s first was a solo blast in the fifth, and a grand slam in the eighth. Semien has hit 13 so far this season. His five RBI game matched a career-high, It was also his fifth career two-homer game, and his fourth career grand slam.

The line score for Oakland was seven runs, 12 hits, and one error. The Twins’ line was two runs, 11 hits, and no errors. The winning pitcher was Wang, and Jose Berrios took the loss. Berrios is now 8-5 for the year.

Time of game was three hours and 20 minutes. 20,836 fans watched the A’s win.

Up Next: The A’s travel to Seattle to face the Mariners for three games before the All-Star break. Lefty Brett Anderson will pitch for the Green and Gold Friday night. Brett is 8-5 and has an ERA of 3.92. Seattle’s Yusei Kikuchi (4-5, 5.12 ERA) will be on the hill for the M’s. Kikuchi is also left-handed.