The high sky in Oakland does its best to give the game away to Kansas City, but a strong pitching performance from Sean Manaea and late game heroics at the plate from Matt Chapman ensured victory for the team. The A’s win the game 3-2, and take the series three game to one.
The A’s jumped out to an early lead in the bottom of the second inning. Converted reliever Brad Keller was making the start for Kansas City, and while he has been effective in his other starts, he struggled with his command throughout his effort today. The righty walked Matt Chapman to start the second, and quickly found himself in hot water after Mark Canha ripped a double to right field that placed runners on second and third with no outs. An RBI groundout and RBI single off the bats of Piscotty and Lucroy respectively made the score 2-0, and the team had a chance to pile on by loading the bases against the ineffective pitcher, but Khris Davis swung through three straight fastballs to strike out and end the threat.
‘Twas a shame the team didn’t pile on, because thanks to the sun, the A’s lead evaporated in the next half inning. After Manaea got a quick first out, a fly ball was lofted into left field for Mark Canha, but he lost the ball in the sun and the would-be flyout turned into a lucky double for Kansas City. This was already the second catchable ball that dropped safely in the outfield for the Royals, as Piscotty biffed a fly ball that Dustin Fowler had lost in the sun on the third batter of the game earlier on. However, unlike in the first inning, when Manaea worked out of the trouble his defense got him in, the Royals were able to cash in in the third, as a productive out and wild pitch brought the run in to half the A’s lead, 2-1.
With two outs in the third and Salvador Perez at the plate, Manaea coughed up a game tying home run.
The A’s did load the bases in the sixth inning thanks to a hit batsman and a couple of walks, but ultimately the team didn’t score that inning and there wasn’t much action in the game for its entire middle stretch.
Excitement picked back up in the eighth inning. Manaea was still pitching well and keeping his pitch count low entering the frame, but a leadoff double that advanced to third base on a ground out ended Manaea’s day with a good chance he’d be on the hook for a loss. Blake Treinen was brought in to try and put out the fire, and thanks to a play-of-the-year candidate from Marcus Semien, the game stayed tied. Diving to his right, Semien smothered the sharply hit ground ball and surprisingly fired home to try and cut down the go-ahead run, and made a perfect throw to keep the game at two apiece.
Manaea’s final line for the game: 7.1 innings pitched, six hits, just the two runs, six strikeouts and no walks.
With life breathed back into the lineup thanks to Semien’s amazing play, it took Matt Chapman all of three pitches starting off the bottom of the eighth inning to take back the lead for good, as the superstar lofted a home run just over the high wall in left, making the score 3-2. The home run was Chapman’s tenth of the year, and couldn’t have come at a better time.
¡El cuadrangular de Matt Chapman en la parte baja de la 8va entrada fue clave para #LosAtléticos, quienes superaron a los Reales por 3-2 y se llevaron la serie!— Atléticos de Oakland (@atleticos) June 10, 2018
With the unclutch offensive performance and sun-induced chaos in the outfield, this was easily a game that the A’s could have squandered and let get out of hand, but thanks to Manaea and a strong defensive effort, the team persevered. The A’s have an off day tomorrow before hosting the dreaded Astros and Angels during the next week, hopefully the A’s winning ways can finally carry over to games against division rivals.