The A’s win another series with an afternoon win today to take two out of three from the Brewers; most impressively two out of three off their elite closer, Josh Hader, as the other Matt (Chapman) got to him today, a two-run blast that turned the game around from an eighth inning deficit, 3-2, to a sudden, shocking, amazing 4-3 lead. The A’s added another run, and thanks to Blake Treinen’s near-perfect eighth and Liam Hendriks’ perfect ninth, they won! It was a huge win.
Things were looking pretty grim through eight innings for our heroes. Down 3-2 in the eighth, having been just frozen for multiple games now, missing Ramon Laureano and his monster season numbers, with Matt Chapman ice cold; 1-28 at the time, in danger of losing the series after last night’s loss, and facing closer Josh Hader, who recorded the save last night after losing the game Tuesday, things were indeed dicey.
And then, Robbie Grossman worked a walk to open the inning. And Matt Chapman homered. A huge homer, deep to center to turn the game around, from the 3-2 deficit to a 4-3 go-ahead. And there was much rejoicing.
It’s been a rough couple of weeks for the A’s. Yes, they swept the White Sox and Mariners, but split with the Twins, lost two out of three to the Astros, and worse, split (barely) with the Rangers before we even got here. With the A’s the perceived underdog in the Wild Card race, already missing a huge core in their offensive and defensive game for the foreseeable, future and with their best weapon, the offense, piloting the struggle bus, things looked grim for most of the game; a near carbon copy of yesterday’s through eight.
The Brewers took the lead in the first inning again; this time with the ever-annoying two-out walk, bunt single by Moustakas against the shift, and RBI single by Braun. But quicker than we could say, “Homer!” (a really rather unfortunate pitching name, if you think about it), he was out of the inning with the A’s down 1-0.
Marcus Seimen started the game with his own walk, but was thrown out at second with Robbie Grossman’s strikeout. Bailey was perfect in the second; the A’s squandered a two-out double and subsequent stolen base by Mark Canha, and Bailey overcame an error by Jurickson Profar in the third.
A home run by Chad Pinder tied the game in the bottom of the inning, but the tie game only lasted moments, as a single, walk and sacrifice fly gave the Brewers the 2-1 lead. Bailey would pitch six complete, allowing five hits and two runs, while striking out 5, in a very solid start for him. He was replaced by Jake Diekman in the seventh, who did not help himself, but was definitely not helped by catcher Beau Taylor. Diekman allowed a leadoff walk, a double and a hit batter to load the bases with no one out, and we all saw our chances for a series win flash before our eyes.
But then, something kind of amazing happened. Moustakas grounded out to Olson, who went home for the first out. And then, Diekman struck out Braun, which would have been awesome, except Taylor didn’t block the ball (new pitcher, new catcher, to be fair), and the Brewers added an insurance run. Undaunted, Diekman struck out Thames, too, to end the inning.
The A’s marched into the stretch, where the Brewers returned the favor. Canha opened the inning with a single, and with one out, Martini (replacing Pinder) walked. With two outs, and Canha now at third, a wild pitch sent him home to score the A’s second run, and close the gap back to one with tit for tat wild pitches.
Blake Treinen was called upon to pitch the eighth and he was nearly perfect, giving up a single, but no further damage. Which set the stage for what the A’s needed; a bloop and a blast, or possibly, a walk and a blast, which was what they got. Grossman worked the walk off the very tough Josh Hader and just like that, on the very first pitch he saw, Chapman positively unloaded on a low strike, dead to center field, for his 24th home run on the season, and it was glorious. And they weren’t done! As if sensing Hendriks would like a cushion, with one out, Khris Davis singled, Canha singled (to go a perfect 3-3), moving Davis to third. He would later steal second. Profar’s sacrifice fly scored the A’s fifth run.
Enter Liam Hendriks, All Star. Strike out. Strike out. Line out. Ballgame. A’s win!
Oh that was fun. And all with the tidy sum of six hits (three by Canha). Give it up for the pitching today, and just enough offense to win, but it’s a series win.
With a rare Friday off-day tomorrow, the A’s welcome in the Cardinals for two on Saturday and Sunday. Mike Fiers will take the mound Saturday night at 6:07. We’ll see you back here with all the action!