The A’s had opportunities to score and win this game after getting five runs in the fourth and another in the fifth. Even though they didn’t get another hit after the fifth, they were issued a number of walks. A pivotal call in the top of the ninth pretty much sealed the A’s fate but let’s look at the pitching and early scoring that got the two teams to that point.
A’s starter Andrew Triggs pitched a little better than his pitching line might suggest. Still, he only made it through 4.1 innings, allowing six runs on six hits, four walks and striking out six. Three of those six hits were home runs to catcher Gary Sanchez, center fielder Aaron Hicks and designated hitter Aaron Judge. To be fair, two of Triggs’ strikeouts came on Judge’s first two at-bats but by Judge’s fifth inning home run, Triggs had lost some of his command and Judge had begun to figure Triggs out.
Danny Coulombe came into relieve Triggs with two on and one out. He allowed Didi Gregorius to score before being replaced by Ryan Dull who allowed one of his two inherited runners to score, both runners were attributed to Triggs. The rest of the bullpen fared well against the Yankees, allowing a total of just three hits from the sixth inning on. Santiago Casilla issued three walks but was able to get out of the jam. Yusmeiro Petit came in to pitch a one-two-three seventh inning, allowing just a single to Brett Gardner to lead off the eighth. He was replaced by Blake Treinen in the ninth who got the first three batters he faced, sending the game into extra innings.
The A’s offense was alive and well early in the game. Similarly to the way the Yankees were able to get to Triggs, the A’s offense got to rookie starter Domingo German for a five-run top of the fourth inning. After a lead off single by Marcus Semien and a walk to Matt Joyce, Khris Davis took German deep for his 11th home run on the year. German the allowed walks to both the other two Athletics’ named Matt — Olson and Chapman, respectively (if you are counting that is three walks to three A’s named Matt in one inning). Olson and Chapman were driven in on a two-RBI single by Mark Canha.
The A’s put one more on the board in the fifth after a pair of singles by Bruce Maxwell and Semien. Semien scored that run on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Jed Lowrie. Like the Yankees, the A’s got six runs on six hits off of the Yankees starter, who ended up with a pitching line quite similar to Triggs’. And while the Yankees were able to get three hits to the A’s zero between the end of the fifth and the bottom of the 11th, the two bullpens also put up relatively similar performances.
The Top of the Ninth:
Still, it all really came down to a call in the top of the ninth inning with the score still tied at six runs a piece. Yankees’ closer Aroldis Chapman walked the bases loaded and then struck out Canha to get the first out of the inning. Jonathan Lucroy came in to pinch-hit for Maxwell, hitting a high fly ball to Gardner. Olson tagged up and sprinted to the plate from third just as the ball was arriving on a very good one-hop throw from Gardner to Sanchez. Sanchez turned, attempting to tag Olson.
The call on the field ruled Olson safe and at least from the majority of the viewers’ point of view Sanchez did not appear to tag Olson, now matter how many time you watch the replay — he just didn’t appear to tag him. But this is replay, this is the A’s and this is New York. The Yankees issued a challenge and the call on the field was overturned. Olson was ruled out at the plate. Once again the A’s were screwed by an old friend, no it wasn’t Angel Hernandez but it may as well have been him making the final decision, I’m talking about replay. As A’s skipper Bob Melvin noted in his post game press conference, the A’s just always seem to be on the wrong side of replay calls. If it had been the A’s on the field, the call probably would not have been overturned. Whether or not Sanchez did tag Olson or not, really doesn’t matter because the A’s never seem to get that important replay call.
The game continued until Neil Walker hit a line drive into center field off of Chris Hatcher in the 11th inning that allowed Sanchez to score from second and the Yankees to defeat the A’s by the score of 7-6. It was a disappointing end to what could have just as easily been an exciting ninth inning victory.
In case you missed the game or just the play in the ninth here’s a look at it. Safe? Out? You decide: