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Game #111: A's Lose 3-1 in Quick Sweep by Cubs

Entering the game today, the Oakland Athletics have lost six straight inter-league matchups. Today makes it the 7th straight as the Athletics lose 3-1 in 9 innings.

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Entering the game today, the Oakland Athletics have lost six straight interleague matchups.  Today makes it the 7th straight as the Athletics lose 3-1 in 9 innings.  Meanwhile, the Cubs came out for a sweep, wanting to increase their winning streak to 7 having won 16 of the last 22 games and the last six in a row.  In interviews, Manaea stated that he focused more on locating his fastball during his bullpen session this week, yet he did struggle with his control in the early innings.  Meanwhile, the Athletic bats faced Kyle Hendricks who has the second best ERA in the National League, second to Clayton Kershaw.

The Cubbie bats began quickly as Kris Bryant, batter #2, singled but this yielded nothing as he was caught stealing in a 1-3-6 dispatch at second.   Following suit, Max Muncy, A's batter #2, singled for the first Athletics hit of the day.  Neither team yielded a run despite similar hits until the top of the 6th when Kris Bryant took it over the left field wall for a 1-0 lead.  In the top of the 7th, Manaea on an elevated fast ball gave up the second home run of the game to Jorge Soler, his seventh of the season, over the left field wall which led to Sean Manaea being pulled at 105 pitches.  2-0 Cubs.

Ryan Dull came in to make for an excellent relief inning.  A classic moment followed on the last batter, Matt Szczur, when he was called safe on what looked to be a Marcus Semien error.  Yonder Alonso immediately called to the dugout that he tagged Szczur as he came down from a high jump and back swipe for the final out.  The team trusted their teammate and all began walking off the field before the appealed call came back as ‘out.'   On to the bottom of the 7th with the Cubs still leading 2-0, yet the 16th consecutive A's batter was retired to head to the 8th.

In the top of the 8th, Marc Rzepcynski came in to face Anthony Rizzo with no outs and runners on first and second, having replaced Andrew Triggs who gave up a single to Dexter Fowler and walked Kris Bryant.  Fowler scores and Bryant ends up on third when Rizzo took it on the left field line just about 6 inches from Coco Crisp's glove.  Cubs 3, A's 0.  This followed with an intentional walk of Ben Zobrist and then a pitching change to make Rzepcynski's stint all of 10 pitches.

Liam Hendriks came in to strikeout both Addison Russell and Jorge Solar followed by a 4-3 putout of Wilson Contreras to end the bases loaded threat.  This set the stage for a bottom-of-the-eighth homerun (23) to put the A's on the board and lead to a Joe-Maddon-Pitching-Change of Kyle Hendricks for Pedro Stropps who finished out the inning. Cubs 3, Athletics 1.

The top of the 9th had Chris Smith retiring Jose Baez on a 3-2 changeup for a flyout to center.  A bunted base hit for Szczur put yet another runner on for the Cubs.  Meanwhile, Aroldis Chapman, acquired from the Yankees just before the traded deadline, was warming up in the bullpen and getting ready for the 9th.    Smith continued his good work and struck out Dexter Fowler and then end the inning.

The 9th began with Aroldis Chapman getting Coco Crisp to ground out, 4-3.  Scott Eibner then pinch-hit for Max Muncy only to be thrown out by shortstop Addison Russell.  The final hope was Khris Davis who worked himself into an 0-2 count and then went down looking on a 103 mph four-seam fastball.

Final score: Cubs 3, Athletics 1.