A’s beat O’s 2-0 in 12 innings on Khris Davis two-run walk-off home run

Davis winning HR
Khris Davis hits the game-winning walk-off HR in the 12th inning Photo: @Athletics

by Charlie O. Mallonee

Oakland – Both teams deserved to win this game. That line is overused by sports reporters around the world, but on Saturday night at the Coliseum, it was the truth. The Baltimore Orioles and Oakland Athletics put on game-winning performances in their 12-inning affair but in baseball, there are no ties. The A’s won the game 2-0.

The Athletics left the field with their 17th victory of the season after designated hitter Khris Davis hit a Pedro Araujo 3-1 pitch halfway up into the seats in left field with Jed Lowrie on at first with no outs in the bottom of the 12th inning. Unbelievably, the A’s never had a runner in scoring position during the entire contest. It is not often a team is going to escape with a win and never had advanced a runner to second base, but there was nothing usual about this game.

Old Fashion Pitchers Dual

Cahill working
Trevor Cahill recorded 12 strikeouts in a no-decision Saturday Photo: @Athletics

Trevor Cahill started the game for Oakland. Cahill set the tone for the game in the top of the first inning when he struck out the first three Orioles he faced. He struck five of the first six hitters to come bat against him. Cahill looked unbeatable on the mound.

Cahill would go on to work 6.0-innings and record 12 strikeouts while walking just one Baltimore batter. That tied Cahill for the second most strikeouts in six or fewer innings in Oakland history.

Cahill did not give up a run and allowed just four hits. He threw 98 pitches (58 strikes). Manager Bob Melvin indicated the plan was for Cahill to work seven innings but he did not want the righty to exceed 100 pitches.

Kevin Gausman threw nine innings of two-hit baseball Photo: @Orioles

The other phenomenal story was Baltimore starting pitcher Kevin Gausman who entered the game with a record of 2-2. Gausman pitched a career-high nine innings and threw 113 pitches (66 strikes). He began the game throwing 89 mph and his last pitch of the contest registered at 98 mph on the radar gun.

Gausman threw nine shutout innings allowing just two hits while striking out six Oakland batters and walking two. It was a pitching performance that would normally have resulted in a victory.

The real irony for both of these starting pitchers who performed so well was they both recorded a no-decision for the game.

Relievers were key in this game


  • Yusmeiro Petit came on in relief of Cahill in the top of seventh. Petit really struggled on Friday night but Melvin said had no hesitancy about sending Petit back to the hill. Petit threw 2.0-innings giving up no runs and allowing just one hit. He struck out four and walked three.
  • Santiago Casilla worked innings nine and 10. He pitched two shutout innings allowing just one hit and one hit batter.
  • Danny Coulombe pitched 1.1-innings striking out four Orioles and allowing one hit.
  • Chris Hatcher replaced Coulombe in the top of the 12th with one out. He walked the first man he faced – Trey Mancini. Craig Gentry was brought in as a pinch-runner for Mancini. With Adam Jones at bat, Gentry attempted to steal second base but was thrown out on a strong throw from catcher Bruce Maxwell to second baseman Jed Lowrie. It was the second caught stealing executed by Maxwell in the game. Hatcher induced Jones to ground out third to first for the final out of the game. Hatcher (3-0) picked up the win as he was the pitcher of record when Davis hit the game-winning home run.


  • Mychal Givens worked two great innings of relief of the O’s. He struck out five of the six Oakland hitters he faced and allowed no baserunners. It was simply a perfect relief effort.
  • Pedro Araujo worked the fateful 12th inning giving up the game-winning two-run home run to Davis. He is hung with the loss and is now 1-3 for the season.
Cahill K
Counting them up for Cahill Photo: @Athletics

Vital Stats

Oakland (17-16) 2 runs, 4 hits, no errors

Baltimore (8-25) 0 runs, 7 hits, no errors

Time of the game: 3:32

Attendance: 24612

Up Next

The Orioles will send RHP Alex Cobb (0-3, 9.68) to the hill to faceoff against the Athletics RHP Andrew Triggs (2-1, 5.20). This will be Cobb’s fifth start of the season. His last start versus the Angels was his longest outing of the year when he pitched 6.0-innings. Cobb has allowed 10 hits in three of his starts and allows just over five runs per appearance.

Triggs will make his seventh start of the season for Oakland. He made the start last Tuesday on the road in Seattle. Triggs pitched 4.2-innings in that game giving up four runs (all earned) off six hits. He struck out four hitters and walked three while throwing 89 pitches (49 strikes). The A’s went on to lose that game 6-3.

First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 PM.




Athletics sweep the Rangers out of town by winning 8-1 on Sunday in Oakland

Jed Lowrie loads up to hit a two-run double Photo Jordan Chapin Sports Radio Service

by Charlie O. Mallonee and Jordan Chapin

Oakland – The Athletics have now won seven games in a row after sweeping a three-game series from the Wild Card contending Texas Rangers. The A’s completed the sweep with an 8-1 win on Sunday in front of 18,706 fans at the Coliseum on “Hecho en Oakland” Day.

This was also the second consecutive series sweep for the Athletics who took a three-game series from the Tigers in Detroit to wrap up a nine-game road trip. Oakland has now won seven consecutive games. That is their longest winning streak of the season.

The Athletics (72-83) have won 14 games in September – the most in any month this year.


Many experts will tell you not to fall in love with “September baseball”. There is some great wisdom in that statement. Rosters have been expanded. Players may be playing over their heads as they try to impress the front offices. Some veterans are just going through the motions. It is not a true barometer of what is going to happen in the future.

In the case of the Athletics, two very important things have happened in September that are worth noting for the future:

  • This young Oakland roster has learned to win on the road. The A’s have been tough at home all season but have been terrible away from the Coliseum. This newly constituted roster of “young guns” has taken on the challenge from Bob Melvin and learned how to win on the road. That is a lesson that can carry over into April of next year.
  • The Athletics also became a team that plays their division opponents tough. The A’s swept a four-game series from the Astros in September. Now they have swept the Rangers. Taking care of business with the teams in your division is the key to becoming competitive and moving toward becoming a playoff contender.

Pitching was a real key for the A’s

Jharel Cotton started the game for Oakland. He had to be scratched from his scheduled started start in Detroit due a strained groin. He showed no signs of having any problems with that issue during the game on Sunday.

Cotton threw his fastball at speeds of up to 95 mph and then would stop-down the change-up by as much as 15 mph. The Rangers hitters were just completely off-balance.

Cotton worked 5.0 – innings allowing no runs on just one hit. He walked one Texas batter while striking out six. Cotton threw 77 pitches (51 strikes).

Cotton set the side down in order in the third, fourth and fifth innings.

After the game, Cotton had nothing but compliments for the way his teammates played in the game.

Cotton is now 9-10 on the season and has the most wins for any rookie pitcher in the American League.

It was revealed after the game that Cotton experienced some tightness in his throwing elbow and that is why he did not continue after the fifth inning. He appeared to be fine in the clubhouse after the game.

Oakland exploded for five runs in the fifth, two in the sixth and added one in the eighth

The Athletics insured the win for Cotton by posting five runs off Texas starter Martin Perez (12-12) in the home half of the fifth inning. Catcher Josh Phegley led the inning off with a base hit and eventually eight batters would come to the plate.

The big hit of the inning came off the bat of Khris – yes you can call me “Krush” – Davis who hit his 41st home run of the year off Perez. It was a two-run shot that hit off the concrete wall just under the windows of the suites in straightaway center field.

Khris Davis at the plate against the Rangers Photo by Jordan Chapin Sports Radio Service

Athletics in the batter’s box

  • As a team: 8 runs on 10 hits, six men left on base, 5-for-13 with Runners In Scoring Position
  • Phegley 2-for-3 with a double (11) and an RBI (10)
  • Chapman 2-for-5 including two doubles (21) and two RBI (36)
  • Khris Davis also recorded his 105th RBI

Oakland relief pitching

The relievers did not have a perfect outing as all four were not able to post “Goose Eggs” in the run column. Simon Castro – who worked 1.2-innings of relief – did give up one run on a solo home run to Normar Mazara (20). That was the only run the Rangers would score.

Daniel Coulombe, Santiago Casilla and Liam Hendriks combined to work 2.1-innings of scoreless relief for the A’s and preserve the victory.

A’s manager Bob Melvin was pleased with his team after the game

Melvin also spoke about team goals, the health of Matt Olson and Bruce Maxwell’s kneeling.

Texas Rangers

There has not been much mention of the Rangers in this article because for all intensive purposes their season came to an end today. They came into this weekend series still contending for a potential spot as a Wild Card team in the American League Playoffs. After the loss on Sunday, the Rangers are 5.5 games behind the Twins for the second Wild Card slot with seven games remaining to play.

The Rangers final seven games are all home games. They have a three-game series with the Astros that begins on Monday and a four-game series with the A’s that begins on Thursday.

The Twins are on a four-game winning streak.

Up next

The A’s begin their final three-game home series of the season on Monday night with Seattle Mariners. RHP Daniel Gossett (4-9,5.38) will start for Oakland while Seattle will send “King” Felix Hernandez (5-5,4.57) to the hill.

Athletics scratch out a 4-3 win over Mariners Saturday night in Seattle

by Charlie O. Mallonee

Oakland puts it together in the top of the ninth inning

ms healy double
Healy hits game winning RBI-double

In the top of the ninth inning on Saturday night, the game between the A’s and Mariners was tied 3-3. Seattle replaced Nick Vincent with Edwin Diaz on the mound.

Rajai Davis led the inning off by legging out an infield single on a ball hit to third baseman Kyle Seager. That brought a visit from the Mariners’ pitching coach but Diaz remained in the game.

Matt Joyce went down on strikes but Davis moved up by stealing second base on the strike three pitch. Marcus Semien then flied out to left field for the second out of the inning.

Seattle then decided they did not want to pitch to All-Star first baseman Yonder Alonso who had hit his 20th home run of the year earlier in the game so they intentionally walked him.

That brought A’s DH Ryon Healy to the plate. With a count of 0-2, Healy hit a line drive into right-center field that bounced into the stands for a ground-rule double. Davis scored but Alonso — who would have scored easily — by rule had to hold at third.

Jed Lowrie grounded out to first to end the inning and the A’s took a 4-3 into the bottom of the ninth.

The Athletics called in Santiago Casilla from the bullpen

Casilla induced Kyle Seager to fly out to left field for the first out and then struck out former Athletic Danny Valencia for second out of the inning.

Just when it looked like it would be an easy close for Casilla, Mitch Haniger hit a double to center field and the M’s had the tying run just 180-feet away from home plate.

After a coaching visit, Casilla was able to get Jarrod Dyson to fly out to left field for the final out of the game.

For Casilla, it was save number 15 of the season.

Chris Smith made his first MLB start for the A’s (BTW he is 36-years old)

ms smith

The A’s pitching staff is literally the walking wounded. Pitchers have moved on and off the disabled list on a regular basis. On Saturday night, the A’s had to turn to a 36-year old pitcher who had made 63 appearances in the major leagues but had never started a game.

Chris Smith made the start and even though he did not figure into the decision, Smith did the job he was asked to do by the Athletics. He worked 6.0-innings giving up three runs (all earned) on three hits. Smith struck out four Mariners and walked just one. He did allow one home run while throwing 97 pitches (55 strikes).

The A’s bullpen gave Smith the support he needed. Ryan Madson, Sean Doolittle and Santiago Casilla worked one-inning apiece and allowed no runs on one hit combined over those three innings. Doolittle picked up the win as he was pitcher of record in the top of the ninth when the A’s took the lead.

Top performers for the Athletics

  • Ryon Healy — had a 2-for-4 game including what proved to be the game-winning RBI-double in the top of the ninth inning. It was his 19th double of the year and his 52nd RBI. Healy also scored a run in the game.
  • Yonder Alonso — the All-Star first baseman hit his 20th home run of the season in the third inning off Seattle starter Andrew Moore. Alonso also lifted his RBI total to 43.
  • Marcus Semien — continued to show he is ready to be back on the field and be productive for the A’s. Semien hit his first home run of the season in the fifth inning off Moore. He 3-for-13 in the series with three RBI.

The A’s can win the series on Sunday and move up in the Wild Card Standings

Oakland (39-49) has won two of the three games in series in Seattle with the victory on Saturday night. A win of Sunday would give a series victory to Oakland and give them their 40th win of the season. That would be a very nice way to into the All-Star Break.

The A’s are currently just 6.5 games out of a Wild Card spot in the American League. In fact, no team in the AL in more than 6.5 games out of Wild Card contention. That should serve as motivation to this young A’s team.

Mariners stars at the plate

  • OF Jarrod Dyson — did everything he could to give his team a victory on Saturday night. He went 2-for-3 at the plate including a home run (5) in the fifth inning off Smith. Dyson also hit a double and upped his RBI total to 22.
  • Jean Segura — continued to be hot in the leadoff spot. He went 2-for-4 with a double, RBI and a run scored. His batting average stands at .355 after the game on Saturday.

Seattle on the hill

  • Andrew Moore — struggled over his 6.0 innings on the mound. He gave up three runs (all earned) on six hits while walking two and striking out two. Moore also issued two home runs which really was his undoing.
  • James Pazos — made his 35th appearance of the season working one inning of perfect baseball from the mound striking out one Oakland hitter.
  • Nick Vincent — worked the eighth inning for the M’s giving up one hit, one walk and striking out two.
  • Edwin Diaz — worked the disastrous ninth for Seattle and was hung with the loss.

Up next

The final game of the series and the final game before the All-Star Break will played on Sunday at 1:10 p.m. PDT.

The A’s will send rookie Daniel Gossett to mound to face the Mariners. He has a record of 1-3 with a 6.23 ERA in his five starts this season. The home run has been a problem for Gossett who has given up seven round-trippers in 26 innings.

Seattle will counter by sending the willey veteran King Felix Hernandez out to make the 368th start of his career. The King is 3-3 this season with a 5.04 ERA in nine starts. He had a no-decision in his last start versus the Royals when gave up five earned runs in five innings.

Athletics end three losing streaks with 2-1 win over Astros on Saturday night

by Charlie O. Mallonee

Astros alternative logoA's primary logo

The Oakland Athletics ended a five-game losing streak on Saturday night in Houston with a 2-1 win over the Astros. The victory also ended a 10-game winning streak by the Astros over the A’s that carried over from the 2016 season. Houston was 3-0 this season versus Oakland until Saturday night.

It’s not often that a team can end three losing streaks with one win.

This game was all about the pitching


astros triggs
Andrew Triggs won his fourth game of the season in Houston on Saturday night
  • RHP Andrew Triggs returned to his winning ways as he posted his fourth victory of the season by scattering five hits over seven scoreless innings. Triggs walked none while he struck out nine Houston batters. Triggs’ ERA dropped to 1.84. His record is now 4-1 for the season. He is tied with Dallas Keuchel and Ervin Santana for the most wins in the American League.
  • Ryan Dull (0.1-innings) and Sean Doolittle (0.2-innings) combined to handle the eighth inning. Doolittle allowed the Astros to score their only run of the game when Jose Altuve hit a solo home run (3) over the left center field wall with two out and no runners on base.
  • Santiago Casilla recorded his fourth save of the year by closing out the game. He gave up an infield single to Carlos Beltran who led off the ninth inning but was able keep the Astros from scoring and closed the game preserving the win for Oakland.


astros joe mosgrove
Joe Musgrove pitched well but took the loss for the Astros
  • Joe Musgrove (1-2) took the loss for Houston. Musgrove spread five hits over 6.1-innings while he struck out six batters and walked just one. His one major error came in the fourth inning with one out when Jed Lowrie hit his second home run of the season to right center field with no one on base.
  • Tony Sipp and Michael Feliz came in to close out the seventh inning for the Astros.
  • Will Harris came out of the bullpen for Houston in the eighth frame. Harris retired the first two Oakland hitters but then he had to pitch to Khris Davis. Davis took a Harris pitch deep to right center field for his 10th home run of year. That would turn out to be the game winning hit and run.
  • Brad Peacock worked the top of the ninth for the Astros. He had to face five A’s hitters to retire the side but he did so without allowing another run.

All the scoring came via the long ball


astros davis hr 2
Davis is tied for the lead in home runs in the American League
  • Khris Davis hit his 10th home run of the season which scored the A’s second and winning run. With 10 home runs, Davis is tied with the Yankees Aaron Judge for the lead in that category in the American League. It was his 17th RBI which ties his him for ninth in that stat. It’s also the second time this season he has gone yard in back-to-back games. The other time was against the Astros in Oakland on April 14 and 15.
  • Jed Lowrie hit his second home run of the season and upped his RBI total to five. He was the only Athletic to have a multi-hit game going 2-for-4.
  • The A’s collected a total of eight hits. Others in the hit parade were: Healy, Alonso, Vogt, Phegley and Pinder.
  • The A’s were 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position. They left eight men on base.


astros altuve hr

  • Jose Altuve put up his third home run of the year in the game and it gave him his eighth RBI of the season. He was the only Astro with a multi-hit game going 2-for-3.
  • Others posting hits were: Reddick, Beltran, Gurriel, Gattis and Bregman for a total of seven.
  • Houston was 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and left six men on base.

Key stat for the A’s

The Athletics committed no errors in the game. This is a very important stat to a team that is dead last in fielding percentage in the American League.

Up next

The A’s and Astros will close out their three-game series on Sunday morning 11:10 am PDT from Houston. RHP Jesse Hahn (1-1, 2.08) will take the hill for the Athletics. The Astros will send the undefeated Dallas Keuchel (4-0, 1.22) to the mound to the face the A’s in the “rubber game” of the series.

Giants bullpen gives up sure win in late innings

by Michael Martinez

SAN FRANCISCO – Johnny Cueto (13-3) appeared to have his first win since the All Star break in the bag after he threw a solid six and two thirds innings, allowing just three runs on eight hits with four strikeouts. Cueto also had a nice day at the plate putting together two hits and driving in a run. However, the Giants bullpen fell apart in the late innings and allowed the Orioles to make things competitive.

Hunter Strickland came in to relieve Cueto and got out of a seventh inning jam but gave up two runs in the seventh to let the Orioles back into the ball game, which included a solo shot by Mark Trumbo. The blast was Trumbo’s was number 34 of the season he still leads the AL in that category.

Derek Law replaced Strickland in the eighth and was able to limit the damage as the Giants still held a 7-5 lead heading into the top half of the ninth.

Then Santiago Casilla came into the game and not only let two runners get on base, but threw a hanging curveball right over the heart of the plate to Baltimore second baseman, Johnathan Schoop. Schoop made Casilla pay as he crushed the hanging breaking ball into the left field bleachers to give the Orioles the lead, eight to seven. The homer marked Casilla’s fifth blown save of the year.

“I have confidence in all my pitches,” Casilla said through interpreter Erwin Higueros. “I threw the curveball, and I just made a mistake. The ball didn’t break.”

The Giants then tried to make something happen off Orioles closer Zach Britton in the bottom of the ninth, but unfortunately could not get a run across the plate to push the game into extra innings. Britton added to his league leading save total, 37, as Baltimore sits just a half game behind the Toronto Blue Jays for first place in the AL East.

For San Francisco, its their 18th loss since the Mid Summer Classic and a real bad one after they held a six run lead heading into the top of the seventh.

The orange and black hit their stride at the plate, tallying 14 hits for seven runs and forced Orioles skipper, Buck Showalter,  to remove starter Wade Miley in the fifth inning.

Giants back up catcher Trevor Brown got the scoring started with an RBI single in the second inning. Brown got the start behind the dish after Buster Posey was a last minute scratch due to back tightness. The injury could have been sustained from the flight back and has gradually worsened, according to Posey.

Before Sunday’s ball game, Brown had been hitless in his last seven at bats, with just three hits in his last 19. But Brown made the most out of his start and was a huge spark for SF’s offense. He finished the game three for five with three RBIs.

“He’s been great,” Posey said about Brown’s performance this year. “He gave us a chance to win the game.”

Outfielder Hunter Pence also had a good game and it appears his swing could be coming into form. Pence hit a bomb to center field, 436 feet to be exact, and added a single during the Giants big fifth inning. Pence’s dinger was his first since returning from the disabled list. Prior to today’s game, Pence had not put one into the seats dating all the way back to May 18.

Fortunately, the Dodgers (65-52) lost to Pittsburgh on Sunday, 11-3, keeping the Giants a game ahead in the NL West.

After blowing a huge lead and taking a loss in what looked to be the Giants first back-to-back wins since July 30 and 31 as well as their second consecutive series victory, San Francisco will take on the Pittsburgh Pirates at home tomorrow night at 7:15 p.m. PT as Matt Moore takes the mound.

“I think everyone knows what’s at stake. I don’t think there’s really any motivation needed,” Posey said. “This time of the year, this is when it’s fun. Each game as we get further and further along will have a little more importance on it. I think the group of guys in here generally thrive in these situations.”

Giant objective: Close a deal for a closer

By Morris Phillips

Santiago Casilla literally fell off the mound at Petco Park in San Diego on Saturday night, the statistics over a half season plus are howling, and the fans have spoken, almost in unison.

The consensus? The Giants need change in their bullpen, starting with veteran closer Casilla.

And the response from the Giants’ brass? Not a peep… yet.

With the August 1 trade deadline approaching, and the team sporting baseball’s best record despite a rough weekend in San Diego, how is that?

Probably because the trade that’s nearly inevitable may be the biggest one Bobby Evans has consummated in his short tenure as the team’s general manager, and one of the biggest in the Brian Sabean era. Let’s just say some high-level, serious negotiating is about to commence.

Already, the smoke screens are up, with the Yankees saying publicly that they’re not interested in anyone the Giants have in their farm system. But here’s what we know: The Yankees are undeniably sellers in this year’s market, as they flounder around .500, and in fourth place in the AL East just ahead of this weekend’s meeting with the Giants in the Bronx. And even as they move closer to moving some high-profile talent, most notably relievers Andrew Miller and possibly, flamethrower Aroldis Chapman, they too aren’t eager to tip their hand.

But what the Yankees have, the Giants need. That’s readily apparent.

If these two teams do a deal the historical implications are huge. The Yankees with their five World Series titles since 1996 are the team of this most recent era of baseball, and they aren’t particularly interested in sharing that stage with either the Giants or the Red Sox, both next up with three Series titles each in that same span. Also Brian Cashman may have tenure and titles, but he doesn’t have the reputation within the baseball industry that Sabean has amassed by doing more with less.

Simply, the two most tenured GM’s  (for the purpose of this story labeling Sabean a GM emeritus) in the game aren’t necessarily comfortable trade partners, especially given that Sabean left the Yankees to take a bigger role with the Giants.

Clearly, the Giants have the ammunition to make a trade with the Yankees or anyone else. From top prospect Christian Arroyo to pitcher Tyler Beede, infielder Lucious Fox, and Single A pitcher Phil Bickford, the Giants are awash with prospects unlike they’ve been at any point since 2010. The Giants have seen their farm system grow in reputation by leaps with the major league success of homegrown stars Joe Panik, Brandon Crawford, Buster Posey, Madison Bumgarner and others. What just a few years ago was a minus, has clearly become a plus.

If not the Yankees, look for the Giants to entice the Pirates with Mark Melancon, or the Rays with Alex Colome. Jeremy Jeffress of Milwaukee could be another rising star the Giants attempt to acquire.

But whatever transpires, don’t expect to hear a lot before it actually happens. Even broadcaster Mike Krukow seemed to be following the company line when he spoke on KNBR, saying that as constituted, the Giants’ bullpen has one logical guy to be the closer, Casilla, someone who he says has proven that he has the mental toughness to get the job done. With so many buyers, and only so many quality relievers available, the Giants tipping their hand, or overplaying their desire to close a deal, could simply drive up the price.

Casilla’s five blown saves are the second most of any reliever in baseball, and the bullpen as a whole has already blown 18. As it stands, with the long absence of Sergio Romo, and the struggles of Josh Osich and Hunter Strickland, the Giants’ bullpen lacks defined roles. The arrival of a flame throwing closer could change all that, bumping Casilla and Romo back, and creating a more defined back end of the pen. Also, even as high as the Giants are on both Strickland and Osich, one of the two also could be moved if it brings back the desired leader of the bullpen.

The Giants see what everyone else sees going on in their bullpen, but unlike the fans and the pundits, they don’t have a say a word. They have to close a deal.

Everything OK with the Giants? A closer look at the Bochy-Casilla flareup

Giants wait

By Morris Phillips

Looking for a statistical category that shows the NL West-leading Giants on top of the heap?

Well, after 40 ballgames, and nearly 25 percent of the season completed, there was just one heading into Monday’s off day—innings played.

And what conclusion can be drawn from that statistic? That after playing 17 games in 17 days—and winning the last five–this group’s enjoying a much-needed day of rest.

As for the remaining 122 games in the 2016 regular season, the Giants might want to give this directive a shot: work smarter and make things easier.

In beating the Diamondbacks in Phoenix four straight over the weekend, the Giants did something they hadn’t done in more than a century. They swept a four game series on the road while scoring just 14 runs, the fewest they’ve scored in such a road sweep since 1910.   This is a team leading a torturous existence, and that constant tension caused by repeated close games seemed to spilled over on Thursday when closer Santiago Casilla voiced his displeasure with how manager Bruce Bochy removed him from a save situation with the bases loaded, two outs, and the Giants clinging to a 4-2 lead.

“He didn’t want to come out,” Bochy said of Casilla storming off the mound angrily, prompting Bochy to call Casilla back in attempt to get the reliever to change his attitude. “You want these guys not to want to come out, but he got a little too emotional.”

“The reason I got upset was because he took me out of the game where I thought he had confidence in me,” Casilla said through an interpreter.

Casilla went on to say that he deserved an explanation for the rare move of removing a closer just one out from the potential conclusion of the game. Instead, Casilla said, Bochy took the ball and said nothing.

The incident was hashed over in private the next day, and Casilla was summoned to get the final two outs in the Giants 3-1 win on Friday. Casilla apologized publicly, and Bochy stated the incident was brushed over, but the manager took heat for his actions from the media, just as did his closer for his hot-headed departure.

ESPN’s Dan LeBatard reacted emotionally on his radio show, saying rather harshly that Bochy treated his player like a dog, not an adult. LeBatard especially was displeased that Bochy called Casilla back to the mound in an attempt to get the closer to immediately change his attitude, saying that Bochy should have admonished Casilla in private after the game, not on the field in front of the cameras and the assembled crowd.

Casilla’s thoughts were similar to LeBatard’s as he also said after that game, “Don’t just take the ball and say nothing. It is not a kid. It is a man on the mound.”

Did the incident speak of a bigger issue within the team’s clubhouse, perhaps a ball club divided? Probably not, given the team’s past harmony and all of the familiar, long time faces on the coaching staff and the roster that have plenty of time to adjust to each other’s personalities and idiosyncrasies.

But the incident surely points to this: close ballgames take a toll on a team, especially at the rate the Giants play them. Twenty-one of the team’s 40 games thus far have been decided by one or two runs, and five games have gone into extra innings. All five of the team’s wins on their current streak fit into one or both of those categories.

Call it Torture 2016.

On Tuesday, Madison Bumgarner takes the ball in the opener of a three-game series in San Diego. He’ll be opposed by the Padres’ Colin Rea, a pitcher who has shown marked improvement since he was lifted in the fourth inning of his first start of the season on April 8. In that one, Rea allowed six hits, four walks and five runs in a game the Padres rebounded to win 13-6 over the Rockies. Since then, Rea has thrown at least five innings in all six starts, including an eight-inning effort against the Mets in which he picked up the win, allowing one run, three hits.




Walk off walk: Giants avoid sweep thanks to Toronto’s 13th-inning gifts


By Morris Phillips

Professional baseball players are no different than anyone else: If you’re about to embark on a business trip plane ride out of town, after a bullish day at work, but yearning to bathe in momentary contentment, occasionally, you have to walk, not run.

The Giants avoided being swept at home by the Blue Jays on Wednesday afternoon by getting the very most out of what’s often considered the least, a walk. In this case, with the bases loaded in the 13th inning to end 4 ½ hours of baseball, avoiding a 2-5 finish to a frustrating home stand, giving it just a bit more significance which manager Bruce Bochy captured.

“Especially having the lead like that, we coughed it up, that would have been a tough one to lose, and get swept, to hit the road on, and (we) kept fighting.”

“I’ll take the walk.”

Still early in a marathon of a season, the Blue Jays and Giants, both 18-18, leave San Francisco in entirely different moods. For the Giants, a lighthearted jaunt to Phoenix to see the Diamondbacks. For the Jays, a longer, slightly quieter flight to Dallas for a weekend with the Rangers.

“The guys played a good game out there,” Toronto’s John Gibbons said. “We came back to tie it against a good pitching staff, we battled our asses off. We came up short.”

Gibbons most regrets the comfortable path his team allowed the Giants in the 13th. With reliever Ryan Tepera pitching, Brandon Belt was hit by a pitch, then Denard Span’s bunt was poorly handled allowing Belt to take second, and Span first. Tepera’s wild pitch allowed both runner’s to move up, and prompted Toronto to walk the bases full, ahead of Matty Duffy’s line out to first, and a four-pitch walk to Buster Posey to end it.

“I mean, you get to a point where you’re almost four-and-a-half hours in, it doesn’t really matter,” Posey said in jest.

The Giants won two 13-inning contests on the home stand, proving once again, they never shy away from tense ballgames that other clubs might consider torture. But all their warts were exposed in the series with the Jays: an offense slathered in molasses, a bullpen trying to find itself, starters too with Peavy and Cain starting–and losing–the first two games, and then on Wednesday a meltdown with closer Santiago Casilla on the mound.

Putting a personal side on the Giants woes, Buster Posey narrowly avoided the worst hitless streak of his career with a single in the first, ending an 0 for 18 slide.

The Giants led 4-1 buoyed by Madison Bumgarner’s quality start, which took the Giants deep into a game with a lead of more than a run for the first time in a week. But Cody Gearrin relieved Bumgarner in the seventh, then opened the eighth by allowing a pair of singles before hitting Troy Tulowitzki to load the bases. Russell Martin’s sacrifice fly made it 4-2, Josh Osich relieved, and allowed a run-scoring single to Justin Smoak, making it 4-3.

Casilla came on to close it in the ninth, but Michael Saunders homered over the center field fence on the ninth pitch of the at-bat. For Casilla, it marked his third blown save in 14 appearances, for Saunders a nice bounce back after he saw a batted ball glance off his head on Monday, his first career game at AT&T Park.

The Giants open a four-game set on Thursday in Phoenix with Johnny Cueto facing fellow, deep pocketed free agent signee Zach Greinke at 6:40pm PST.