Oakland A’s Saturday Game Wrap: A’s win a close one in St. Louis 3-2

Cards

by Charlie O. Mallonee

The Oakland Athletics ended up on the right side of a one-run game on Saturday night when they defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 3-2. For a team that has been on the wrong end of so many close games this season, to win a one-run game on the road against a team that may well wind up in the playoffs has to be a confidence builder.

The game was decided in the top of the eighth inning. With Oakland (56-73) trailing 2-1 and one out, the A’s Khris Davis lined a single to center. Rookie Ryan Healy extended his major league leading hitting streak to 13 games when he hit a double to left field that moved Davis up to third.

The Cardinals (68-60) made a pitching change after Healy’s double sending reliever Matt Bowman to the showers and bringing in Seung Hwan Oh to pitch. Max Muncy hit a grounder to first baseman Brandon Moss who decided to throw home to try and throw out Davis who was attempting to score from third. Davis scored and Muncy was safe on a fielder’s choice while Healy moved up to third. It was one of those “hero or goat” decisions that did not go the way Moss wanted it to go.

Brett Eibner was the next A’s batter and he hit a fly ball to shallow center field. When the ball was caught, Healy was on the third base bag and he took off for home. The throw home bounced away from catcher Yadier Molina and Healy scored what would turn out to be the winning run of the game.

The series is tied at 1-1 with the rubber game of the match to be played on Sunday.

On the Bump

RHP Zach Neal made his fourth start of the year for the A’s on Saturday. He gave up two runs (one earned) on six hits in 6.0 innings of work. He struck out six hitters and walked none. He did give up a home run Randal Grichuk. Neal threw 91 pitches (61 strikes) while facing 24 Cardinal batters. Despite his strong outing, Neal did figure into the decision.

LHP reliever Daniel Coulombe took over for Oakland in the bottom of the seventh inning. Coulombe worked 1.1 innings allowing no runs, no hits and no walks to go with three strike outs. He was the pitcher of record when the A’s took the lead in the top of the eighth inning so Coulombe picked up his second win of season.

The A’s changed pitchers with one out in the top of the eighth inning and RHP Liam Hendriks entered the game. Hendriks faced two batters and struck both out to end the inning.

The bottom of the ninth was closer time. RHP Ryan Madson set the side down in order allowing no hits and no walks while striking out one. He recorded his 26th save of the year.

The big story of the game for St. Louis was the start by RHP Alex Reyes. Mike Leake was scheduled to pitch but has be diagnosed with shingles and may be on the sidelines for sometime.

Reyes – who had to deal with a 50-game suspension earlier this year – made his first start for the Cards. He pitched 4.2 innings giving up just one run (earned) on two hits while striking out four and walking four. Reyes was pulled in the top of the fifth inning primarily due to pitch count. He had thrown 89 pitches (51 strikes) and with two men on base St. Louis manager Mike Matheny decided it was time for a pitching change. Reyes did not figure into the final decision.

Right-hand reliever Matt Bowman (2-5) who was on the mound when Davis scored and was responsible for Healy because he gave up the hit to the A’s third baseman took the loss.

RHP Seung Hwan Oh who gave up the sacrifice fly to Eibner was charged with his third blown save of the season.

In the Batter’s Box

The A’s scored their three runs on just four hits. They also took advantage of the four walks that were issued to them.

The spotlight has to be on Ryon Healy extending his hitting streak to 13 games. His batting average now stands at .281 with 39 hits including eight doubles and six home runs in 139 at bats. Remember this is from a young man who played his first 36 games of the season at Double-A Midland in the Texas League.

Khris Davis had a timely hit in the top of the eighth inning and scored the tying run for the A’s. He picked up his 83rd RBI of the year when he walked in the top of the fifth inning and forced catcher Bruce Maxwell home to score the A’s first run of the game.

The A’s do not win the game if Brett Eibner does not do his job and put wood on the ball that would become the sacrifice fly – RBI in the eighth inning that would win the game for Oakland.

Cardinals leadoff man Greg Garcia did his best going 2-for-4 and scoring a run on Saturday night. Garcia hit his eighth double of year off Zach Neal.

Center fielder Randal Grichuk also had a big game for St. Louis. Grichuck hit his 18th home run of the season in the second inning off Neal. He went 2-for-3 in the game with a run scored and a RBI (47).

Up Next

The A’s and Cardinals close out the three-game series on Sunday with first pitch scheduled for 11:15 AM PDT. RHP Andrew Triggs (0-1, 4.38) will start for the A’s and will face the Cardinals LHP Jamie Garcia (10-9, 4.37) who is looking his 11th win of the season.

Oakland A’s Saturday game wrap: Sale too much for A’s hitters, Sox win 6-2

Abreu

By Charlie O. Mallonee

Chris Sale was the first pitcher to win 14 games in the major leagues. It took him six games and 49 days to book his 15th win of the season. Win number 15 came on Saturday night in Chicago against the Oakland Athletics by the score of 6-2.

Sale pitched eight innings of scoreless baseball and gave way to his bullpen to close out the game in the top of ninth inning. The A’s seized on the opportunity to face someone else other than Sale and had the tying run on deck when Chad Pinder flied out to deep center field just three feet from the fence with two men on base for the final out of the game.

The Oakland loss ties the series at one game apiece with the rubber game of the match to be played on Sunday afternoon.

On the Bump

Left-handed starting pitcher Chris Sale (15-6) was the story of the night for the White Sox. The 6-foot-6 Sale came out and took control of the game from the beginning. He gave up no runs on just three hits. Sale faced 29 hitters and walked three while striking out eight. Sale wanted the win so badly he threw 120 pitches (74 strikes) in pursuit of the victory.

Nate Jones came on in the top of the ninth inning to close the game out for Sale and proved to be no mystery for A’s hitters. Jones gave up two runs (earned) on three hits and managed to get only one out. He was responsible two runners on base when he left the game.

Closer David Robertson had to enter the game for Chicago. He managed to get Yonder Alonso to strike out and Chad Pinder to fly out to deep center field for the final out of the game. Robertson picked up his 31st save of the season.

LHP Ross Detwiler started for the A’s and had one of those games that a pitcher would like to have erased from his memory. Detwiler (1-2) gave up six runs (earned) on 10 hits in just 4.0 innings of work. He walked one, struck out two and issued one home run. Detwiler threw 81 pitches (55 strikes) in four innings of work. He faced 23 batters. Bottom line, it just was not Detwiler’s night.

The A’s bullpen did all they could do to keep their team in the game. Daniel Coulombe, Chris Smith and John Axford combined to hold the White Sox scoreless over the 4.0 innings. In fact, the A’s relievers did not allow a baserunner in final four innings.

In the Batter’s Box

Every White Sox hitter except DH Justin Morneau had a hit in the game off Detwiler.

Jose Abreu led the way for Chicago going 2-for-3 on the night driving in two runs and scoring two runs. One of his hits was his 15th home run of the season and the other was his 28th double of the year. Abreu now has 66 RBI for the season.

Melky Cabrera went 2-for-4 at the plate for the Sox Saturday night. Cabrera also drove in two runs and scored a run. Cabrera hit his 29th double and recorded his 56th RBI in the game.

Danny Valencia had a 2-for-4 night for the A’s. Valencia started the Oakland mini-rally in the top of the ninth inning by hitting his 15th home run of the season into the seats in right center field.

Chad Pinder made his major league debut on Saturday night in Chicago. Pinder who was called up from Triple-A Nashville when Tyler Ladendorf went on the DL will play second base against left-handed starting pitchers. Pinder went 0-for-4 for the night but made the game interesting when he hit a David Robertson cut fastball that was up in the zone to deep center field with two runners on in the top of the ninth inning. Unfortunately, the ball was about three feet short of going over the wall and White Sox CF Adam Eaton was fast enough to haul it in for the final out of the game.

You’ve got to be kidding me

In the top of the ninth inning with one out and Ryon Healy on at first, Stephen Vogt hit a ground ball on the right side of the infield that was fielded by second baseman Carlos Sanchez. Sanchez tossed the ball to shortstop Tim Anderson. Anderson stepped on second base forcing out Healy and threw to first but Vogt was called safe.

A’s manager Bob Melvin challenged the call at second base. The video replay made it very clear that Anderson did not come within a foot of touching the bag. The call was overturned and Healy was called safe.

What happened next? Brett Eibner hit a line drive single to right that allowed Healy to score and moved Vogt up to second. Replay has changed the game.

Up Next

The plan was for Jesse Hahn to come off the disabled list and make the start versus the White Sox on Sunday. Those plans went on hold when Hahn did not feel right after throwing in the bullpen on Saturday. Hahn had felt good after pitching in Nashville on Tuesday but that was not the case on Saturday.

With Hahn on still on the DL, RHP Zach Neal – who had actually returned to the bullpen – will make another start for Oakland. Neal started last Sunday against the Mariners in Oakland. He worked 5.1 innings giving up five runs on eight hits. Neal has a record of 2-2 with a 5.19 ERA. He has a 7.98 ERA as starter and a 3.15 ERA as a reliever.

The White Sox will send LHP Jose Quintana to the hill on Sunday. Quintana in 9-9 on the year with a 2.85 ERA. This will be his third try at picking up win number 10.

Photo: Chicago Tribune

Seattle beats the A’s 8-4 to win the weekend series 2-1

neal

Photo by Associated Press Oakland A’s pitcher Zach Neal deals to the Seattle Mariners in the first inning of Sunday’s game at the Oakland Coliseum

By Charlie O. Mallonee

OAKLAND–The Oakland Athletics lost on Sunday to the Seattle Mariners by the score of 8-4. The loss also meant that the A’s lost the series to M’s 2-1. After the success the Athletics had versus the Orioles earlier in the week, losing the weekend series has to be a major disappointment especially as they have to head out on a six-game road trip.

The story of the game was really about starting pitching. The Mariners started left-hander Wade LeBlanc who they acquired from Toronto for a player to be named later or cash considerations. He had made six starts coming into today’s game and had a record of 1-0.

LeBlanc worked six innings giving up 3 runs (all earned) on five hits. He struck out seven A’s batters and walked just one. LeBlanc pitched well enough to get his team to into the seventh inning where the bullpen could take over and put the game away. LeBlanc did get the win and is now 2-0.

Zach Neal – who has moved from reliever to starter – made his second start of August on Sunday. Neal struggled as he had to deal with baserunners in every inning. His pitches were elevated and flat which hurt him against the Mariners strong hitters.

Neal gave up five runs (all earned) on eight hits in 5.1 innings of work. He threw 74 pitches (45 strikes). Neal worked hard but was never able to take command of the game on the mound. He was hung with the loss and is now 2-2 for the year.

Seattle third baseman Kyle Seager was an A’s killer on Sunday as he hit two doubles, drove in four runs and scored a run in his five trips to the plate.

For the Athletics, it was all about the long ball. Khris Davis hit his 30th home run of the season – a two-run shot. Ryon Healy hit his fifth round-tripper since being called up from Triple-A, and Brett Eibner hit his second home run in A’s uniform on Sunday.

Seattle scored eight runs off 12 hits and left seven runners on base. The A’s scored four runs on nine hits and left six men on base.

Seattle is now 62-54 on the season. Oakland is 52-66 for the year.

A Game of Challenges

One the more unusual challenges to an umpiring call was made in the top of fourth inning. Everyone in the Oakland Coliseum – including the Athletics – thought inning was over when they completed a six – four – three double play. Players had left the field. The in-between innings music and videos were playing.

Slowly players, fans, reporters and others began to notice that the umpires had the headsets on to the video replay center. Seattle manager Scott Servais had challenged the double play call saying A’s second baseman Tyler Ladendorf had not touched the base with his foot before throwing to first. Prior to video replay, this was known as the “in the neighborhood play”. If the shortstop or second baseman’s foot was “the neighborhood” or near the base, the defense got the call. With video replay, “in the neighborhood” is a thing of the past. The game was delayed three minutes and 50 seconds for the replay decision to be made.

Video replay overturned the out at second. The A’s had to retake the field as the top of the fourth inning would continue. With Dae-Ho Lee at second base, shortstop Shawn O’Malley came to the plate with two out for the Mariners. O’Malley hit the first pitch from Neal up the middle into center field driving home Lee for fourth run of the game.

As you might expect, the partisan A’s crowd let the umpires at the Coliseum and the video replay officials back East know what they thought of their decision to overturn the call at second when the runner came home to score.

The Athletics also made a successful challenge of their own in the game. In the top of the third inning, Robinson Cano was on first for Seattle with one out. Nelson Cruz hit a ground ball on the left side of the infield that was fielded by Oakland third baseman Ryon Healy. Healy threw the ball to Tyler Ladendorf who stepped on second base but then dropped the ball as he began transfer the ball from his glove to his throwing hand. Second base umpire Marty Foster called the runner safe.

Oakland manager Bob Melvin challenged the call saying Ladendorf had possession of the ball when he touched the bag therefore the runner should be out. It took the MLB Video Replay Center one minute and 21 seconds to agree with Melvin and overturn Foster’s call.

On the Bump

Zach Neal is now 1-2 as a starting pitcher for Oakland this season. He has a 7.28 ERA in those three starts.

Neal’s nightmare with Adam Lind is finally over. Coming into the game on Sunday, Lind had faced Neal twice and had hit two home runs off the right-hander. Lind came to the plate in the second inning of the game on Sunday and hit a 1-2 pitch from Neal into the second deck down the right field line. At that point Lind was 3-for-3 versus Neal with all three hits being home runs. Neal finally induced Lind to fly out to the left fielder in the top of the third inning. Nightmare over.

Daniel Coulombe worked 2.2 innings of relief for Oakland. He gave up three runs (all earned) on four hits. He struck out three and walked one.

Chris Smith worked the ninth inning for the A’s. He gave up no runs or hits while striking out one and walking one.

The Mariners used three relief pitchers – Storen, Caminero and Vincent. Combined they gave up one run on four hits in three innings of work. They struck out two hitters and walked none.

In the Batter’s Box

Marcus Semien who went 1-for-5 on Sunday (double) is batting.300 (15-for-50) for the month of August.

Khris Davis hit a home run in every game of the weekend series with Seattle. 17 of his 30 home runs have been hit in the Oakland Coliseum.

Danny Valencia had a 2-for-4 day at the plate and scored a run.

Norichika Aoki had a 3-for-5 day for Seattle and has now hit safely in 19 of his 20 games with an at bat against the Oakland A’s.

Seattle shortstop Shawn O’Malley went 2-for-5 at the plate including a double, a rbi and a run scored.

Defense

A’s third baseman Ryon Healy made nice diving catch in the top of first inning. With infield in a shift to the right side of the infield for left-handed hitter Kyle Seager, Healy was alone on the left side. Seager hit a flare to left field. Healy turned and ran into left field following the ball over his shoulder while fighting the sun. He stretched out and made a diving catch for the first out of the inning.

Not to be outdone, Khris Davis had a defensive gem of his own in the top of the second inning. Leonys Martin hit a fly ball into shallow left center field making Davis dive, stretch and slide in order to make the catch.

The Athletics did not commit an error in the game.

Doolittle to Rehab in Music City

Sean Doolittle – who has been on the disabled list with a strained left shoulder – is headed to Nashville for a rehab pitching assignment. The plan is to have Doolittle pitch on Wednesday and then again on Saturday. If everything goes as planned, Doolittle would rejoin the big club in Oakland for the Cleveland series that begins on Monday, August 22.

Jesse Hahn Update

Right-handed pitcher Jesse Hahn has been on the disabled list since August 5 due to a right shoulder strain. Hahn threw a 30-pitch bullpen session on Saturday and if everything is deemed positive medically, he could be headed off to a minor league rehab pitching assignment. If things go well, the plan is for Hahn to start the final game of the road trip in Chicago next Sunday against the White Sox.

Up Next

The A’s left for Texas after the game where they will begin a six-game seven-day road trip on Monday night. Unlike the last several series, the Athletics know their pitching rotation for the Texas games, and there will be no call ups of starting pitchers from Triple-A Nashville. The probable pitching match ups are:

Mon. 8/15 @ Texas LHP Ross Detwiler (1-0, 2.13) vs. LHP Martin Perez (7-8, 4.22) 5:05 PM

Tue. 8/16 @ Texas RHP Andrew Triggs (0-1, 5.50) vs. RHP Lucas Harrell (1-0, 5.74) 5:05 PM

Wed 8/17 @ Texas LHP Sean Manaea (4-7, 4.57) vs. RHP Yu Darvish (3-3, 2.77) 5:05 PM

Seattle moves on to Anaheim where they will start a four-game series with the Angels on Monday night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oakland A’s Tuesday night game wrap: Zach Neal Shines, the A’s squeak by the Orioles 2-1

by Jerry Feitelberg

AP photo: The Oakland A’s Zach Neal deals to the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday night at the Oakland Coliseum to improve his record to 2-1

OAKLAND–The Oakland A’s behind a strong performance by Zach Neal beat the Baltimore Orioles Tuesday night in Oakland. Neal, making his second start for the A’s, was terrific. He pitched five and 1/3rd innings allowing just two hits and one run. The A’s bullpen did a super job, too. Liam Hendriks retired all five hitters he faced, and John Axford kept the O’s scoreless in the eighth as he faced four hitters. Axford walked one and struck out two. Ryan Madson closed out the game in the ninth. The Orioles got the leadoff hitter on base via a single but Madson got the next hitter to hit into a double play. Madson walked Manny Machado but was able to strike out Chris Davis looking to end the game

The A’s scored twice in the bottom of the third to take a 2-0 lead. Miley gave up singles to Marcus Semien and Jake Smolinski. Danny Valencia doubled down the right field line to drive in Semien.Khris Davis hit a sacrifice fly to right to drive in Smolinski with the A’s second run of the inning.

The Orioles got on the board in the top of the fourth when their star center fielder, Adam Jones, sent a Zach Neal pitch into the bleachers to lead off the inning. For Jones, it was his twenty-second homer of the year. It was also the Birds’ first hit of the game as Neal had retired the first nine hitters he faced.

The Orioles threatened in the top of the sixth. Second baseman Jonathan Schoop led off with a double. Neal retired the next hitter, but that was the last hitter he would face. A’s manager Bob Melvin took him out of the game and brought Liam Hendriks to pitch. Hendriks did his job as he retired the next two Oriole batters to end the inning. Neal was outstanding as he went five and 1/3rd innings and allowed one run and just two hits. The A’s bullpen will have to shut down the hard-hitting Orioles the rest of the way to secure the win for Neal. A’s win 2-1

Game notes- The A’s won their second straight one-run game over the Orioles. The Orioles have hit 170 home runs so far this year to lead the AL in that department. Zach Neal, as mentioned above, was superb. He had to be as his opponent Wade Miley also pitched well. Miley went six innings plus and allowed six hits and two runs and took the loss. He is now 7-10 for the year with Seattle and Baltimore.
After the game, Zach Neal said this about being a starter “I was going to go until they took it away from me.” He said he “threw his sinker down in the zone and was able to spot his fastball.” Bob Melvin commented in a very short and succinct manner” boy; that was impressive.” Melvin also remarked that Liam Hendriks had been pressed into a different role due to his improved performance.”

Game three of the four-game series will be played Wednesday night at the Oakland Coliseum at 7:05 pm. Lefty Ross Detwiler will pitch for Oakland. The A’s obtained the veteran from Cleveland and Detwiler will be making his first start as an Oakland Athletic. Yovani Gallardo will pitch for Baltimore.