In another age, this was to be the most important series and achievement of the season. However, with the team just three games out of a playoff spot, celebrating frivolous regular season victories are just so spring training 2018. This A’s team is going places, and the claiming of the Bay Bridge Series trophy is just but one step en route to what could be a magical run for the A’s.
In what proved to be a tense affair, the A’s eked out a 6-5 victory in ten innings.
Throughout regulation, the A’s offense was supported entirely by the heart of the A’s order, more specifically Khris Davis and Matt Olson. Each of the sluggers hit two home runs today, Davis’ second home run tying the game in the late innings.
While the offense was dependent on home runs to push runs across the plate, the team still did a superb job of working deep in the count and giving San Francisco’s pitching staff fits. Overall, the team worked six walks against just four strikeouts, and managed to maintain pressure on the basepaths even when it was difficult to string multiple hits together. Fresh A’s Barreto and Martini reached base a combined three times out of the 9-1 slots in the batting order while also taking advantage of their speed and baseball smarts on the base paths.
Manaea sure can’t throw 94, but it doesn’t really matter. For the first third of this game, it looked as though Manaea might throw his second no hitter of the season. The lefty’s control was impeccable, and the Giants were entirely unable to square up any pitch he threw on the day. San Francisco didn’t record a single baserunner until the fifth inning, when backup catcher Nick Hundley grounded a single up the middle for the Giants’ first hit. All told, Manaea allowed just four baserunners in nearly seven innings pitched, giving up two earned runs while striking out five.
Today was Manaea’s strongest start since his no hitter. He was in control for his entire outing, and when the hits did eventually start to fall, the Giants could only do damage via bloops and Texas Leaguers, not with blasts. While he did make a mistake pitch to Austin Slater that allowed a run to score in the fifth inning, Manaea was otherwise in complete control all game.
Unfortunately, the Giants were able to mount a comeback after doing damage to a very taxed bullpen. Emilio Pagan and Lou Trivino surrendered the lead the team had fought and scratched for, via a mix of ineffectiveness and simple overuse, setting the stage for the debut of the newest member of MLB’s most elite unit. Jeurys Familia pitched two innings in his first appearance as an Athletic, immediately fitting in with the rest of the bullpen, allowing just one baserunner and striking out one. It appears as though Familia will fit right in with the rest of the bullpen core.
Trivino’s meltdown made extra innings necessary, but it wasn’t long before the A’s were able to claim victory. In the tenth, the A’s continued to have good at bats and showcase good patience, with both Marcus Semien and Khris Davis walking to kickstart a rally for the team. With two outs, Matt Chapman chopped a ground ball high in the air to short stop, and Brandon Crawford, needing to make a quick and perfect play, biffed the chopper and the ball caromed into center field, allowing the winning run to score.
The Bridge is coming to Oakland!— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) July 22, 2018
Another walkoff for the A's! pic.twitter.com/nBbPkLw6EO
It took a little longer than usual, but the A’s walked off on the Giants to win the series, the season series, and claim the Bay Bridge Series trophy. This team is sickeningly close to a playoff spot, and every win counts. If today was any indication, this team is capable of winning even on days where lots of factors don’t go Oakland’s way. The A’s will seek to keep the good times rolling in Arlington, where they will play their next four games.
What a special team.