Hey...that's a win! I quite literally never see these! I don't even know how to recap a series win, it feels a lot like Christmas, with baseball. After a seesaw battle ended with a win for Pat Venditte (and in which he recorded his first major league at-bat after pitching both the 10th and 11th), after the Diamondbacks played at the A's level, as both teams committed costly errors in the early innings, after a whole lot of good bullpen action, and not too bad starting pitching, the A's emerged from the dust of the eleventh inning with a series win.
Today's hot topic in the game thread concerned Billy Burns and his stolen bases this season. I've been complaining forever about how (seemingly) little he runs, in perfect running situations with no one else on base, and today was no exception. Despite reaching base three times via two hits and a walk, Burns didn't steal a base today, watching six pitches in the first with no outs before being weirdly picked off first (well "picked off"; the replay wasn't going to be overturned) and two in the third with two outs before he scored on an error. His third baserunning appearance was ruined by Jesse Chavez literally not knowing how to touch second base. As it was pointed out multiple times in the game thread, there are approximately a million more pressing things to complain about this 2015 A's team than Burns' 25 stolen bases on the year, but I remain puzzled at his silence on the basepaths in a season that is long over and has now been reduced to "seeing what we have for next year". To get into the SBO% statistics requires dipping into paid-subscription sites, so suffice to say, Billy Burns may not have Billy Hamilton-like speed, but there isn't much argument that he's one of the fastest players in the league and in a season of absolutely nothing, I'd frankly like to see what we have for next year, because his speed is his asset to the A's.
But onward we go, to the game recap! The combination of Jesse Chavez and Stephen Vogt at first couldn't make a routine play in the second inning, leading to the first two runs of the game. But the Diamondbacks threw some shoddy defense out of their own, with two outs in the third inning, Burns walked and Canha grounded out, but the ball was thrown away far enough for Burns to score from first. A triple by Josh Reddick tied the game.
Of course, it wouldn't be a Chavez start without the obligatory home run, this time in the third inning to David Peralta, to regain the lead for the Diamondbacks. A solo home run by Stephen Vogt in the fourth tied the game at three, where it would stay until the seesaw picked back up in the later innings.
Jesse Chavez did indeed record a single to open the fifth inning and Billy Burns hit what should have been a double right after. Chavez stumbled around second, went back to touch the base, and with Burns running hard to second, had no choice but to continue on to third base, where he was tagged out by 20 feet, ending a promising rally. #pitchersbattingisthedumbestthingeverNL Yes, Chavez has very little experience at the plate or on the bases, but I assume he has watched a baseball game, and his TOOTBLAN will remain the funniest of the year. The A's put two more runners on base with on one out with singles by Valencia and Vogt in the sixth, but they wouldn't score either. It would take until the seventh inning to break through, as a Coco Crisp single and a Canha double scored Crisp all the way from first to give the A's a 4-3 lead.
If you're looking for more positives, give a gold star to the A's pitching staff for handling the very good Paul Goldschmidt in this series. Sure, they gave up a home run on Friday night that hasn't landed yet, but that was his only hit in either Friday or Saturday's game, and they held him to a single tonight, smushed around a couple of walks. More importantly, Sean Doolittle looked rather awesome in the eighth inning, throwing both a slider and a change-up, recording two strike outs and a pop up in his appearance.
By contrast, Drew Pomeranz did not look awesome in the ninth inning, allowing two singles and the sacrifice fly that tied the game at four. The A's mounted a threat against the very good Diamondbacks' closer, Brad Ziegler in the tenth, as they loaded the bases with one out on singles from Phegley and Semien and a brain freeze by the right side of the infield that allowed Sogard a "single", but Smolinski grounded to third to force the second out at home and Burns grounded out to end the inning.
Pat Venditte used both hands to record a scoreless tenth, and in an interesting move by Chip Hale, he chose to put Ziegler back out on the mound. He recorded the first two outs, but allowed singles to Valencia and Vogt before hitting Phegley to load the bases. Semien singled in two runs, and Sogard the third. Venditte took the count full, but struck out looking in his first at-bat.
I applaud Melvin going with the "hot" pitcher instead of making yet another pitching change, allowing Venditte to pitch the eleventh inning, as well, allowing a leadoff single, and a deep fly ball to Goldschmidt to end the game, the key to the inning that he was not the tying run.
All in all, a hard-fought win by the A's, a three-hit day for Stephen Vogt, and eighteen hits overall for the offense. Despite the pesky defensive woes that continue to plague this team, and yet another blown save, we could have been watching a real baseball game.
The A's look to ruin the Angels' season as the green and gold welcomes in the Angels in a series starting tomorrow night. We'll see you back here with all the action.