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Game #98: Bullpen Woes Push The Twins Ahead

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Minnesota Twins Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

What looked like a game that would keep the A’s momentum moving forward instead shifted in the seventh inning. The Twins took advantage of the A’s bullpen and their three late game homers put the game out of reach for the Athletics who lost 6-3.

***Revisit Game Thread 1 | Game Thread 2 | Game Thread 3 ***


The game started lucky for the A’s as Marcus Semien hit a ball right to Luis Arraez, but he bobbled the ball, and missed his throw to first base, giving the A’s a runner in scoring position to lead off the game. Grossman grounded out to third, and Olson was called out on a two seamer hitting the high inside corner of the zone. Canha popped up the ball near first base, and just as easily as the A’s were gifted a runner in scoring position, the top of the inning was over without an opportunity to advance him.

Fiers felt like giving the Twins a lead off gift to repay their kindness, walking Max Kepler on five pitches. Mitch Garver balanced it out by striking out in 4 pitcher. Nelson Cruz hit a one-hopper to Pinder who turned to make it a 5-4-3 double play and clear the inning.


Laureano was fooled on a pitch inside, swinging to strike out for the start of the 2nd inning. Khris Davis was not fooled, blasting a ball 106mph off of his bat, right at Miguel Sano and bouncing it off of him, getting Davis on base off the Twins’ second error of the game. Profar quickly flew out to left field before Pinder belted the ball to the hole in right-centre for a single, moving Khris to third base. As the inning came close to breaking out, it instead ended with Phegley grounding to third and getting caught on the force.

Starting the bottom of the inning off with a strikeout is always good, so it’s good that Fiers did exactly that to Marwin Gonzales. Right after that Cron grounded out to short, and Jurickson Profar made a great dive to corral Arraez’s ball and keep it a 3-up-3-down inning.


After looking like he was seeing the ball well through his AB, Semien struck out swinging on an outside changeup, and on the next pitch Grossman flew out to left. Olson had a patient at bat with some tough calls against him, but managed to get the ball through the shift and into right field for a single. Canha grounded to short, and the inning moved to the bottom on his out.

Another walk started off the Twins half of the inning, with Sano waiting though the full count. Jake Cave bounced the ball past a diving Profar for the Twins first hit, getting runners on first and second. Pinder grabbed the ball off of a Adrianza bunt, getting the first out, but advancing the runners. A wild pitch to the backstop scored the first run for the Twins as Phegley couldn't seem to make a throw home in time to get the out. There was little time to gripe about the run as shortly after Kepler lined the ball to first, Olson dove to catch the ball in the air and tossed to Pinder at third to snag an unorthodox inning ending double play.


Leadoff Laureano turned around on an 0-2 count, hitting a bloop behind first base for a single and advanced to second on a passed ball while Davis was at bat. Khris connected with a slider and dropped it juuuuust in fair territory past third base. The ball rolled for long enough for Ramón to score and Davis to make it to second. Profar advanced Khris to third with a ground out, but Davis stayed there through Pinder’s at bat as Chad struck out swinging. It looked as if Phegley would deliver the lead to the A’s but Marwin Gonzales managed to track his ball down as it hit the outfield fence, keeping the game tied.

Garver ground out with a broken bat, Nelson Cruz flew out in foul territory to Olson, Fiers got two easy outs to start off the inning. Marwin Gonzales battled Fiers through a full count, and hit the ball right at him, Mike was able to knock the ball down but could not come up with it until it was too late to get Gonzales out with the force. During Cron’s at-bat he fouled a ball back off of the mask of home plate umpire Quinn Wolcott. That hit removed Wolcott from the game, leaving only three umps in the game for the remainder of the game. After about a 10 minute delay for the umps, Fiers came back out and ended the inning on 1 pitch, getting Cron out swinging.


Marcus bunted on the first pitch of the inning, and was caught out at first. Grossman hit a slow grounder to Arraez, and was half a step away from an infield single but the ball barely beat him to the base. Olson’s long at-bats continued with him striking out swinging on the 7th pitch he saw, bringing the inning to Fiers.

Fiers started another bottom inning off with a walk, this time to Arraez. Sano drilled the ball into left to get another runner on for the Twins. On a contentious pitch the ball bounced past Cave’s knee and the A’s managed to catch Arraez on the bases coming back into second. Arraez had thought that the ball had hit Cave and took his time getting back to second. Cave then struck out, and Adrianza grounded out to second, and an inning that looked like trouble ended up being breezy as Fiers was through 5.


Sano finally held on to a liner hit to him, spinning to catch Canha’s on a bounce and spinning back to get the first out. As Kyle Gibson breached the 80 pitch mark Laureano hit the ball into the shift, but Arraez had to dive tot pin the ball down letting Ramón get on base once again. Khris had two hard hit balls in his previous ABs, and while he connected with this one he was not able to muscle it out of left, instead flying out and keeping Ramón at first. Laureano wasn’t at first for long, Jurickson Profar followed up his 2-HR game last night with a 388ft right field second decker tonight. A’s are up 3-1

Pinder struck out afterwards to move things along.

Fiers tried to get a slider past Kepler, but instead it was tagged for a right field it, giving the Twins a leadoff runner for the fourth time tonight. Garver grounded straight to Pinder at third, and another textbook 5-4-3 double play cleared the bases, even after a replay review to double check Profar’s foot placement. Cruz grounded the ball past Fiers feet up the middle, to extend the inning, After a close foul bouncing just outside of first base that would have been trouble for the A’s if fair, Gonzales instead flew out to left field being caught by Pinder and Grossman bumping into each other.


Phegley grounded out to short to give a quick out to the Twins. Marcus has been battling Gibson all night and has not managed to get the advantage, grounding out to end up the second out. As Gibson moved past 100 pitches, he managed to catch Grossman looking at a high inside fastball for a K.

Cron tried to get the ball into the outfield, but Profar turned another nice play taking a step back to snag the ball and throw out Cron. Arraez powered the ball high off a Fiers changeup, but it stayed in the park landing for a double and bringing up Sano. With little help from the ump Fiers took a 3-0 count full, before walking Sano wth a low curve and ending his night. Yumerio Petit is up to finish off the inning.

Eddie Rosario is brought in as a pinch hitter against Petit, and he hits the first pitch he sees out of the park, giving the Twins a one run lead. Adrianza lines out to Canha in right with the next pitch, and Kepler struck out swinging. The pinch hit homer put the Twins ahead without much wiggle room for the A’s to make a comeback.


Taylor Rogers comes in as the new Twins pitcher, and after a towering foul ball Olson grounded out to first. Mark Canha lined the ball into the left field grass to get the tying run on base, and Ramón moved that run into scoring position with a grounder single up into left. Khris looked ready to make an impact, but a strike on the inside corner retired him for the night. Profar came close to striking again but the ball he connected with ended up dying just shy of the right field boxes and he was the third out of the 8th.

Trivino got the call for the A’s, starting out wth 99mph gas around the zone. After a called ball on what could have been strike three against Garver, the next pitch was belted out to centre field to cushion the Twins lead. Cruz grounded out to third, Gonzales flew out to right, but Cron hit one over Grossman to extend the Twins lead even further. That was it for Trivino, changing out for Wei-Chung Wang.

Wang looked like he had Arraez ready to K, but the AB continued long enough for a walk. What looked like yet another homer off the A’s bullpen by Sano was replay confirmed to be foul, and a long and terrible inning for the A’s came to an end with a fly ball to Canha.


Pinder grounded out to start the A’s last chance at winning tonight. Phegley popped out to the infield, and Marcus grounded out to end the game.

Jurickson Profar continued a great streak, a few great defensive plays and another homer tonight. Ramon went 3-for-4 with a K as he remained hot as well.

Despite leading off three innings with walks, Fiers pitched efficiently tonight, entering the 7th inning with less than 80 pitches. While he ends thee night with a no-decision, one can’t help but wonder if things may have ended differently if he was left in to face Mendoza-line-hitting Cave rather than Petit facing the pinch hitting Rosario. But wins and losses aren't decided by what-ifs, and the A’s offence wasn’t able to get past the 2 relief innings thrown by Taylor Rogers.

With today’s loss the Athletics move to 55 and 42. The series continues tomorrow with Chris Bassitt taking on Jake Odorizzi, as the A’s look to start a new winning streak.