Once again the Athletics filled the ninth inning with tension. With the Rangers having the game-tying run on second base with two-out in the top of the inning, the A’s knew they absolutely had to stop their three-game skid. Fortunately they did just that, holding on for a 3-1 victory.
Prior to that, the game had been relatively quiet despite it being Stomper’s 21st birthday and also having Bartolo Colon on the mound for the Texas Rangers - oh, and that guy Andrew Triggs was pitching for the A’s.
**Click to Revisit Game #5 Thread**
Triggs put forth a nice outing Tuesday night at the Oakland Coliseum. He pitched five innings allowing one run on four hits, one walk and struck out seven batters. Triggs ran into a bit of trouble in the first inning allowing two Rangers to reach base, throwing 24 pitches. There’s a good chance that he would have been able to stay in the game longer, if not for that one inning. Regardless, Triggs put forth a perfect performance for a team’s fifth starter.
Fun Fact: Colon is just one of two active players playing in their 21st big league season. The other? The Colon’s teammate, third baseman, Adrian Beltre.
Everyone’s favorite former-Athletic, the almost 45 year old Bartolo Colon, pitched a gem as well. In his 2018 debut he threw 89 pitches over six full innings, allowing one run on seven hits while walking one and striking out four. The one blemish for Colon came in the bottom of the third against the A’s defensive ace Matt Chapman, who took Colon deep to right-center for a solo home run.
Fun Fact: Matt Chapman was four years old when Bartolo Colon made his big league debut with the Cleveland Indians in 1997.
(Editor’s note: There’s no video available on social media of Chapman’s homer, so here he is making yet another awesome defensive play instead.)
The Rangers answered to Chapman’s home run in the top of the fifth. Joey Gallo singled, plating Drew Robinson, tying the score at one run a piece.
The A’s took the lead again in the bottom of the seventh inning on a double by Jed Lowrie, his first of the year. His clutch hit, off of Rangers’ reliever Kevin Jepsen, allowed Jonathan Lucroy and Marcus Semien to score what would be the game’s winning runs. Both runs were charged to Jepsen who, ultimately, took the loss.
Fun Fact: Jed Lowrie became the A’s single-season doubles record holder, with 49 during his healthy 2017.
The A’s eight-man bullpen took over for Triggs in the sixth inning and did their job, with relievers continuing to go multiple innings. Ryan Buchter pitched an inning and two thirds allowing a hit while striking out three batters. Chris Hatcher, who ended up receiving the win, threw just two thirds of an inning but they were two scoreless thirds.
Chris Hatcher is the first pitcher in Oakland history to be credited with the win in each of the #Athletics first two victories of the season.— Mike Selleck (@MikeSelleck) April 3, 2018
Then things were left up to closer Blake Treinen who had to get through the 1.2 innings left in the game. Treinen, who hasn’t pitched since Opening Day when he pitched two scoreless innings, came in the eighth to try and close out the game for the A’s. Things got a little nerve-wracking for the green and gold in the top of the ninth, not unlike it had been over the weekend in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Treinen gave up a leadoff walk to Jurickson Profar and a single to Robinson, meaning he’d have to retire the top of the Rangers’ order with Shin-Soo Choo, Gallo and Elvis Andrus coming up, to try to save the game. Those are not exactly easy outs. Despite the fact that Treinen was able to get Choo to ground out, it was a productive one. Both of the runners advanced, putting the game-tying run on second and the A’s in a tough position. Gallo popped up to Chapman who was then able to hold Profar on third base giving the A’s a huge out. Treinen had to work hard for it but he was able to get the save and secure the A’s their second regular-season hit. Andrus grounded out to third and the game was thankfully over. At least this time the tension-filled ninth inning went to the A’s.
Fun Fact: As it was Stomper’s big 21st birthday, naturally the A’s mascot may have overindulged a little prior to the game. This would have been alright had he not later streaked around the field in his birthday suit with just his birthday hat on!