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Game #17: Manaea Leads A's to Fourth Straight Win

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Well, color me shocked. The A's actually win a Friday night drinking thread game, and not only that, but they win their fourth in a row behind a strong start from Manaea and a multi-homer display on offense. Baseball is fun again!

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

So...I guess we're glad we're not Giants' fans after the day they have had, amiright? I mean, are you kidding me?

Meanwhile, in this rebuilding year, after losing their best two starting pitchers, their starting shortstop and one of their best prospects, the A's and their barely-MLB team, reminiscent of the old "Island of Misfit Toys" they used to field, have had quite a week. Instead of folding like a cheap deck of cards, the A's have rallied in every way possible as they run their winning streak to four tonight; backed by a strong start by Sean Manaea. 

As far as I can tell, Sean Manaea's only weakness is his walks. Tonight was nowhere near Saturday's start; he reined in his walk total to three in six innings, so I suppose the rest of his start could be classified as "effectively wild"; he threw a lot of pitches for six innings, but he was sure effective. He mixed in six strikeouts and the only run he allowed was on a combined single and triple in the third.

Meanwhile, the A's didn't score many, but home runs by Plouffe and Alonso and a sacrifice fly by Vogt backed Manaea's strong start, leading the A's over the .500 mark in the third week of the season.

Seattle took an initial 1-0 lead, but it could have been worse, as Manaea was in mildly warm water the first couple of innings. Heredia lead off the game with a single, but on a good move by Manaea, was picked off running to second; Manaea to Alonso to Rosales.

The A's were early victims of the double-play themselves, as Jaff Decker led off the game with a walk and was immediately erased by Yonder Alonso's double play. The Alonso/Lowrie 2/3 combination at the top of the lineup was an interesting choice, to be sure, but whatever the A's are doing is working right now.

Manaea walked Nelson Cruz to open the second; the annoying part was the at-bat started out 0-2. Kyle Seager dropped a bunt against the shift to put two runners on base with no one out. Glen and Ray may or may not have made an unintentional adorable pun as they claimed the subsequent double-play was "Taylor made" as Taylor Mott bailed Manaea out with the one-swing, two-outs. The home plate umpire helped strike out Danny Valencia for the third out with both the high and low strike.

Manaea started the third with two quick outs, but allowed a two-out single and a stand-up RBI triple to Mitch Haniger to give Seattle the early 1-0 lead.

Matt Joyce walked to open the third, but Trevor Plouffe grounded into a double-play to erase him within 5 seconds. Adam Rosales nearly tied the game on a hachet swing, but sadly, it fell a few feet short of the wall and his two-out double was wasted as Decker was unable to drive him in. Rosales had a great top of the 4th defensively; his nifty jump throw recorded the second out of the inning, and his strong arm, the third.

Plouffe continues to baffle me; his at-bats always seem to frustrate; why make an out when two will do; why ground out when a strike out will do, and then, literally out of nowhere, he will connect with all the power in the world and hit a home run. Tonight was no exception; he tied the game in the fifth on his second home run in two games. The A's might have been able to break through then, but Jaff Dacker was picked off first base after his two out walk. Onward we go.

Yonder Alonso broke the tie early in the sixth by hitting a home run of his own to give the A's the 2-1 lead, and a Lowrie double, a (Khris) Davis ground out and a Stephen Vogt sacrifice fly gave them the insurance run to pad the lead for the bullpen.

Enter Ryan Dull. With one out, a walk and a single sent our hearts racing, but a near-double-play recorded the second out and Dull got Haniger to fly out to end the inning.

The A's had one more chance to add on in the seventh, but they failed pretty spectacularly. Matt Joyce singled to open the inning and after Plouffe struck out (IT'S NOT JUST ME!), Rosales walked and Decker was hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out. Alonso struck out and Lowrie lined out to end the inning, and just when you were sure that the A's would pay for not cashing in the insurance runs, their bullpen arrived.

Doolittle pitched a perfect eighth inning and Casilla pitched a perfect ninth, on paper, at least, his "strikeout" was the first out, his "fly out, but likely a home run in the daytime" was the second, and a meek fly out was the third. It's hard to nitpick; the A's played a solid defensive game from top to bottom and won their fourth in a row. Let's go for five tomorrow.

With a  guarantee of no worse than a split of the series, the A's look to take the series tomorrow; Jharel Cotton vs. Ariel Miranda; tomorrow 1:05. We'll see you all back here with the action.