This was an exciting game of strong pitching, lots of strikeouts, an abundance of hits as well as a few homeruns! Triggs, for example, had five strikeouts at the end of the 3rd inning! He finished with a record-high 8 strikeouts when he exited the game at the end of the 6th, giving up 4 hits and three runs. Homeruns by Khirs Davis and Stephen Vogt put some excitement into the day and padded the lead. Ryon Healy had multiple hits, more than one of which was for extra bases (doubles), and was even intentionally walked in the 8th as a result of his hot bat.
The Athletic bats made a statement right out of the gate. While it didn't include today's leadoff hitter Jake Smolinski (called out on strikes) it did begin with Danny Valencia who reached first on a soft ground ball to third. With two outs, Khris Davis KHRUSHED it over the center field wall for his 34th homer of the year. This was Davis' 8th home run this month and 15th since the All-Star Break. Wowza!
Ryon Healy hit his 9th double (ground-rule) and was joined on the bases by Vogt who was hit by a pitch. Unfortunately the first inning rally ended there as Brett Eibner struck out swinging to end the inning. It should be noted that Healy extended his hitting streak to 14 games with this first double.
Triggs suffered a bit of retaliation as leadoff batter Matt Carpenter doubled to start the bottom of the first. Two quick outs followed, including our old friend Brandon Moss on swinging strikes. But Triggs threw a wild pitch to Piscotty that advanced Carpenter to third who then scored as Piscotty singled to left. The inning ended with Jhonny Peralta grounding to Ryon Healy at third who threw to Valencia playing first: 2-1 Athletics.
In the second, Andrew Triggs followed Chad Pinder's lead and was called out on strikes in his first major league at-bat. Smolinski was the third out, grounding into an unassisted play at first base.
Notable from the third inning was Danny Valencia getting caught stealing for the second out of the game. This was unfortunate in that Ryon Healy followed with a two-out double down the line that would have scored Valencia. It did, however, move Davis to third—on because of a base on balls. Stephen Vogt followed and hit long-ball #11, a three-run blast to right center field. A's 5, Cardinals 1. The inning ended on a second Brett Eibner strikeout, fooled by an 83 MPH changeup.
Pitcher Jaime Garcia led off the Red Birds third with a strikeout, Triggs' #4 on the day, though Garcia did get a bat on a 90 MPH fastball. Continuing the Cardinals home run streak (at least one in all three games versus the Athletics), Matt Carpenter hit #17 on the season to make the score 5-2. Jedd Gyorko was strikeout victim #5 for the second out of the inning, missing a 76MPH curveball. A few heart palpitations followed as Brandon Moss sent one 362 feet to the wall for the third out of the inning.
Pinder led off the 4th with a base hit. Triggs followed as strikeout victim #5 on the day for Garcia. The A's bats were retired after Smolinski grounded into a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning. The Cardinals started the 4th with Triggs' 49th pitch where he picked up his 6th strikeout of the game as Stephen Piscotty went down swinging. He then dispatched Johnny Peralta (flyout to center) and Grichuk (liner to Semien) ending the inning in only 8 pitches and a total of 57. [By contrast, Jaime Garcia ended the 4th with 72 pitches.]
Fast forward to the bottom of the 6th. Matt Carpenter, having a great offensive day, started the inning with a double. Jedd Gyorko then advanced Carpenter who tagged and ran on the fly ball to right field. Brandon Moss followed with a sacrifice fly to center that scored Carpenter. Two outs with a score of 5-3.
Andrew Triggs had quite the day of strikeouts. In addition to the above mentioned Ks, Alberto Rosario was strikeout victim #7 for Triggs in the 5th. Starting the 6th with only 68 pitches (only 23 out of the strike zone), Triggs picked up strikeout #8 to set a career-high record, ending the inning with a two-seam fastball to Piscotty.
The 7th began with Chad Pinder grounding out to first baseman Matt Carpenter. Arismendy Alcantara then pinch-hit for Triggs. Triggs exited the game with the possibility of his first major league win. Fingers, no doubt, crossed. The 7th was a quick inning as Alcantara grounded to Garcia for a 1-3 putout followed by Smolinski's 5-3 ground out.
In the bottom of the 7th, Ryan Dull came in for his 60th appearance of the season. He easily handled Peralta and Grichuk but gave up a hit to Greg Garcia with a two out single. Struggling with Rosario, Vogt visited the mound, which yielded little as Rosario took it down the right field line and scored Garcia; this put the Red Birds within one. A strong throw from Eibner to home led to a Vogt heads-up play, gunning Rosario at 3rd as he tried to take one bag too many.
Jonathan Broxton replaced Jaime Garcia as Marcus Semien chinked the armor immediately by singling a soft liner to center. Danny Valencia picked up the insurance run by doubling into right field to score Semien and then advancing to 3rd on a very close play that had a better result than Cardinals' Rosario in the previous half inning. Khris Davis struck out swinging. Not wanting to take a chance on Ryon Healy's hot bat, the Cardinals intentionally walked Healy. Matheny then pulled Broxton for left-hander Zach Duke who would face Vogt. A little dribbler and bobble by Duke led to Valencia scurrying home to score. [Note: MLB wrote this up as "Duke knocked the ball down, but couldn't grab it cleanly. Tough play." Uh...yeah....bobble.] Vogt reached first on the error and Healy advanced to second. Note: Both Cardinal errors today were pitcher errors. Eibner took a bit of wind out of the Athletic sales with his THIRD strikeout of the game to become out number two. Pinder then struck out on a curveball to end the inning. Nonetheless: A's 7, Cardinals 4.
Liam Hendriks came in to pitch the bottom of the 8th, and he started it by striking out pinch-hitter Tommy Pham. Next he got Matt Carpenter to fly out to center. Jedd Gyorko then grounded softly to third baseman Ryon Healy who threw him out to first baseman Yonder Alonso (who replaced Dull in the lineup).
Miguel Socolovich (there's a name for ya') replaced Zach Duke on the mound and pinch-hitter Tommy Pham in the lineup. Yonder Alonso was the first to be retired with a 4-3 putout. Jake Smolinski hit a shot to Peralta at 3rd but was thrown out at first. Marcus Semien followed suit with the same 5-3 out. Here we go; bottom of the 9th and Triggs' first win on the line.
Madson, I'm pleased to report, came in to save Triggs' first major league win though he didn't make it look easy. He began by giving up a hit to Brandon Moss who grounded one into right field. Madson then followed by striking out Piscotty. Peralta won the battle against Madson with a short blooper into short center. Runners on first and second with one out, Healy saved the day with a quick-reacting snag of a shot up the third-base line. Two outs and what a day for Healy. Triggs needs to buy him dinner! Birthday boy Ryan Madson, with 20 pitches in this inning and 3-2 to Greg Garcia and the runners going, gets Garcia to pop it into center for a Smolinski grab and final out. Phew.
So the A's conclude by taking the series from the Red Birds. This is the second series in a row that they have won, and should take them confidently into the series against the 'Stros tomorrow. The A's return home for an off-day Thursday and then the Red Sox series Friday night for a three-game set. Sonny Grey fleece blanket day on Monday is against the Angels.