The Oakland Athletics beat the Cleveland Indians 5-4 after Chris Bassitt pitched into the seventh inning for the first time this season and earned a quality start. The A's did not score quite early enough for him to earn the decision, but this time he was never in danger of taking the loss after Eric O'Flaherty preserved his 2-2 tie.
Bassitt was pitching in front of at least 50 family/friends. Says he's been an Indians fan since birth, called it an "unreal experience."— Jane Lee (@JaneMLB) July 12, 2015
The A's never lost the lead in this one, and the difference in the victory this time was a small mistake that allowed an extra run to score by the opponents, rather than the reverse.
Sogard says it's nice to win a one-run game after other team's small mistake than the other way around (which was A's MO so much of season).— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) July 12, 2015
On the board first again
After Billy Burns struck out to start the game, Stephen Vogt doubled to left, advanced to third on Ben Zobrist's single to right, and came home on Josh Reddick's sacrifice fly.
After that, however, the A's appeared to be falling back into their recent pattern of scoring first and never again. Beginning with Reddick's sacrifice fly in the first, Indians starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco retired nine consecutive A's. Through six innings, Carrasco faced just two batters over the minimum.
Chris Bassit's changeup
Making his third start for the A's, Chris Bassitt retired his first five batters before hitting Brandon Moss on the toe. He did not allow a hit until there was one out in the third inning and faced just three over the minimum through five innings.
A big part of Bassitt's success in Cleveland this evening was that his changeup was absolutely on point. He got all three of his strikeouts using that changeup and also completed one lineout and one groundout.
Blow-for-blow: The 6th
Bassitt first ran into sustained trouble in the bottom of the sixth inning. Though Mark Canha had made some nice plays in left field earlier in the inning, he ran an atrocious route to field a Jason Kipnis drive off the left field wall, and Kipnis was able to turn a double into a triple as a result. Michael Brantley brought Kipnis with an RBI single. After walking David Murphy, Bassitt's only walk allowed, both Carlos Santana and Brandon Moss flew out to left field to end the inning tied at one.
Blow-for-blow: The 7th
The A's responded in the top of the seventh against Carlos Carrasco when Ike Davis hit an RBI double to score Josh Reddick, who had reached on a double of his own. The Indians fired right back in the bottom of the seventh after catcher Roberto Perez singled home Giovanny Urshela, who had reached on a lead off double. Chris Bassitt finished the day after 6⅓ innings while Eric O'Flaherty kept the runner he inherited from scoring.
Blow-for-blow: The top of the 8th
Now tied at two, Indians manager Terry Francona went to his cavalcade of relievers. Zach McAllister retired Marcus Semien and Billy Burn, but Stephen Vogt hit a single. Francona called for Mark "Scrabble" Rzepczynski. Scrabble proved to be Oakland's good time reliever, as Ben Zobrist singled to advance Vogt and Josh Reddick walked. Francona's next choice was right-hander Bryan Shaw to face Billy Butler.
On the second pitch Billy Butler saw, he grounded a ball down the right field line as Carlos Santana was positioned well off the line. Both Vogt and Zobrist scored and Reddick advanced to third. But as Billy Butler jogged in to second base, Brandon Moss threw the ball in:
The ball deflected off Butler's body and into no man's land in shallow left field. An alert Josh Reddick scored from third on the throwing error charged to Brandon Moss. 5-2 A's.
Billy Butler on the throw by Brandon Moss that hit him at second, allowing Reddick to score: "Yeah, I was in the right spot there."— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) July 12, 2015
Blow-for-blow: The bottom of the 8th
Eric O'Flaherty was aked to face Michael Brantley with Ryan Raburn the potential pinch hitter on deck. O'Flaherty ran the count full but walked Brantley, and A's manager Bob Melvin turned to his own reliever parade. Eric O'Flaherty was not pleased with himself:
Edward Mujica entered and successfully retired Raburn. However, Carlos Santana hit a deep fly to right field to tighten the score to 5-4. Drew Pomeranz was brought in to face exactly one batter, Brandon Moss, and he got exactly one strikeout.
Tyler Clippard was called upon to get the four-out save but started his quest on a worrisome note. After going 2-and-0 on Giovanny Urshela, the third baseman launched a long fly ball to dead center. Billy Burns was able to corral it at the 400-foot sign to end the inning.
Blow-for-blow: The 9th
The A's could only muster a single against Bryan Shaw in the ninth, and so Tyler Clippard still needed to preserve a one-run game. Bob Melvin inserted Brett Lawrie into the defense in place of Marcus Semien, and moved Eric Sogard from third base to shortstop.
As far as Tyler Clippard ninth innings go, this was a breeze. Michael Bourn grounded out to second, Roberto Perez struck out swinging, and Jason Kipnis skied a shallow fly ball into Billy Burns' mitt to end the game. A's 5, Indians 4.
You could split the offensive player of the game title between Billy Butler and Josh Reddick tonight. Reddick went two-for-two with a walk and an RBI sacrifice fly, and he scored twice. Billy Butler, of course, had that two-RBI double that became a third run thanks to some cosmic force. Four A's had multi-hit games tonight: Reddick, Stpehen Vogt, Ben Zobrist, and Ike Davis.
The A's play their last game before the All-Star Break, beginning at 10:10 AM. The rubber match is an ace-off with Sonny Gray going against American League strikeout king Corey Kluber. Tonight, however, the A's snap a three-game losing streak and go to 40-50 by beating the Indians 5-4.