Game #66: A’s Blow Four Saves, Win 8-7

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Sometimes it’s easier to define a term by what it’s not, so Ray Fosse, take note: this game was not lit for 9.5 innings.

Matt Chapman didn’t get a hit and didn’t get to make a play at third until the seventh inning. Heck, he even struck out in a key situation, but I’m just as excited about what his presence means for the organization.

Yes, this wasn’t pretty and the usual suspects did their not-so-great thing. But at least the front office is doing something.

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After a rocky but scoreless top of the first for Sonny Gray, things were looking up. The A’s got out to an early lead thanks to a solo shot from the professional hitter, Jed Lowrie. It was his first right-handed homer in quite some time. 1-0 A’s.

In the top of the second, Sonny faced the minimum thanks to Chris Carter grounding into a double play. That’s the guy we know and “love.”

Matt Chapman ran the Major League bases for the first time in his career in the bottom of the inning. He walked on a few close pitches, and then advanced to third on a Josh Phegley ground-rule double. It was a bummer the ball bounced over the wall– I’d have loved to see Chapman’s wheels take him all the way home. It didn’t matter, though, because Rosales doubled Chapman and Phegley home. 3-0 A’s.

Sonny threw a clean top of the third.

Lowrie tripled in the bottom half of the inning with one out, but Khris Davis and Yonder Alonzo were unable to bring him home.

Save a walk and a wild pitch, Sonny escaped the top of the fourth unscathed. The A’s went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning, including Chapman’s first Major League K.

The Yankees went down easy in the top of the 5th.

Chad Pinder singled in the bottom half, but the other three batters were unable to make anything happen.

I’m sure the anticipation has been killing you: the top of the 6th is where the game went south. Aaron Judge struck out, but then Starlin Castro singled and Gary Sanchez walked. Didi Gregorious advanced the runners with a single to right, then Chase Headley brought both Castro and Sanchez home with a single out to Davis in left. Davis made as much as an effort as he can to get the ball home, but barely cleared the start of the infield dirt with his throw. I’d love to find out how someone who can hit the ball like he does can survive with a noodle for a right arm. Chris Carter then singled homed the tying run. 3-3 game.

Scott Emerson’s first move as pitching coach was pulling Gray for Sean Doolittle, who got the finals two outs of the sixth.

Yonder Alonso got the lead back with a solo shot in the bottom of the frame. Chapman made contact for a popout, and the Yankees sent in chad Green to take over for Jordan Montgomery. 4-3 A’s.

Doolittle struck out Aaron Hicks to start the 7th, then was replaced by Ryan Madson. Aaron Judge grounded out, then Starlin Castro singled and stole second despite a bullet from Josh Phegley that Lowrie just couldn’t hold on to. Gary Sanchez promptly doubled Castro home. 4-4 game.

Matt Joyce replaced Adam Rosales to lead off the seventh, and spurred the offense with a single. Rajai advanced him to second with a sac bunt, then Pinder singled him home.  5-4 A’s.

John Axford came in to pitch the eighth, and Pinder moved over to shortstop to make room for Joyce in right field. After striking out Chase Headley, Chris Carter homered to tie the game. I’m in no way saying that we should have kept Carter around for any reason, but jeez, of course he got to us. Daniel Coulombe finished off the innings. 5-5 game.

Another old friend, Tyler Clippard took the mound in the bottom of the eighth. Alonso singled, Healy K’ed, and Chapman walked. Dellin Betances replaced Clippard. Vogt pinch-hit for Phegley and also walked. Joyce grounded out, sending Alonso home, and then Rajai struck out. 6-5 A’s.

Santiago came in to try to close things out, for some reason. He got off to a good start in striking out judge, but then Castro doubled and Sanchez singled to score him. Casilla managed to get out of the inning with the just the one run and the blown save. 6-6 game.

To start the bottom of the inning, Pinder lined out. Lowrie singled (glad to see that trade value skyrocketing), then KD walked. Alonso K’ed, then Healy got hit square in the hand to take first base. With two outs and bases loaded, Matt Chapman got a warm welcome to the Bigs with a three pitch K to end the inning.

Free baseball time.

Liam Hendricks struck out Austin Romine to begin the innings, then gave up back-to-back singles to Brett Gardner and Rob Refsnyder (despite some defensive hustle on Chapman’s part). Judge walked and Castro sent Gardner home on a sac fly to Joyce. Oakland-hater Matt Holliday pinch hit for Ronald Torreyes and struck out.

Now the fun part! After Vogt and Healy both got out to start the inning, Rajai singled, then Pinder doubled, advancing Rajai to third. Giovanny Gallegos intentionally walked Lowrie, then Davis hit a weird popup to right center that just floated long enough for Castro to miss it and fall, dejected, to the ground. 8-7 A’s.

After 4 hours and 29 minutes of what Glen Kuiper called the “craziest game of the season,” the A’s walked this weird one off.

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