The Tigers are in town for a three-game series against the Oakland A’s, and the first two of those contests are now in the books. Through a total of 22 innings played, Detroit is yet to score an earned run. They did manage one unearned run on Saturday, but it wasn’t enough as the A’s came out on top 2-1.
*** Click here to revisit tonight’s game thread! ***
After being shut down by Brett Anderson in the opener, this time the Tigers were stupefied by Edwin Jackson. The veteran needed only 78 pitches to make it into the 7th inning, scattering five hits and a walk against the second-worst offense in the AL.
The game got off to a shaky start when JaCoby Jones led off with a popup to shallow left field. SS Marcus Semien went out and called it, and LF Nick Martini ran in and called it, and their gloves collided as the ball bounced away to the safety of the turf. Jones alertly made it to second base and eventually scored on a two-out single by Jeimer Candelario. This is the second time in as many games that the A’s have had a miscommunication on such a popup, this time involving two totally different players, so Oakland would be wise to sort out this issue before it happens against a team that can truly make them pay.
Fortunately, the defense shaped up from there. Jackson allowed five more baserunners after Candelario’s hit, and their fates were as such: two were eliminated in double plays, one was thrown out trying to stretch his single into a double, and another was lifted for a pinch-runner who was promptly caught stealing by Jonathan Lucroy. Only one of the runners lasted long enough to be stranded at the end of an inning.
Meanwhile, the A’s bats weren’t as quiet as Friday night but still didn’t get much going against Jordan Zimmermann. They loaded the bases in the 1st and got nothing, then wasted a leadoff double in the 2nd. Finally they broke through in the 3rd, the best way they know how: Dingers! Matt Chapman hit one, and then two batters later Khris Davis hit his 30th of the year. Those were the only two runs Oakland pushed across on a night when they went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position, but they turned out to be enough.
People came for the fireworks and saw a laser show.#RootedInOakland pic.twitter.com/16aeXPHYHB— Oakland Athletics ⚾️ (@Athletics) August 5, 2018
For Khrush, this marks three straight seasons of 30 or more homers. The last five A’s to do that, courtesy of NBCS: Tejada, Giambi, McGwire in the 90s, McGwire in the 80s, and Canseco.
Three straight 30-homer seasons for Khrush. The last Oakland A to do that? Miguel Tejada (2000-02).#RootedInOakland pic.twitter.com/VzxQzY5EZW— Oakland Athletics ⚾️ (@Athletics) August 5, 2018
Oakland only put three more runners on base the rest of the night, but the damage had already been done. Jackson gave way to Lou Trivino in the 7th, and he recorded five outs to bring the game to the 9th. Enter Blake Treinen, exit any chance for the opposition.
The Tigers squeaked out one hit against the All-Star closer, but otherwise were completely overmatched by his electric stuff. His final pitch was a breaking ball so filthy that even Lucroy couldn’t handle it, as the batter looked on in disbelief that a ball can even move like that. It was pure wizardry to end Harry Potter fireworks night, even though the Expelliarmus spell just missed its intended target of James McCann’s bat.
Blake Treinen is absolutely filthy in the best possible way#RootedInOakland pic.twitter.com/GU96iF131W— Oakland Athletics ⚾️ (@Athletics) August 5, 2018
The defense deserves a second round of props for this game. There was another sparkling play from Chapman charging in on a bunt, satisfying his daily quota (video link). Matt Olson also made a gem of his own, ranging to his right and flipping a perfect feed to the pitcher covering the bag (0:11 mark of this video). But the prettiest play came from Ramon Laureano, who continues to make a strong impression with his glove just two games into his MLB career.
Ramón Laureano was at it again tonight!#RootedInOakland pic.twitter.com/4aZcwkOhg1— Oakland Athletics ⚾️ (@Athletics) August 5, 2018
That was actually Laureano’s second big moment of the night. Earlier, in the 5th inning, he dove for a low liner and juuust missed making a brilliant grab. The ball dribbled away from him, and Mike Gerber attempted to stretch his fortunate hit into a double. The Machine got up, grabbed the ball, and fired in to second base to nab Gerber as he overslid the bag. It was the second straight night that Laureano had a dropped-it-never-mind-threw-the-guy-out-later outfield assist, which is downright Cespedesque.
Ramon Laureano is the first player in Oakland #Athletics history with an outfield assist in each of the first two games of his career.— Mike Selleck (@MikeSelleck) August 5, 2018
That about covers it. The game didn’t go four hours this time, nor 13 innings, nor did it include any wild comebacks nor late-inning antics. It was just a mostly clean, straightforward affair that turned out to be decided in the 3rd inning. Thank goodness for that, because as fun as the nightly dramatics are I think we all needed a breather. A victory by more than one run would be even better, but let’s not get too greedy.
And now the fun part. The A’s are 20 games over .500, and meanwhile the Mariners and Yankees both lost. That puts Oakland 2.5 games over Seattle for the second Wild Card, and just 3.5 games back of the first Wild Card what say that again 3.5 games back of the first Wild Card are you kidding me??
There are no more words for what is happening right now. Everything is awesome, and all we can do is sit back and enjoy it. This is 2012 all over again but maybe even better, and I never want it to end.