Showers in New York delayed Sunday’s game by an hour, although some tarp shenanigans undoubtedly provided entertainment for the viewing audience in Flushing.
But the game did start eventually and it started quickly for the A’s; for the third consecutive game, the A’s grabbed a first inning lead. Marcus Semien took the second pitch he saw over the wall in left field for his second big-fly of the year.
The Mets tied the game with a solo homer of their own in the third. With two outs, Daniel Gossett tried to bury a fastball in on Michael Conforto’s hands, but unfortunately for the A’s, the ball tailed back over the middle of the plate, and Conforto hit a missile off the facing of the second deck in right field.
However the A’s struck back immediately with another solo homerun, this time off Khris Davis’s bat. Rafael Montero was almost as good as Gossett, but on this occasion, he threw a slider that hung a bit over the outer third of the plate. Davis was caught off-balance slightly, but showed his strength, muscling the ball over the left field wall.
The A’s looked poised to extend their lead in the fifth. Matt Chapman opened the inning with a double and advanced to third on a wild pitch. But with still nobody out, Chapman was picked off third by Mets catcher Rene Rivera, ending the threat.
Things nearly unraveled for the A’s in the fifth. With two outs, Mets pitcher Rafael Montero collected his first career hit, a single to right field. Gossett struck out the next batter, Michael Conforto, but the ball bounced in the dirt and snuck through Bruce Maxwell’s five-hole, allowing Conforto to reach base and Montero to go from first to third. However, Gossett was able to escape by the skin of his teeth…more literally than you might think.
But the Mets did equalize one inning later. Jay Bruce led off the sixth with a line drive single. Lucas Duda followed with a strike out, but the following batter, T.J. Rivera, doubled down the left field line which pushed Bruce to third. The next batter, Jose Reyes, hit a sharp ground ball to second baseman Jed Lowrie, sharp enough that Lowrie considered coming home. Lowrie took the sure out at first instead, allowing the Mets to tie the game. After a walk, Gossett induced a Rene Rivera groundout, and the inning was over.
Just as the last time they lost the lead, the A’s struck back right away. For the second time in as many days, Matt Chapman went yard. With Montero still pitching, Chapman hit another hanging slider over the wall in left, more than making up for his earlier baserunning faux pas.
Daniel Coulombe pitched a clean seventh, collecting two groundouts and a strikeout. Newly-reacquired Blake Treinen did the same in the eighth. And Santiago Casilla was able to overcome a 1-out single from Wilmer Flores in the ninth to earn his 16th save. After an hour delay, the game went quickly, taking just 2 hours and 41 minutes.
Daniel Gossett pitched one of the best games of his young career. The Mets strike me as a team like the Rangers and Cardinals; when you look up and down their lineup, you have to wonder why they aren’t doing better in the win-loss column. Gossett varied speeds and location to hold their powerful offense to just two runs over six innings, and the bullpen did what a good bullpen should – held the door tightly shut.
The offense did their part too. Semien collected two more hits, including the homerun, and is looking closer and closer to being “back.” Khrush and Chapman both collected two hits as well, and Lowrie got on base three times himself. Rajai Davis came in late and stole his 19th base of the year. And Matt Olson worked a nice at bat to collect a pinch hit single.
The A’s stay in the Eastern time zone, but return to American League rules tomorrow aginst the Blue Jays. Against the struggling Francisco Liriano, it presents another opportunity for a win if Chris Smith can hold true to his recent form. Have a wonderful rest of your Sunday everyone!