The team had a chance for a much needed sweep while playing on the road, but unfortunately mother nature had some other plans, as the game was suspended in the middle of the seventh inning and must be completed at a later date.
In the top of the first, the A’s went down 1-2-3 with two strikeouts against Tigers’ starter/opener Gregory Soto, who had an ERA over 13.00 entering this morning’s game. The top of the first properly set up the bottom half of the frame, where Mike Fiers gave up a hard hit line drive down the right field line for a triple to the first batter he faced. A sacrifice fly brought that runner home and cleared the bases, but Fiers made sure to get himself right back into trouble by following that sacrifice fly with a four pitch walk and a single to place runners on first and third. A passed ball on a high curve ball brought home a second run. Another walk led to a mound visit as Fiers blew passed thirty pitches in the first.
It took a tough running catch from Laureano, on a ball hit directly over his head in deep center field, to end the inning with the score just 2-0. Through the second inning, the score remained the same. That the A’s could not win this game was obvious. The team has long struggled on getaway games, and managed to lose every single Sunday getaway game so far this season. The rest of the game felt sure to be a formality.
Laureano led off the top of the third inning, getting ahead in the count before pouncing on a down-the-middle sinker that he grounded through the hole between third base and shortstop. Josh Phegley popped out, but managed to see seven pitches in the process of the at bat, throwing Soto off of his rhythm. Marcus Semien, who struck out in the first, fell behind in the count, but on a beautiful, defensive, inside out swing, he ripped a line drive the opposite way to the right center field fence, going for a standup triple that allowed Laureano to easily score. Matt Chapman walked to place runners on the corners, and then Chad Pinder, who hit the ball very hard in his first at bat, hit the ball very hard once again for a sacrifice fly.
With two outs and the game just tied up, it was time for Oakland to get greedy. Khris Davis, back in the lineup after a late scratch yesterday, needed just two pitches before grounding a single the other way to put runners on first and second. Stephen Piscotty then pounced on the first pitch he saw and grounded the ball through the same hole Laureano found to begin the inning, and Chapman was able to score from second base, giving the A’s the lead.
Then, because it’s Sunday, Fiers gave up a solo home run to Nick Castellanos in the bottom half of the third, tying the game back up. In the fourth, the A’s hit three warning track fly balls for outs. Fiers tried his damndest to give up the lead in the bottom of the fourth, but slick defense from Chapman ended a two-runner threat.
Over the next few innings, against the Tigers’ bullpen, the A’s continually threatened but failed to score, and the game remained a taut 3-3 affair. In the fifth, a leadoff double and an infield single surmounted to nothing. In the sixth, back to back singles from Jurickson Profar and Laureano went nowhere.
To Fiers’ credit, after a thirty three pitch first inning, he managed to throw just twenty three pitches combined over the next three innings, making his pitch count much more manageable. Through six innings, he was at a reasonable eighty five pitches total. He only allowed four base hits, along with three walks and three strikeouts, and even though a lot of the contact he surrendered was loud contact, he ultimately settled down after an awful start and turned in a better than expected performance. He left the game with a chance of being a winner.
In the top half of the seventh, a walk to Chapman and a sinking single from Pinder set the stage for the A’s to take the lead. With two outs in the seventh, Stephen Piscotty, like Semien before him, found the right center field gap and scored both baserunners on his double. The A’s took a 5-3 lead, with a very well-rested bullpen able to put the remainder of this game away.
Only, because it’s Sunday, the A’s never got the chance. Liam Hendriks entered the game in the top of the seventh having been one of the A’s stronger relievers this year, and got four pitches into his appearance before the players were cleared off of the field and the tarp was put in place. However, at the time the game was called, there wasn’t any rain falling, and no rain would fall for nearly half an hour. There was plenty of time to finish the frame, thus being able to end the game after seven innings, but since Detroit didn’t get the chance to bat, the game must instead be continued at a later date.
At the very least, the A’s are winning, but the completing of the sweep may have to wait quite some time.