Both sides were hitting it out of the park tonight, with both teams adding up for a total of 6 long balls. The biggest of them all came in the fourth inning, as Chris Herrmann made his introduction to the A’s with a big grand slam, surging them ahead of the Twins for the rest of the game.
***Revisit Game Thread #1 | Game Thread #2 | Game Thread #3 ***
Daniel Mengden was coming out of the gate in attack mode. His 6th pitch was the first one outside of the zone, but it was also a big looping curve that Jorge Polanco struck out swinging on. Mengden worked an easy 3-up-3-down first inning, getting Kepler out on a fly ball, and Nelson Cruz grounding out. Daniel looked strong from the start attacking the zone again and again.
Marcus Semien led off the game with a longer at-bat before a long fly out to left field. Matt Chapman started the first of tonight’s All-Star vs All-Star matchups with a pop up just to the left of the plate. Matt Olson finished off the first inning with a fly ball to Marwin Gonzales.
Mengden was back at it in the second, with Gonzales flying out to Grossman to start off the inning. A quick at-bat followed up with Cron being thrown out by Barreto at first. Luis Arraez worked a full count into a single up the middle of the field. Miguel Sanó got an inside fastball that he hit out of the park to give the Twins their first runs of the game and break up Mengden’s breezy start. To add to the trouble, Jason Casto hit the first pitch he saw rolling past Mark Canha in right for a double. Mengden got out of the inning on a Buxton fly to short centre field, but Sanó’s homer definitely shook up what had looked to be a solid start.
Khris Davis grounded out to Sanó quickly with a dribbler down the 3rd base line. Mark Canha came close to hitting the ball out early in his first at bat with a foul ball just dropping into the far right corner, and a foul ball did him in, as Canha popped up right in front of first base for Odorizzi’s second out. Ramón Laureano got a gift with a 4-0 count, giving the A’s their first base runner of the game, and after taking it to a full count, Odorizzi walked Grossman to pit Laureano in scoring position. Chris Herrmann got his first shot at the plate for the season, with Odorizzi pitching into another full count, this time getting the better of Herrmann as he struck out swinging to end the inning.
Max Kepler beat the shift by popping up just deep enough that neither Chapman or Grossman could reach the ball in time, hitting a leadoff double. Jorge Polanco beat out the throw from Semien as closely as he possibly could have, being confirmed by replay and also moving Kepler up to third base. Nelson Cruz grounded to Chapman hitting into a double play, but while the Frankie and the Matts made the turn for two, Kepler added a run to the Twins’ lead. Mengden kept ahead of Gonzales and earned his second K of the night, doing well to limit the damage possible in the inning.
Tired of watching the rest of the lineup not do much, Franklin Barreto hit a smoking double up the middle for his first Major league hit of the season. Semien belted the ball out to left but it was caught on the fly, deep enough though that Barreto was able to bust his way down to third base on the loud fly out. Tricking Chapman with a high fastball, Odorizzi got his second strikeout, but proving why you keep two Matts on your team, Oly connected to send it deep over the right field fence, and get his 17th dinger of the year.
To everyone in our mentions complaining about the drums:— Oakland A's (@Athletics) July 3, 2019
Enjoy listening to this, instead #RootedInOakland pic.twitter.com/jon40Xc7cK
Khris Davis hit the ball in the air, but not high enough as the liner was caught by Cron.
A three pitch strike out started off the fourth, with Mengden back to pounding the zone. Arraez hit a high fly to Grossman to keep the inning moving, and Mengden finished it off with another 3 pitch strikeout for a great shutdown inning.
Mark Canha rifled the ball to Sanó, who could not field the grounder cleanly, and reached on the E5. Not content with one walk, Ramón flexed his patience getting his second base on balls of the night. Grossman bounced one right in front of the speedy Buxton to load the bases, and Chris Herrmann, in his second at bat of the season belted the ball 389 feet to clear the bases and give the A’s a 3 run lead.
Welcome to Oakland, Chris!#RootedInOakland pic.twitter.com/gpJHUrmGLu— Oakland A's (@Athletics) July 3, 2019
Herrmann blasting the ball towards
Castle Greyskull Mount Davis, was enough to aggravate something in Odorizzi’s finger, as he was removed from the game after throwing two balls to Barreto. Adalberto Mejiá came in to replace Jake, and got Barretto to ground out. Marcus Lined the ball over Polanco’s head and grabbed a single, but two fly outs from Chapman and Olson ended the A’s big inning.
Jason Castro took a note on the A’s performance tonight and hit a dinger off of Mengden 417ft to centre. Danny Moustache took out his frustration on Byron Buxton, striking him out swinging. Kepler grounded out on his first pitch with the help of a bullet throw by Barreto, and Franklin did it again to finish of Polanco.
Khris Davis seemed to be concerned about Polanco’s defence, as he grounded out to short for the second time tonight. Canha drew a walk, and with an 2-0 count Ramón decided to swing the bat, and swing he did, getting the ball to bounce on the left field corner it seemed like Canha had plenty of room to score, Marwin Gonzales had a highlight reel throw to catch Canha out on the base path and keep the run in. Laureano did end up at second, through he missed the RBI. Robbie Grossman got his RBI though, popping the ball over the infield to score Laureano. Herrmann struck out swinging to end the inning, but the A’s tacked on an insurance run, though not as many as they would have liked.
Matt Olson flashed his gold glove, catching the ball in right field with his back to the infield, getting Nelson Cruz out for the start of the sixth. Marwin Gonzalez hit his first pitch on a liner to left field, but Canha caught a Cron fly for the second out. It looked like Mengden’s inning would be over, but Laureano missed a diving catch, letting Arraez’s ball roll to the wall, and scoring Gonzalez with a double. That would be it for Mengden’s night, with 5 earned runs over 5.2 innings.
SOCIAL EXPERIMENT: Actually, this meme is bad, please watch this sweet Oly catch instead#RootedInOakland pic.twitter.com/lnGGtHggEw— Oakland A's (@Athletics) July 3, 2019
Yusmeiro Petit was called on to face Sanó and try and get out of the inning, turning a 2-0 count into a full count Petit managed to get Sanó to pop out in foul territory and avoid any further Minnesota offence.
Franklin got tagged with a ball on the outside corner, starting the bottom of the inning off with a K. One pitch later, Marcus had hit a liner right to Max Kepler, giving the Twins two outs. Mejia caught another one outside for a strikeout, this time against Chapman, and the A’s went down 1-2-3.
Petit was back out against Jason Castro, and the Twins continued chipping away at the A’s lead. Castro hit his second homer of the night, bringing it to a one run game. Laureano caught Buxton’s fly out in shallow centre, and Olson made another defensive gem, snagging Keplers ground ball before it could leave the infield and tossing to Petit in time for the out. Petit fooled Polanco with a changeup outside, and kept the damage to one run.
With Mejia out for his third inning of work, Matt Olson teased his second homer of the night, but the ball died right before the warning track, getting Mejia his last out of the game. Matt Magill gave Khris Davis a ball to hit in the air, but it flew just a bit too high and was caught in centre by Buxton. Mark Canha laid off a bunch of low pitches and worked a great at bat into a colossal homer, bashing it 422ft out to left.
B A S H#RootedInOakland pic.twitter.com/j7minryNj2— Oakland A's (@Athletics) July 3, 2019
Ramón was retired at the plate for the first time tonight, swinging at a slider for a strikeout.
Mark Canha, determined to win the game, caught the first out of the inning as Nelson Cruz flew out off of Joakim Soria’s third pitch. Soria grabbed a strikeout after a long at bat against Gonzalez, and came close to finishing off Cron but the ball dribbled out of Herrmann’s glove and Cron was gifted a walk. Soria caught Arraez fishing on a wide curve. Soria had a strong inning to keep the Twins down and the A’s up.
Grossman led off the inning, and he continued a productive night with his second walk of the game. Magill struggled against Herrmann, walking him on a full count and ending his outing at 0.2 innings pitched and 5 batters faced.
Mike Morin was the Twins answer to face Franklin Barretto with 2 on and no outs, Barretto dropped a bunt right to Morin, and the Twins were able to catch Grossman advancing on third for the first out. Semien grounded to third and the Twins’ defence pulled out the ol’ 5-4-3 double play to end the inning.
The A’s turned to Liam Hendriks to finish the Twins off. Sanó tagged a fastball into centre to lead off the inning. Castro took 3 big whiffs off of Hendriks’ pitches for a big strikeout. You could tell Hendriks was hot, because the Twins kept swinging their bats to try and get him some air, it didn’t work out for Buxton either, as he whiffed for Liam’s second K. Kepler tried to tie the game
On a night where neither team wanted to give in, the A’s managed to wrestle the advantage and hold on for the tap out. Chris Herrmann impressed in his Athletics debut, calling a strong game, making some great blocks, and most importantly hitting a 4-run jack that gave the A’s their lead. Matt Olson had a great game both on the field and in the box, Laureano and Grossman both put in work to get on base, and Franklin Barretto looked comfortable with the big league squad, starting off the offence with a big double.
While Daniel Mengden let a fair amount of Twins runners cross the plate, he managed to have a few dependable innings and almost pitched through two thirds of the game. The bullpen looked promising, especially Soria and Hendriks who kept the Twins in check to secure the win.
With today’s win The A’s move to 47 and 39 on the season. The A’s are now tied for the second Wild Card spot and sit in second place in the AL West, 7 games behind Houston.