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Game #40: Matt-gic Moment! Chapman’s First Career Walk-Off Home Run Lifts A’s Over Indians 4-3

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Game Thread #1
Game Thread #2


A home run by Ramon Laureano and strong work by the bullpen kept the A’s in the game long enough to set up Matt Chapman’s ridiculously exciting game-winning, walk-off home run in the bottom of the twelfth inning to open the series with a Friday night win for the A’s.

Happy Friday and Mother’s Day weekend to those of you who are mothers, support a mother, or have a mother. For the Oakland NBA fans among us, we also extend congratulations to the Golden State Warriors, who secured a trip to the Western Conference Finals tonight for the fifth consecutive time.


This game got started in a hurry tonight after Frankie Montas closed out the first inning. Marcus Semien started the A’s half with a lead-off double, and moved to third on a Jurickson Profar groundout. With a runner on third and one out, Matt Chapman popped up to shortstop for the second out, but a wild pitch and a terrific read and hustle by Marcus Semien on third base scored the A’s first run, right out of the gate.

Things went questionably downhill in the second. Robbie Grossman, in left field, went to pick up the leadoff single, tripped himself and allowed a leadoff double. And then Montas allowed another double to tie the game. The subsequent single did not score the run, instead putting runners on first and third with no one out. Montas got his biggest break of the early game by inducing a double-play; it scored the run, but cleared the bases, rendering the subsequent single harmless.

Down 2-1 in the second, the A’s made two quick outs, bringing up Grossman. He doubled way over the head of the Indians’ outfielders, cruising into second base on the play. The A’s MVP catcher, who is having good or better year than any catcher in baseball, Josh Phegley, muscled up the RBI single to tie the game. As if to assure us that he is far more than just a pretty bat, Phegley threw out a baserunner at second base for the second out of the third inning to help his batterymate. Phegley finished the night three for five out of the nine slot to add to his All-Star catcher audition.

The A’s made a bid for more runs in their half of the third inning; with one out, Matt Chapman worked a walk, and with two outs, Matt Olson had one of the better at-bats of the game, eventually being hit by a pitch on the ninth of the at-bat, after spoiling six prior strikes. Stephen Piscotty loaded the bases with a walk, bringing up Ramon Laureano, who struck out. I could comment about his early season struggles, and both of his K’s, but considering he hit a home run dead to center field in a damp May night in Oakland that was the difference between a loss or extra innings, I’m not going to.

The A’s knocked out Anderson after the third; which I believe was three more innings than he pitched his last start, and we saw Olson made a bid for his first home run since he came back, but the fifth ended with a harmless flyout for the A’s. The sixth did not; Laureano crushed a 1-1 pitch to deep center field to give the A’s the momentary 3-2 lead.

Meanwhile, Frankie Montas held his ground through his half of the sixth, allowing eight hits, two runs and seven strike outs. He was replaced in the seventh by Sweet Lou Trivino, who was...not good tonight; the only member of the bullpen who struggled. He allowed a lead-off double, a sacrifice bunt, and a sacrifice fly to tie the game; Grossman nearly threw the runner out, but he was safe by a fingertip or two.

Ryan Buchter was lights-out in the eighth, and the A’s half of the inning started with a lead-off single (read: untouched ball by the third baseman) by Stephen Piscotty. All looked promising with Laureano coming to the plate; how could he possibly hit into a double-play? The answer to that, of course, is the only way he can; a ground out to first base, and then second. Grossman walked to give the A’s one more chance, but he just could not get the rhythm to steal second, which would have likely won the game; Phegley’s amazing at-bat resulted in him muscling up a single to put two runners on, where they were stranded.

Blake Treinen pitched a 5-pitch ninth inning (with help from Marcus Semien, who is rapidly becoming a great player on both sides of the field), as well as the tenth. Joakim Soria pitched a perfect eleventh and twelfth (3 K’s), finally looking like the pitcher we acquired; he earned the win as the first batter of the twelfth for the A’s, Matt Chapman, took the 3-2 curveball out into the night, delighting the huge crowd of 35,000+ who stayed for the 510 fireworks. It wasn’t a no-hitter, but it just might have been as exciting.

The A’s try to take the series tomorrow at 1:05PM. Aaron Brooks will take the mound for the A’s against Trevor Bauer.

Savor this one, and have a terrific weekend.