Welcome back to the big leagues Daniel Mengden. Sorry it was not the outing any of us desired. Exiting the game in the 4th after giving up five runs to the Indians, 3 of them homeruns, is not an ideal start. Mengden did look solid in the first, flirting with the edges of the plate on his four-seamers (a few sliders scattered throughout) that retired the side quickly: Kipnis down on a fly ball to left, Lindor on a liner to Joyce in right, and Brantley on a backhanded line shot that Pinder nabbed and threw to first for the out. Alas, it didn’t last. First blood was drawn by Austin Jackson in the bottom of the 3rd as he hit an opposite field homerun, putting one over the wall in right center field to put the Indians on the board 1-0.
In the 4th, Carlos Santana put the Indians ahead by 2 with a solo homerun into the seats in right-center field. Edwin Encarnacion hit homerun of the season #10 with a back-to-back shot that put the Indians ahead 3-0. Jose Ramirez continued with the third consecutive hit of the inning as he hit a line drive double to Rajai Davis in center. After a visit to the mound, Mengden faced Yan Gomes who singled in Ramirez to advance Cleveland to a 4-0 lead. A shot off of Mengden’s left ankle allowed Zimmer to get to second, moving Ramirez to 3rd. No outs. Mengden stays in the game but the bullpen was called to warmup. Austin Jackson took a deep sacrifice fly to score Ramirez and move Zimmer to 3rd. At 5-0 Cleveland, Mengden was replaced by Daniel Coulombe. Coulombe gets Kipnis to ground out to Pinder who was thrown out at first after the runner was looked back and held. Out number two. Coulombe then proceeded to strikeout Francisco Lindor on an 81mph curveball to retire the side.
Meanwhile, there was very offensive capital by the Athletics. In the third, Matt Joyce became the first base runner on the day as he walked on a full count 95 mph fastball that was too low. Top of the order, Rajai Davis picked up the first hit of the game on a ground ball to right fielder Austin Jackson. With two outs, both runners were stranded as Chad Pinder struck out to end the inning.
It wasn’t until the 7th inning that the A’s finally manufactured a run thanks to Yonder Alonso who took a deep fly over the center field wall. Ryon Healy matched the Indians’ back-to-back homer by taking it to left center above the 19 foot scoreboard wall to put make the score 5-2.
A lifeless game finally gets CPR from Alonso and Healy.
A’s strikeouts hurt us today. It began in the first with Chad Pinder and Jed Lowrie going down on strikes. In the second it was more of the same as Khris Davis struck out swinging on Carrasco’s fastball-looking slider that just drops away unexpectedly. One batter later, Ryon Healy became strikeout victim #4 on the day for Carrasco. Trevor Plouffe fell victim to a nasty slider in the 3rd and was followed shortly thereafter by Chad Pinder who struck out and left runners stranded. Carrasco victim #6. In the 4th, Khris Davis struck out for the second time to become victim #7. See below for victims 8, 9 and 10!
Zach Neal did a fine job of relief pitching. Neal replaced Coulombe in the 5th, having been promoted back to the big leagues 8 days ago. In to face Brantley, Santana and Encarnacion. Neal quickly dispatched Brantley on a sharp shot to Joyce in right field. Error #50 for the A’s followed by Lowrie who allowed Santana to get on the base paths. Luckily this was followed with a Pinder to Lowrie to Alonso double play, the 47th double play of the season, to shut down the side and make the error a minor event in the grand scheme of things.
Zach Neal returned for the 6th by walking Jose Ramirez. Yan Gomes became A’s strikeout victim #3 for the first out. For his second error on the day, Jed Lowrie squirted the next ball in play out of his glove to put Bradley Zimmer on first. A double steal then pressure on the A’s and moved the infielders in. On a 2-2 pitch to Jackson, Zach Neal comes up with a key strikeout. Two outs with Jason Kipnis up, a bobbled ball was still an unassisted out by Yonder Alonso to get the A’s out of a sticky situation.
Zach Neal stayed in for the 7th having thrown 20 pitches in the 5th and 6th. Francisco Lindor lines out to Rajai Davis in center. Brantley extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a ground ball to center. Neal then got Santana to line out to right and Edwin Encarnacion followed with a 5-3 grounder for the third out of the inning.
Andrew Miller replaced Carrasco in the 8th and was the right defensive choice. Miller struck out the side: Cahna (in for Joyce), Davis, Pinder—10 total strikeouts on the day for the Athletics and a quick 8th inning.
Liam Hendriks replaced Neal in the bottom of the 8th. Hendricks immediately gave up a hit to Jose Ramirez, on base for the fourth time today. While he came back to strikeout Yan Gomes, Jose Ramirez advanced with a stolen base. One out. Bradley Zimmer is frozen as we went down looking only to be followed by Austin Jackson who did the same, Hendriks’ strikeout victim #3 in the inning.
Onto the 9th, the Athletics faced Cody Allen who replaced Andrew Miller. Jed Lowrie ends his day on a grounder to second base. Khris Davis, 0-3 on the day, made Cody Allen work for it using 8 pitches before hitting his 16th home run of the year over the center field wall. 5-3 Cleveland with the 6th total homerun on the day. Yonder Alonso, who hit the first of the Athletics’ homeruns today, is out number two and strikeout victim #11 of the day. Ryon Healy takes a knuckle curve strike, swings and misses the next knuckle curve but takes a grounder up the middle to keep the game alive. And up comes Vogt who lines the opposite way for a single to put the tying run the basepaths. Replaced by Phegley to pinch run, Trevor Plouffe, the go ahead run, was behind in the count 1-2 and went down with a swinging strikeout in the dirt to be thrown out at first. A good fight nonetheless!
Final stats for the game: The Indians win with 5 runs on 9 hits with no errors; Carrasco with the win. The Athletics Daniel Mengden takes the loss as the A’s finish out with 3 runs on 7 hits with 2 errors, both Jed Lowrie’s.