Well, that was a strange one. I can’t remember watching many sloppier games that ended error-free. But a win is a win, and a road win is a little more than that. Not only did tonight extend the A’s win streak, it also guaranteed another series victory.
All was quiet on the scoring front through the early and middle innings. The A’s got plenty of base runners - two in each of the first three innings - and managed to drive up Cole Hamels’ pitch count, but without avail. That changed in the sixth.
Most of the park was sure Mazara had caught it. Mazara was too. Nomar isn’t regarded as much of a defensive outfielder, but this was nearly a spectacular play. If it weren’t for the home-field wall betraying him, Mazara would have made one of the catches of this young season.
But alas, the A’s lead was short lived. Andrew Triggs got an early out in the Rangers’ half of the sixth, but then things started to unravel. Delino Deshields showed off his speed with a bunt single. Triggs drilled Shin-Soo Choo. Choo would exact his revenge on the A’s later. A wild pitch moved them both into scoring position, and then Triggs walked Mazara.
With the bases juiced and the slugging duo of Adrian Beltre and Joey Gallo due up, things began to look a bit bleak. Triggs surely would have settled for conceding just a single run. In the end, that was all he did. Beltre hit a sacrifice fly and Gallo grounded out to end the threat.
The A’s seemed poised to strike back immediately. Jonathan Lucroy led off the top of the seventh and hit a deep fly ball into the gap between Deshields and Mazara. The communication between the Rangers’ outfielders was lacking, and the ball fell between them. It was scored a double, although it would have been difficult to complain if the official scorer assessed an error. Not content to stop at second base, Lucroy tried to stretch his good fortune into a triple, but instead committed the baseball sin of making the first out at third base.
Undeterred, the A’s continue swinging. Marcus Semien followed Lucroy’s gaffe with a double, and Matt Joyce followed that with a walk. Then Jed Lowrie did what Jed Lowrie does and hit a double himself, scoring Semien and advancing Joyce to third. With still one out, Joyce managed to get himself picked off third base by Rangers’ catcher Robinson Chirinos. Lucroy’s out was bad enough, and this was not what the baseball gods had in mind when they said it was okay to make the second out at third base.
At the end of the seventh, the A’s expected run total was probably four or five. In reality, they led just 2-1. But another run came in the eighth - Matt Olson doubled home Matt Chapman - and so the lead was 3-1. Ryan Dull, who had worked a clean seventh, remained in to start the eighth and got the first out. With two left-handed bats due, Bob Melvin eschewed Ryan Buchter and made the call to turn it over to Blake Treinen. Treinen didn’t last long, however.
A's closer Blake Treinen leaves the game after taking a line drive off his right leg pic.twitter.com/h6WwfGDUJ4— Ben Ross (@BenRossSports) April 25, 2018
Not shown in that clip is that Matt Olson nearly recovered the ricochet in time to tag out Shin Soo Choo at first base. Treinen left the game immediately, leaving the recently-recalled Lou Trivino as much time as he needed to warm. Trivino did his thing and got a hold, allowing one base hit and striking out two, although Trivino’s lone hit conceded did score Choo. While it will forever be a single in the box score, it surely would have gone for extra bases had Adrian Beltre not pulled up lame on his way out of the batters box. Beltre left the game immediately.
The A’s gave the ball to Santiago Casilla for the ninth inning. And though AN held its collective breath, Casilla worked three quick flyouts, securing the A’s victory.
Even including his rocky sixth inning, Andrew Triggs’ line looks pretty good. Triggs finished six, allowing four hits, one run, one walk, while striking out six. He was efficient too, throwing just 81 pitches. It was a great bounce-back effort after a tough outing against the White Sox. It was also encouraging to see Ryan Dull go an inning and a third; the A’s must think he’s at least close to full health.
Offensively, Jed Lowrie just keeps hitting; he was 2-4 today, including that big RBI double. Every A’s starter had hits except Stephen Piscotty and Khris Davis. For a time Chad Pinder extended his perfect streak against Cole Hamles, singling in his first plate appearance and being hit with a pitch in his second. Today was a rather violent game actually - five batters were hit by pitches between the two teams, and that doesn’t include the comebacker that chased Treinen.
However strange tonight’s game was, the A’s are happy for the win. Overall, the A’s have won eight of nine and secure another series victory ahead of tomorrow’s finale. Kendall Graveman gets another shot tomorrow. First pitch is at 5:05. Who gets the call if Treinen heads to the DL?