***See Tonight’s Game Preview & GameThread #1 Here***
***See Tonight’s GameThread #2 Here***
To quote, Athletics Nation commenter, apilgrim, “I am glad baseball has 9 innings.”
The A’s needed all 9 innings tonight to gain yet another amazing, wonderful, can’t believe it, holy toledo, come from behind victory, defeating the Rangers 6-5 in Arlington, Texas.
During this magical run of being the best team in baseball since June 16th (26 wins in last 33 games), the A’s have specialized in come from behind victories by doing four things well:
1) Driving up opposing starters pitch counts
2) Feasting off middle relievers
3) Hitting the big late inning homerun
4) Shut down relief pitching from Treinen and the Boys
The A’s had all of those elements working tonight, driving the dominant Rangers starter Martin Perez out after 6 innings with 107 pitches, taking advantage of the weak middle relievers of the Rangers (Cory Gearrin, Alex Claudio, Jose Leclerc) for five runs (courtesy of not one, but two Khris Davis homers) and 4 2/3rds of scoreless innings from the A’s relief corps in the victory.
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2002 "20 Game Win Streak" Team
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2018 "Homers & Comebacks" Team
Tonight’s game, like so many A’s contests in 2018 was a tale of two games...
“Game #1”: The First 6 Innings, Rangers 5, A’s 1
This game went to the Rangers as Martin Perez bent but didn’t break, scattering 7 hits and 3 walks but holding the red hot Oakland line-up to only a single run thru six innings. On the A’s side of the mound, Edwin Jackson wasn’t terrible, but he wasn’t good either. Jackson in search of his 100th career victory, lasted only 4 1⁄3 innings, allowing seven hits and two walks and surrendering 5 runs. The major damage against Jackson came in the second inning as A’s killer, Robinson Chirinos, sat on a 3-1 fastball and deposited a three-run homer to give the Rangers the early lead. Jackson held Texas to those three runs until the fifth inning when Carlos Tocci (One of the best last names in baseball) singled to lead off the inning, moved to second on a wild pitch and to third on a passed ball and scored on a Rougned Odor single. Yusmeiro Petit then relieved Jackson and eventually allowed Odor to score on a Adrian Beltre single to pin the final run on Jackson for the evening.
The A’s first run came early on with Marcus Semien doubling to start the game and coming around to score with two outs on a double by Matt Olson.
“Game #2”: The Last 3 Innings, A’s 5, Rangers 0
Let’s focus on the Rangers “0” first. The A’s bullpen has been the best supporting actor in this 2018 run, especially when it comes to posting scoreless innings after an A’s starter fails to post a quality start (6 innings with less 3 runs or less). Tonight, the bullpen did allow an inherited run to score, but after that, Petit, Hatcher, Buchter, Trivino and Treinen no-hit the the Rangers for the next 3 1⁄3 innings. We need to find a proper nickname for this bullpen crew!
To explain how the A’s scored five runs in the last three innings, you need to look any further than Khris Davis. Much has been documented this season how guys like Houston’s Evan Gattis and the Rangers Robinson Chirinos seem to always come up with clutch hits against the A’s. But no A’s killer comes close to what Khris Davis has done to Rangers pitching over the last three seasons (Or even just this week!). Davis has hit 24 homeruns with 57 RBI’s in only 49 games over the past three seasons against the Rangers and has homered in six straight games this season against them. I keep expecting the “Barry Bonds Intentional Walk” treatment for Davis, but somehow Jeff Bannister and the Rangers keep pitching to him. A’s Nation can only say, “thank you.”
Davis came up in the 7th inning tonight with two on (Josh Phegley lead-off single, Jed Lowrie, two out walk) and deposited a hanging slider to the grassy knoll (too soon?) in centerfield to cut the Rangers lead to 5-4. Here is what it looked like:
This 5-4 score would remain until there were two outs and two strikes on Khris Davis once again in the top of the 9th inning. Rangers reliever, Jose Leclerc refused to throw Davis anything but a breaking ball with the first four pitches of the at-bat. Then with the count 2-2, Leclerc tried to sneak a high outside fastball past Krush and he promptly did this:
Blake Treinen would quickly warm-up and enter the game in the bottom of the ninth to retire the Rangers 1-2-3 on 3 strikeouts to gain the save (his 26th save of 2018) and earn the win for Lou Trivino (his incredible 8th win of the campaign).
Here is BoMel talking to reporters about the win:
These comebacks aren't making BoMel any younger, but he'll take it. Here's the A's manager on tonight's win. pic.twitter.com/D3dDS0dqGL— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) July 26, 2018
What a win, what a week, what a team!
Everyone in the press box is just laughing. It's ridiculous.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) July 26, 2018