A’s fall to Angels 3-2 as race for Wild Card spots tightens up

Photo credit: @Athletics

By Jerry Feitelberg

The A’s fell to the Los Angeles Angels 3-2 on Tuesday night at Angel Stadium. The A’s needed the win to keep the Tampa Bay Rays and Cleveland Indians from closing in on a playoff berth. With the loss and wins by the Rays and the Indians, the A’s find themselves just a 1/2 game ahead of the Rays for the first Wild Card and one game ahead of the Indians for the second Wild Card. The Angels, playing the role of spoilers, scored three runs in the fifth inning to down the A’s 3-2.

The A’s put two on the board in the top of the fourth. With two out, right fielder Ramon Laureano beat out a slow roller for an infield hit. A’s DH Khris Davis blasted his 23rd homer of the year to left center field to give the team a 2-0 lead.

The Angels plated three runs in the bottom of the fifth. Taylor Ward and Matt Thais singled to put runners on at first and second with no out. A’s starter Homer Bailey struck out Caleb Cowart for the first out. Angels shortstop David Fletcher singled to drive in Ward with the Angels’ first run. Brian Goodwin, filling in for the injured Mike Trout, blooped a double just over the outstretched glove of A’s third baseman Matt Chapman for a double. Thais scored on the play. Bailey retired future Hall of Fame player Albert Pujols on a fly ball to left field. The ball was hit deep enough that allowed Fletcher to tag up and score the winning run.

The Angels’ bullpen shut down the A’s offense to secure the win for Los Angeles.

Game Notes: Homer Bailey lost for the first time in his last eight starts. Bailey’s record dropped to 13-9. He went five innings and allowed eight hits and three runs. Lefty Dillon Peters was the winning pitcher and improved to 4-3 for the year.

The A’s line was two runs, six hits, and no errors. The Angels’ line was three runs, 10 hits and no errors.

The A’s are now 94-63 for the year. Tampa improved to 94-64 with a 2-1 win in eleven innings over the New York Yankees. The Yankees needed the win as they trail the Houston Astros for the best record in the American League. The Indians beat the White Sox 11-0 and are now 93-64.

Up Next: The A’s hope to get back on the winning track Wednesday night. They will send Frankie Montas to the hill. Montas has a record of 9-2 and will be making his first start since being suspended for 80 games for using an illegal substance. Lefty Andrew Heaney will go for the Angels.

The A’s have an 11-7 record against LA and cannot afford any losses in the next five games. They do not want to fly east to face Tampa in the Wild Card game. They do not want to be tied with Cleveland for the second Wild Card. Each game is important and they have to play as if it were an elimination game. They have the talent to win. All they have to do is go out and win.

A’s beat the Astros 3-2 and win the series 3-1

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Graphic: @Athletics

By Charlie O. Mallonee @Charlieo1320

First, the Oakland Athletics defeated Justin Verlander (18-6) for the first time since 2013 on Thursday night. Secondly, they won the four-game series from the Astros 3-1 by winning the final game 3-2. The A’s record improved to 87-60 for the season.

The Athletics have now won three consecutive games and are now in sole possession of AL Wild Card Slot #1 by ½-game over the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays lost on Thursday night to the Texas Rangers 6-4.

The A’s got to Verlander early

If you are going to beat Justin Verlander, you have to get to him early in the game. Oakland scored their first run of the game in the top of the first inning when rookie Seth Brown doubled to left field to drive Marcus Semien home to score the first run of the game.

In the top of the third inning, Marcus Semien led off with a single to left. With one out, Matt Olson hit a towering fly ball for a two-run home run into the upper deck in right field off a Verlander fastball. It was Olsen’s 32nd home run of the season.

That would be all the scoring for the A’s in the contest, but it would prove to be all they would need.

The A’s starter won the game

Homer Bailey made the start for Oakland and recorded the win (13-8). He worked 5.1-innings allowing just one run (earned) off three hits. Bailey struck out four Astros and walked three.

The A’s used five pitchers in the game.

Liam Hendriks picked up his 21st save of the season closing out the game for the A’s.

Final Totals

For the A’s: 3 runs, 6 hits, 1 error, 5 Left on Base

Up next

The A’s have to play outside in the heat and humidity of the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex versus the Rangers. It should be about 92-degrees with 58-percent humidity at game time on Friday night.

The A’s will send RHP Chris Bassitt (10-5, 3.63 ERA) to the hill to face the Rangers LHP Brock Burke (0-1, 3.52 ERA). Bassitt won his last start versus the Tigers at the Coliseum last Saturday night.

A’s are “double trouble” for Astros as they win 7-1 and tie Houston for first place

Photo: @Athletics

By Charlie O. Mallonee

OAKLAND — The Oakland Athletics beat the Houston Astros 7-1 at the Oakland Coliseum on Saturday afternoon and are now tied for first place in the American League West. Fans were in disbelief that the A’s (74-49) were in contention for the Wild Card in the AL, but now, the Green and Gold are fighting to win their division. Virtually none of those fans thought that was a possibility before the season began.

Strong starting pitching and power hitting was the key to the A’s win on Saturday.

Trevor Cahill (5-2) started the game for Oakland. He has been pitching the lights out in the Coliseum with an ERA under one at home. Cahill continued his mastery of opponents in his home stadium as pitched seven innings of shutout baseball, allowing the Astros just one hit. The right-hander struck out seven batters and walked just one. Cahill threw 100 (62 strikes).

The A’s also went on another power surge on Saturday as they hit eight doubles which tied an Oakland single-game record, but you were not allowed to hit just one double – you had to hit two. All of the extra base hits were recorded by four A’s hitters. Khris Davis (24), Stephen Piscotty (33), Matt Olson (26) and Josh Phegley (6) hit all of the “two-baggers” for Oakland versus Houston. The A’s posted a total of 11 hits in the contest.

More A’s

  • The A’s were trailing the Astros by 12 games back on June 18. Today they are tied for first place.
  • Oakland’s 74-69 (.602) record is tied for third best in the majors. It is tied for fourth place in A’s history after 123 games.
  • Khris Davis’ double in the first inning snapped a 0-13 hitless streak.
  • Matt Olson’s two doubles extended his hitting streak to six games.
  • Matt Chapman’s 14 game hitting streak and 30 game on-base streak came to an end on Saturday when he went 0-for-4 in the game.
  • Add on Trevor Cahill: he retired 20 of the 22 batters he faced in the game. The A’s have won Cahill’s last seven starts.

Astros’ notes

  • The A’s scored two runs in the bottom of the first inning which means the Astros opponents have now outscored them 56-55 in the first inning.
  • Alex Bregman’s road on-base streak continues as he picked up a base-on-balls on Saturday. His streak currently stands at 38 games.
  • The ‘Stros recorded just two hits in their loss on Saturday. It was just the third time this season they posted two or fewer hits in a game.
  • Dallas Keuchel (9-10)–who was charged with the loss–saw his four-game road winning streak come to an end.

Up Next

The A’s and Astros wrap up the three game series on Sunday at 1:05 pm PDT on Sunday.

The Astros will send RHP Justin Verlander (11-8, 2.52) to the mound in an attempt to salvage one win in the series. The A’s will go with their ace LHP Sean Manaea (11-8, 3.44). Manaea won his last start on Monday in Oakland over the Mariners 7-6. He is 1-1 in three starts versus the Astros this season.

Giants Bullpen Collapses Again, Lose 3-2 Against St. Louis

By Shawn Whelchel

AP photo: A picture says a 1000 words in one game earlier this season San Francisco reliever Santiago Casilla was angry for being lifted but in this Saturday photo Santiago sympathizes with what his manager Bruce Bochy has to do and lifts Casilla from the game against the St Louis Cardinals at AT&T Park in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO- Just as the team looked to have turned a corner on its second-half struggles, the Giants bullpen collapsed yet again to drop a tight game to the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday.

St. Louis strung together two runs on two hits and a walk to steal a 3-2 lead from the Giants in the top of the ninth. And for a manager renowned for his ability to work his bullpen, a questionable decision at the game’s most crucial moment proved to be the Giants’ downfall.

Yet again, Bruce Bochy put his faith in former closer Santiago Casilla to close out a tight ballgame. And yet again, he was mistaken in doing so.

Clinging to a one-run lead, Casilla entered in the bottom of the ninth win a man on first. An ill-advised walk and a seeing-eye single later and Casilla had blown his ninth save attempt of the season.

After warming up Hunter Strickland, Bochy would elect to replace Casilla with Matt Reynolds, who would lose the lead on a sacrifice fly to his first batter of the night. San Francisco would threaten with two singles in the bottom of the ninth, but couldn’t complete the comeback attempt.

The collapse erased what what a magnificent pitching performance by starter Jeff Samardzija, who allowed just one run on seven hits across 6 2/3 innings. Perhaps even more damaging is the fact that both the New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers won their games, hurting the team’s chances at a playoff birth.

After the game, Bochy talked about Samardzija’s dominant outing.

“He did a great job. He gave us all we needed and it’s a great start, a quality start,” said Bochy. “Leake, we couldn’t do a whole lot off of him but we found a way to get a couple runs, and we’re a couple out away from winning the ball game. That’s been part of our issue.”

After the game, Bochy said that his decision to pull Romo- who started the ninth inning- in favor of Casilla was an attempt to play the matchups based on history.

“We said if it got to Molina there, he’s had success off of Romo, and Casilla would be a better matchup,” said Bochy. “For some reason, Molina has seen the ball pretty good off of Sergio (Romo), and you go off history. That’s why the change was made there”


After suffering at the hands of yet another two-out-rally by the Giants last night, the Cardinals looked to flip the script on Samardzija, jumping out to an early lead when Brandon Moss parked an opposite field shot with two down in the first inning.

As they’ve done so often lately, the Giants’ bottom half of the order-anchored by the streaking Hunter Pence- kicked off the scoring for San Francisco on Saturday night. The Giants got on the board after a deep drive by Brandon Belt to the center field warning track would plate Pence, who singled before him.

The Giants threatened to put up another crooked number, but a spectacular diving play by Cardinals’ first baseman Matt Adams would end the inning by doubling up Eduardo Nunez at first.

San Francisco would look like the team of old in the bottom of the fifth frame, as third baseman Eduardo Nunez would use his speed to steal two straight bags off the Cardinals after leading off with a single. The pair of swipes would set up a sacrifice fly from Samardzija to plate the go-ahead run.

After issuing his fourth walk of the night with two outs in the seventh, Bochy would elect to use his bullpen to close the books on Samardzija’s impressive night. Lefty Will Smith would do just that, getting pinch hitter Jhonny Peralta to fly out to deep right field to end the threat.

Samardzija would walk away with an impressive line that saw him allow just one run on seven hits through a strong 6 2/3 innings.

But the Giants’ bullpen woes would rear their ugly head to erase his strong effort. After getting the leadoff batter, Sergio Romo would promptly give up a seeing-eye single to allow the tying run on board.

In a surprising move, Bochy would elect to trust the struggling Santiago Casilla in a tight spot. Like so many other times, this would prove to be an unwise decision by the skipper known for his bullpen management.

Casilla would start his night off with an ill-advised walk to his first batter, Yadier Molina, move the tying run into scoring position. Casilla’s night would be short, but costly, as Randal Grichuk would follow Yadier with a single past the outstretched glove of a diving Crawford to tie the game at 2-2.

Reliever Matt Reynolds would then retire his next two batters, but not before a sac-fly by Kolten Wong would give the Cardinals their first lead of the game.

San Francisco would threaten with a two-out rally after Eduardo Nunez and Denard Span would lace a pair of singles, but pinch hitter Connor Gillaspie would hit a routine pop-up on his first pitch to end the game.





A-Rod’s grand slam puts Yanks on top of Giants

By Pearl Allison Lo

Behind in the count with two outs , Alex Rodriguez changed the game and also passed Lou Gehrig for most grand slams with 24, as New York beat San Francisco 5-1 Friday.

Giants’ starter Tim Lincecum was lifted in favor of George Kontos after 121 pitches and the bases loaded.  Rodriguez entered the inning just 1 for his last 25 and was behind 2-1 when his hit landed with the spectators in deep right field, leading to a much needed win for his team.

It was a tie game since early on in the matchup.

The Yankees’ Alfonso Soriano hit a leadoff home run in the bottom of the first to make the score 1-0.

The Giants tied the game the following inning.  Brandon Crawford was issued a leadoff walk.  One out later, rookie Juan Perez doubled Crawford back to home plate to make it 1-1.

Rodriguez’s grand slam set up came in the bottom of the seventh.  Eduardo Nunez led off with a single and stole second after one out. Brendan Ryan was then hit by a pitch and a fielder’s choice left runners on first and second once again.  Ichiro Suzuki then walked to load the bases.

Sabathia was lifted in the top of the eighth after 107 pitches and issuing a leadoff single in the game that featured two former Cy Young winners .

Lincecum threw two wild pitches in addition to his two walks in his first game playing against New York

San Francisco had a one out, runners on the corners scoring opportunity in the top of the first.

The Yankees also had the bases loaded with two outs in the bottom of the third.

Game notes: During the game, Lincecum became the first Giants pitcher with 1,500 strikeouts since  Gaylord Perry in 1971.  Both teams get right back to playing Saturday at 10:05 am with two morning games in a row.

The Wild Card Race

by Jerry Feitelberg

The Wild Card Race

Well, here we are in the homestretch. The Dodgers won the NL west division and the Red Sox

are in the playoffs but haven’t clinched the AL east yet. The Wild Card race in the American League looks like it will go down to the final day. 2012 saw the addition of a second WildCard team and the

Wild Cards have a one game playoff to determine who plays in the Division Championship series.

The extra Wild Card is great for the fans. In the old days before 1969, the team with the best record in each league would advance to the World Series. Divisional play started in 1969 but there were just two divisions in each league. The divisional champs would play for the league championship then advance to the World Series. However, in 1994, due to expansion, each league now had three divisions. Baseball

needed a mechanism so that there would be four teams in the playoffs in each league and baseball came up with the Wild Card. There was no World Series in 1994 due to the players’ strike. However, the new format appeared in 1995 and has been used ever since.

Teams know that if they can somehow make it into the playoffs they have a chance of going to the World Series. As of Thursday evening, six teams are in the race for the two Wild Card slots in the American League. If play were to stop as of today, the Tampa Bay Rays and the Texas Rangers would be the Wild Cards. The Rangers were one of the Wild Card last year and were bounced out by Baltimore in the one game playoff. However, if either the Rays or the Rangers falter, Cleveland is right there as they are just a half game back of the Rays and Rangers. Baltimore’s hopes are fading as they are one and half games behind Tampa and Texas. Kansas City is 2 ½ back and the Yankees are three back.

Over in the National League, there is a three way race for the Division Title. St. Louis holds a game edge over the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati is two games back. The way its going, the Division champ and Wild Cards won’t be determined until the final game of the year. In any case, the Wild Cards will be from the NL Central.

The race for a playoff spot is fun for the players and fun for the fans. Think back to 2011 as the Boston Red Sox and Atlanta Braves both faltered in September and were eliminated from the Wild Card race on the last day of the season. So, stay tuned , fans as you never know what will happen. That’s why we

love baseball.