On a sunny Seattle day with the roof open, Stephen Vogt didn't waste any time to draw first blood. Vogt lined a solo homerun (14) over the left field wall in the first. Now that is the way to begin the final game of the season #162!
The Felix Fest hinted at by Vogt revved up in the third. Matt Olson picked up his first career double. Semien didn't leave him stranded with an RBI single that allowed him to advance on the throw home. Chad Pinder got into the action early as a pinch hitter for Stephen Vogt. Pinder's RBI single up the middle made it 3-0 A's. The inning ended on a Ryon Healy strikeout.
Sean Manaea, at 43 pitches, got the A's out of a sticky third by striking out Shawn O'Malley. After walking Chris Ianetta with one out, the game became interesting as Mike Freeman singled to center fielder Brett Eibner. Guillermo Heredia followed with a lineout that set up Shawn O'Malley as strikeout victim #2 on the day. Solid pitching and composure by Sean Manaea through three, which began with the five-pitch first inning.
Felix Hernandez only made it through 3 innings and 38 pitches to be replaced by none other than former-Athletic Pat Venditte. Venditte came in pitching left handed to Yonder Alonso who picked up his 34th double of the season down the right field line. Venditte escaped the inning by striking out Bruce Maxwell, walking Brett Eibner, and getting Matt Olson to hit into a double play to end the 4th.
Heredia, not fooled on a changeup, took a shot up the line in the bottom of the 5th to score two. Big man Dae-Ho Lee got an infield single on a slow roller up third which was followed by Ben Gamel's stand-up double. Locked and loaded at 2nd and 3rd with two outs, Heredia's double put the Mariners closer. That was all of the damage, however, as Shawn O'Malley flew out to Jake Smolinski in left.
The 6th began with another former A, Cody Martin—claimed off of waivers by the Mariners. He began the inning by striking out Ryon Healy for Ryon's third strikeout on the day. While he followed with a Yonder Alonso walk, this didn't help the A's as Bruce Maxwell hit into an inning-ending double play.
Manaea was solid in the 6th, striking out Robinson Cano and getting Franklin Gutierrez in a 6-3 putout. Kyle Seager then popped out in foul territory to Alonso. It was nice to see Manaea smile if he came off the mound. But that ended it for Manaea who was replaced by Liam Hendriks for the 7th. Sean Manaea's numbers: 6 innings, 2 runs (earned), five strikeouts, five hits, and a walk on 88 pitches. Liam Hendriks didn't let Manaea down as he bored through a 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts.
The 8th began with relief pitcher Arquimedes Caminero replacing Cody Martin. A 100+ mph fastball quickly dispatched Athletic Joey Wendle who went down looking on a curveball. Chad Pinder then walked and Ryon Healy, desperately needing a hit, would be left wanting as he went down swinging for strikeout #4 on the day. The inning ended with a Yonder Alonso fly ball to right.
Daniel Coulombe replaced Liam Hendriks in the 8th, facing Mike Freeman who was 1-2 on the day. A cracked-bat, "piddly" hit allowed his safe passage to first, but this was truly a fluke. Nonetheless, the Mariners capitalized on this as Guillermo Heredia advanced Freeman to second on a slow, infield roller. Freeman then advanced to third on Shawn O'Malley's soft grounder to Wendle who threw him out at first. Two outs with a runner on third, Coulombe missed with a couple of curves to make it a full count, but a breaking ball took Mike Zunino down swinging to send the A's into the 9th leading 3-2.
Top of the 9th: Seattle's Dan Altavilla started by striking out Bruce Maxwell on a 90mph slider. Eibner didn't have any better luck, swinging and missing a 97mph fastball. A great, foul-territory catch by third baseman Kyle Seager ended the Matt Olson's at bat and the inning.
Bottom of the 9th: On a full count, Franklin Gutierrez leads of the 9th with a full-count, swinging strikeout against John Axford—in to save the win. Axford then faced a struggling Seager who took the ball deep but had it taken away from Matt Olson who jumped to bring down the potential tying run. Desperate to make some noise, Daniel Vogelbach pinch hit for Dae-Ho lee with two outs. On a 3-2 count, it ends in the way A's fans hoped: Strikeout.
So the season ends with a win for Manaea who concludes his rookie season at 7-9 and John Axford picks up his 3rd save of the year. Ending the season at 69-93, many A's fans are no doubt thrilled to finish the season and to do so on a winning note. Stephen Vogt's post-game interview hinted at the difficulties of the season, but he also highlighted the continued fight and commitment of the entire team. I think we all know, and can be proud of the fact, that the A's fought until the bitter end, winning this series, knocking the Mariners out of the post-season, and ending on a positive note.
Before ending this write-up, and the 2016 season threads, here is a heartening side-note posted by Jane Lee prior to game time about the dedication and commitment of the boys in green and gold:
Semien's dedication and Wash's coaching is tremendous—unwavering, even on the last day of the season! They're work is just one example of what we can be proud of heading into the winter. We know we will return to this same dedication in 2017, and that is surely something to pull us through the winter months.
See you all in the off-season and, of course, Monday, April 3rd as we open against the Angels in 2017. Go A's!