Daniel Mengden threw 7 2/3 innings of two-run ball and retired the first 13 San Francisco Giants he faced in Oakland’s 8-3 win over the San Francisco Giants, handing Mengden his first career win. He becomes the first A’s rookie to record 23 outs in one of their first four starts since Sonny Gray did it on August 15, 2013, and just the second in the 21st century, according to the Baseball-Reference Play Index:
The A’s have been on a bit of a run at the plate. They’ve scored at least five runs for five consecutive games and six out of their last seven. Semien, Coco Crisp, Jed Lowrie, Danny Valencia, Khris Davis, and Yonder Alonso all reached base twice tonight.
The Green and Gold also played some crisp defense, with Mengden and Semien each making highlight-worthy plays. The club handled 17 infield outs without trouble, including turning two double plays.
A very good night in San Francisco
The Athletics opened the scoring against Jeff Samardzija in the second inning on consecutive base hits. Valenca hit a single to the right field wall that returned to Gregor Blanco on a perfect carom, but Valencia scored anyway on Khris Davis' double to Triples Alley that Statcast recorded leaving the bat at 111 mph. Yonder Alonso reached on a walk, and Marcus Semien sent a three-run home run to left center field to make it 4-0. Coco Crisp hit a two-out single and Jed Lowrie doubled home Crisp to cap the five-run inning.
Semien said there's a little extra motivation hitting against pitcher he was traded for, Samardzija.— Carl Steward (@stewardsfolly) June 28, 2016
Mengden entered cruise control beginning in the second inning, which ended after Gregor Blanco returned Mengden's seventh pitch of the inning right back into his glove:
While the A's went nine-up-and-nine-down over the next three innings, the Giants earned their first base runner in the bottom of the fifth when Angel Pagan hit a clean one-out single to center field to end Mengden's bid to become the first rookie to throw a major league perfect game. Gregor Blanco walked, but Mengden induced two fly balls to escape the inning, including a nifty over-the-shoulder catch from Marcus Semien to retire Conor Gillaspie.
The A's tacked on one more run against Jeff Samardzija in the sixth inning, with Yonder Alonso and Marcus Semien hitting back-to-back doubles to slap the Shark with six runs. In relief of Samardzija, Chris Stratton gave up two more runs on three hits and two walks in the seventh inning, but finished out the blow out game.
Mengden entered the seventh inning with 82 pitches thrown, bidding to become the first A's rookie to throw a shutout in one of his first four career starts since John Henry Johnson in 1978, and first to throw a complete game in one of his first four starts since Ariel Prieto in 1995. Alas, Menden began the inning by loading the bases on two singles and a walk. Bochy allowed reliever Stratton to hit with the bases loaded and nobody out trailing 8-0, and not only that, swing the bat. Stratton connected and grounded into a 6-4-3 double play, scoring a run. Mengden's day was done after he walked Joe Panik.
The second run scored on a Fernando Rodriguez wild pitch, but he struck out Brandon Belt looking to end the seventh, still leading 8-2.
Zach Neal, likely around until Sean Manaea is activated from the disabled list Wednesday, started the ninth inning but allowed back-to-back singles to Mac Williamson and Tyler Brown. Marc Rzepczynski was warming up as Gregor Blanco grounded into a 3-6-3 double play, and Zep came in after Neal allowed Buster Posey to score on a Ramiro Pena single to make it 8-3. Scrabble needed just one pitch to retire Conor Gillaspie, inducing a ground ball to short that Semien walked to the second base bag to win the game.
It was an all-around impressive night for the Oakland Athletics in perhaps the best game the A’s have played all year. A’s 8, Giants 3.
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