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Game #49: A’s Bat Around Cleveland for the Win

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Cleveland Indians
May 20, 2019; Cleveland, OH, USA; Oakland Athletics first baseman Matt Olson (28) celebrates his solo home run in the third inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field.
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Brett Anderson demonstrated his veteran status with an excellent outing against the Indians in this first of three games at Progressive Field in Cleveland. Summarizing Anderson’s pitching is simple. Good location. Good movement. Good speed. Strong control. Unfortunately, he made a premature exit with one out in the 6th, having trouble moving his neck. In the previous inning, he reacted to flying broken-bat debris and had what appears to be a kinking or strain of his neck. Anderson went five and a third innings and gave up one earned run on four hits with one strikeout. He secured his 5th win of the season.

Game threads can be found here:

Thread one:

Thread two:

In the bottom of the 5th, it looked as if Anderson would avoid giving up a run in this game. It began with a double by Jose Ramirez who advanced on a ground out by Roberto Perez. Matt Chapman, in an over-the-railing foul ball catch then took away Carlos Gonzalez’s at bat by making the second out. This held Jose Ramirez at third. Despite this excellent defense, Oscar Mercado picked up a two-out single, a grounder up the middle, to drive in the Indians’ first run of the game. Marcus Semien saved the day with a backhanded snag of a hard liner by Francisco Lindor to keep the damage to a minimum and maintain the Athletics’ 3-1 lead.

In the bottom of the 6th, the bullpen finally went into action. Anderson faced Jason Kipnis at the start of the inning and gave up a double to center field, Kipnis’ 8th of the year. After getting Carlos Santana to fly out to center field, Yusmeiro Petit replaced Brett Anderson when Anderson asked for a mound visit because he was struggling to move his neck. Petit, already warming up in the bullpen, went right to work and picked up out number two by getting Jordan Luplow to fly out to center field. He then retired Jose Ramirez on a flyout to right fielder Stephen Piscotty to end the inning.

Petit continued into the 7th inning, but it didn’t last long. Facing Roberto Perez, Petit gave up a home run to right field that just made it, tagging the walls yellow stripe to make it official. That was it for Petit as Ryan Buchter came in with the 4-2 lead. In the 8th, Lou Trivino replaced Ryan Buchter and no doubt several fans were holding their breath. Trivino has struggled recently and today was no exception.

Despite getting Francisco Lindor to ground to Olson who threw to Trivino at first, he began to struggle on the mound. His fastball was hitting 96 and he used all four of his pitches (fastball, curve, cutter, changeup) but struggled with control. In back-to-back-to-back walks, Trivino whittled away at the A’s lead. Trivino began by walking Jason Kipnis who then stole second despite an excellent throw by Phegley. On an inside cutter he then walked Carlos Santana which led to a mound visit, in part no doubt because of a substitution—Jake Bauers replacing Jordon Ludlow. But Trivino made his own mess and sought to clean it up by striking out Bauers on a 78 mph curve. It wasn’t enough, however. With two outs, Trivino gave up a single to Jose Ramirez who went the opposite way and scored Kipnis: A’s 4, Indians 3. His night ended when he walked his third batter of the night by putting Roberto Perez on base with balls. Blake Treinen came in to clean up the mess by retiring Carlos Gonzalez on a groundert to shortstop Marcus Semien who threw to Olson at first for the putout.

Treinen continued into the 9th, getting the first two batters easily. Mercado grounded to Semien who threw him out at first. Leonys Martin then popped up to Josh Phegley in foul territory. Unfortunately, Francisco Lindor took it deep to right field to close the scoring gap: A’s 6, Cleveland 4. But this was the last of Cleveland’s scoring, and Matt Chapman can be thanked for avoiding extra innings. See below.

Offensively, the Athletics had warm bats throughout the night despite the cool 54 degree weather. Inning by inning they pecked away at the Cleveland pitchers, which began with Carlos Carrasco in the second inning. Jurickson Profar took a 379 foot shot to the right field stands for the first A’s run of the game.

The inning had more promise for runs, but the A’s batters did not push the runners home. Robbie Grossman walked followed by Ramon Laureano’s 5th double of the season, a ground ball into left. Grossman and Laureano were left stranded on second and third as Phegley and Semien both fell victim to Carrasco’s slider and went down swinging.

In the third inning with one out, Matt Olson gave the right field stands more action. On a 417 foot fly ball, he picked up his fourth home fun of the season.

In the fourth inning, Robbie Grossman picked up his 7th double of the season on a sharp fly ball to center field. With one out, Josh Phegley pushed Grossman home with a line drive single to left fielder Oscar Mercado. In the 7th, Marcus Semien had a one-out double (his 11th of the season) that allowed him to advance to third on a fielding error by Oscar Mercado. Matt Chapman then followed with an RBI single to center field for the Athletics’ 4th run of the game.

In the ninth, after Cleveland started knocking on the door and brought the game within one run, 4-3, the A’s put some insurance runs on the board which turned out to be critical. With one out, Marcus Semien earned a walk by former Athletic Tyler Clippard. Matt Chapman then took Clippard deep to left for a two-run home run to put the Athletics ahead 6-3.

This was a critical at-bat for Chapman as the Indians scored their fourth run in the bottom of the ninth and thus these extra runs tipped the scale for a victory. Stephen Piscotty then singled on a soft ground ball to Clippard and beat the throw. But that was all the offense for the A’s as Jurickson Profar popped out to second baseman Jason Kipnis for the final A’s at-bat of the game.

The A’s are beginning to show signs of their 2018 form in their last few road trips. After getting swept in Seattle, the A’s lead the majors with 15 away losses. With the this win on top of the Detroit defeats Thursday-Saturday (and an almost win Sunday except for the rain delay), the A’s are showing that they still remember how to win on the road and to do it in team fashion, something all fans became used to in 2018. And, it appears, the A’s are feeling it also:

Tomorrow will be another 3:10 PST start in Cleveland.