A big 5th inning is what pushed the A’s ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals. Bob Melvin showed his National League savvy in this interleague game, with two prescient calls in double switching the struggling Chris Bassitt for Chad Pinder, and pinch hitting Khris Davis later in the game. Pinder and Semien went back-to-back tonight, joining an early Matt Olson dinger for the A’s home runs.
With a Semien pop out, a Grossman groundout, and a Chapman fly out, the A’s did not have much happening to begin the game.
Matt Chapman beat out Matt Carpenter’s leadoff bunt to start the defensive side of the first. Carpenter repeatedly showed bunt, and even though Chapman was shifted to be right to the left of the mound he was able to run down the bunt rolling down the line and tossed to Olson. After Dejong popped out to Profar, Goldschmidt walked to be the first baserunner of the game. Ozuna also got a 2-out walk from Bassitt, and with a series of longer at bats Chris was already past the 30 pitch mark by the end of Martinez’s at bat. It took 12 pitches to get a strikeout, but after a ton of pitches, Bassitt was out of the first still scoreless.
Matt Olson looked to give Chris Bassitt some support after a long inning, specifically some run support with a left field dinger to put the Athletics in the lead.
After a Laureano strikeout, the fans at Busch treated Stephen Piscotty to a great standing ovation for his return game.
Piscotty gets a standing-O in his first appearance back in St. Louis pic.twitter.com/g51RCmotDb— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) June 26, 2019
Piscotty flew out to right, but Profar bounced one over a sliding Jose Martinez for a standup double. Phegley knocked the ball right to Ozuna for the third out, stranding Profar.
The Hound’s rough start continued with a liner single by Molina. Bassitt kept hitting the zone wide when trying to paint the corners, and as a result he issued his third walk of the night to Dexter Fowler. Passing the 50 pitch mark throwing to Kolten Wong, Bassitt missed the double play by a step following a great turn by Olson. Bassitt fielded Flaherty’s bunt to hold the runner on third, getting the pitcher for the second out. Matt Carpenter drove a ball to deep centre field, and for a moment it looked like Bassitt would have been out of the inning with a Laureano robbery, but instead the ball bounced beside Ramón’s glove as he slid backwards into the wall. Carpenter cashed in 2 runs on his triple, and almost went for an inside-the-parker. Paul Dejong had a fly bounce in left field up into the stands for an automatic double, scoring Carpenter. But after 68 pitches Bassitt finally got out of the inning with Profar catching a blazing liner from Goldschmidt.
Bassitt flew out quickly to lead off the 3rd, followed by Semien striking out on a full count. Robbie Grossman lined the ball to shallow left to get on base before Matt Chapman popped out into shallow centre to finish the top of the third.
Bassitt has a much better third inning, a 3-pitch fly out for Ozuna, a 4 pitch ground out for Martinez, and a 4-pitch ground out for Molina. A 1-2-3 inning was exactly what The Hound needed to stay in this game, and he delivered.
Matt Olson worked to a full count, but struck out on a dead centre slider. Flaherty grabbed another K off of Laureano with the help of Molina’s framing. Piscotty took his full count for a 7 pitch walk, giving the A’s a 2-out base runner for the third consecutive inning. Profar saw the third full count of the A’s inning, but went the same way as Olson, striking out.
The bottom of the fourth began with a Dexter Fowler strikeout, followed with an 0-2 single by Wong. Kolten then stole second off of a low ball to Flaherty, Bassitt then walked the pitcher including three straight balls to start the at-bat. This was enough for Bob Melvin, as with 94 pitches Bob called for a double switch, bringing in J.B. Wendelkin to pitch, and swapping Jurickson Profar for Chad Pinder.
Wendelkin started out strong, catching Carpenter with a high and away changeup, striking Carpenter out looking. Dejong popped out quickly after, and Wendelkin was out of the inning with less pitches thrown than win most of Bassitt’s at-bats.
Josh Phegley took advantage of the stadium dimensions, bouncing a ball off the left field foul line for leadoff automatic double. Chad Pinder came up as the mid-game replacement from the double switch, batting 9th, and belted the ball ___ft to left field to tie the game for the A’s
Pinder just smashed it into Big Mac Land pic.twitter.com/klnxo5xDyG— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) June 26, 2019
Next up, Marcus Semien, thirsty for a lead, drove the ball to deep centre, 401 feet to go back-to-back.
While Grossman grounded out on his first pitch, Matt Chapman blazed a ball past Carpenter for a single. Matt Olson decided to keep the rally going, firing a laser through the gap in right to move Chapman to 3rd. Ramón popped out to Wong for the second out. Stephen Piscotty picked up an RBI by drilling the ball behind Flaherty and up through centre to score Chapman. The A’s decided it was time to Khrush, pinch hitting Khris Davis, and the Cardinals decided Flaherty had done enough this inning, substituting him for John Brebbia.
Khris only would get one at bat tonight, and he had to make it good. How about a double to the right-centre gap? Khris knocked the two bagger to add 2 Matts batted in to his season tally. Phegley flew out afterwards, but a big inning where the A’s batted around moved the green and gold from a 2 run deficit to a 4 run lead.
Yusmeiro Petit started the bottom of the 6th off strong with a Goldschmidt fly out, but Ozuna managed to drop the ball in front of Grossman. Martinez looked to be out on a fly ball, but as quickly as Stephen Piscotty caught the ball on a slide, his glove hit the ground and the ball rolled out. This allowed Ozuna to progress to third, but Petit locked in to strike out Molina on 3 pitches, and Fowler on 5, to keep the A’s up by a slam.
A’s don’t have much happen in the 6th, line out, line out, ground out. Not much of note.
Petit was back up, with Piscotty holding onto the first out that Kolten Wong popped to right. Relief pitcher Yairo Munoz flew out to centre, and after starting with 4 straight foul balls, Matt Carpenter struck out swinging to end the inning. 3-up-3-down for both sides.
Matt Chapman leads off the inning, against new Redbirds pitcher Dominic Leone. Chapman got a strikeout called on the inside corner, after 2 called strikes and a ball before Chapman had not even taken the bat off his shoulder. Olson popped out to Goldschmidt in foul territory, Ramón was fooled swinging at a ball in the dirt, and the A’s had to make their way back onto the field.
Joakim Soria was in for the A’s, and was immediately helped by Stephen Piscotty rushing over to catch a fly on the right field line. Goldschmidt battled Soria but ended up with a pop out to Matt Olson. Ozuna, also fighting, drew a walk from Soria. Jose Martinez made the mistake of grounding out to Matt Chapman, and in short order was retired at first to move on to the eighth.
On his first pitch, Piscotty grounded the ball to Wong at second, out quickly. This brought up pinch hitter extraordinaire Tanner Anderson for his second MLB at-bat. As to be expected, Anderson struck out looking. Phegley grounded out to Wong and it was time to bring in Sweet Lou.
Trivino is back in the eight and ready to roll as he was hitting 100mph on the gun getting Molina to ground out to Olson. Fowler got lucky grounding a ball past Chapman to get on base, but Wong popped up in foul territory to give the Cards 2 outs for the pitcher’s spot in the lineup. Pinch hitter Tommy Edman lined his first pitch for a single to right-centre, moving Fowler to third. Carpenter junked a ball right to Grossman to move along to the final inning.
Pinder, Semien, and Grossman all decided to finish up the game quickly, as new pitcher Tyler Webb retired all three on defensive outs, in only 9 pitches.
Liam Hendriks was called on for the last three outs, starting by facing Paul Dejong. Grounding up the middle, Dejong got a single off a 1-2 count. Hendriks jumped ahead of Goldschmidt with a 1-2 count, and this time notched the K. Ozuna drilled a ball up the right field line into the corner, but Piscotty’s familiarity with the grounds helped hold Dejong on third. Martinez was up with two runners in scoring position, another extended Martinez at-bat ended with a swinging strikeout on a slider skimming the shale. Yadi came up as the Cardinals’ last chance, and for the second time tonight Molina struck out on three pitches.
Despite giving the Cardinals a couple chances with runners in scoring position, the A’s bullpen were able to carry this game from the fourth inning onward.
Lou Trivino looked more like his usual self tonight, pitching a solid eighth inning, and Hendriks’ was able to work the 9th for two strike outs continuing a great relief streak for himself.
The A’s offence exploded in the 5th getting them past the Cards for good, and getting the team half way to a short-series sweep.
With today’s win The A’s move to 42 and 38. Tomorrow the Athletics finish the two game Cardinals series with an afternoon game. Daniel Mengden is back up from AAA Las Vegas to fill Montas’ rotation spot, and he’ll be up against long-time Cardinal Adam Wainwright.