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Game #151: Liam Hendriks Gives up the Win in the 9th

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Oakland Athletics
Sep 16, 2019; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics right fielder Ramon Laureano (22) slides into home plate safely against Kansas City Royals catcher Meibrys Viloria (72) during the first inning at Oakland Coliseum. 
Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

Leading the pack in the Wild Card Race, these amazing Oakland Athletics are coming off quite a week and looking to continue their domination. Facing Kansas City with a record of 55-95, that record is no guarantee that a win is in the bag. And Kansas City let the A’s know they were not done playing ball for the year. The Royals meant business and showed it right away in the first inning, getting the best of Tanner Roark who was taking the mound against Kansas City’s Glenn Sparkman. In a sea-saw battle, the Athletics fell to defeat in the 9th inning, ending their six game streak. Liam Hendriks picked up the loss.

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First Scoring Event(s), The 1st

It only took two batters for the Royals to get on the board in the first inning. Whitt Merrifield led off with a single to left. Adalberto Mondesi followed with his third triple of the season to score the first run of the game. Laureano in right field held Mondesi at third on a subsequent pop fly to right field for out number one by Jorge Soler, Mr. 44 home runs on the season. Mondesi may have wondered if he should have run because on the next at-bat, he flirted down the line on another pop fly to right by Hunter Dozier who became out #2. I’m guessing Mondesi watched the MLB Tonight highlights of Laureano’s fumbled gunning of Jose Altuve at home plate over the weekend. Roark finished off the inning with a strikeout of Alex Gordon. The Athletics headed to the dugout down by one run in the middle of the first. But we know that is NOTHING for these boys.

And in true Green Collar fashion, Oakland responded in kind with a lead off single up the middle by Marcus Semien who advanced to second on a wild pitch and to third on a balk call, a little “stutter-stop-huh?” by pitcher Glenn Sparkman. Laureano then took the base on balls to put runners on first and third and set the table for Matt Chapman. Unfortunately Chappy sliced under it for a high-flying pop up in the middle of the diamond for out number one. But there’s always the other Matt, and the other Matt came in to take care of business. In an opposite-field slice down the left field line, Matt Olson’s two-RBI double put the Athletics ahead 2-1.

Olson then advanced to third on yet another wild pitch. Canha worked his way into a full count and then became the second walk of the inning, and the second first and third situation for Kansas City. But alas, they were stranded to end the inning.

Second Scoring Event, the 2nd

The A’s went up 4-1 in the second inning which started with Sean Murphy doubling on a line drive to left field. Murphy then advanced on a passed ball by catcher Meibrys Velario. Advancing to third didn’t matter much on the next at-bat. Marcus Semien, who singled in the first inning, took a two run shot to center field for a two RBI home run.

Ramon Laureano followed with a single but was left stranded to end the inning.

Third Scoring Event, the 4th:

Jorge Soler did it again! Entering the game with 44 home runs and one short of Mike Trout’s season lead, Soler took it deep in the top of the fourth to center field to tie Trout for #45.

Mike Trout is out for the season, having surgery on the foot that has been plaguing him and will miss the rest of the season. The best he will do is be tied with Soler, but there are a lot of games left for Soler.

The hitting continued by the Royals. Hunter Dozier doubled on a line drive to left. Tanner Roark seemed to self destruct at that point, loading the bases by hitting (barely) Alex Gordon and then walking Bubba Starling. But Tanner gritted it out. With bases loaded Roark took the game back by striking out Ryan O’Hearn, Meibrys Velario, and Brett Phillips, Phillips called out watching strike three blow by.

Fourth Scoring Event, the 5th:

Roark had just too many mishaps and maybe should not have been allowed back out on the mound after his struggles in the fourth. Yes, he gritted it out and struck out three in a row. But his control was not excellent even with these strikeouts. He entered the fifth and gave up an immediate single to Merrifield. And, while he was able to strike out Adalberto Mondesi, he followed with a double to Jorge solar to put runners at the corners. Melvin showed confidence, however, and allowed him to face Hunter Dozier who popped out to Jurckson Profar at second. And that was all she wrote for Roark.

Jake Diekman entered the game with two outs, giving up a single to Alex Gordon that scored Merrifield and Soler to tie the game 4-4. Bubba Starling then singled but that was it for the Royals as Diekman struck out pinch hitter Ryan Mc Broom. But the damage was done and a no-decision was the fate of Roark, the game beginning again.

Fifth Scoring Event, the 8th:

Matt Olson led off 8th with a double into right that almost made it out of the park, inches from the top! With no outs, Franklin Barretto came in to run for Olson. Kevin McCarthy replaced pitcher Gabe Speier on the mound and faced Mark Canha. Franklin Barretto ran too quickly as a come-backer up high was nabbed by McCarthy who immediately ran to Barretto, getting him in a run-down. Barretto did his job, however, staying safe until Canha made it to second. One out.

Robbie Grossman was intentionally walked which made room for Khris Davis in the batter’s box; Davis entered the box 0-3 on the night with a liner, pop fly and strikeout. Davis did what he needed to do which was to single up the middle to score the fleet-of-foot Mark Canha and put the A’s on top 5-4.

Sixth Scoring Event, the 9th

Liam Hendriks with a save opportunity did the exact opposite. He started by giving up a one-out home run to Brett Phillips; this was Phillips’ second home run of the season. Hendriks then gave up a deep fly ball to Whit Merrifield that popped in and out of Ramon Laureano’s glove (E8). With the go-ahead run on base, Mondesi then hit an RBI double to score Merrifield and put the Royals ahead 6-5.

Ian Kennedy, the Royals’ closer, came in for the bottom of the 9th; the A’s had to be focused and productive and Marcus Semien looked the part as he picked up his 3rd hit of the night to lead it off. Laureano, ahead in the count, popped a short fly to right field for the first out. Chapman with one out and Semien on first entered the box 0-4 on the night. With the count 2-0, Kennedy fed Chapman three straight fastballs at 94, 95, and 96 MPH and struck him out swinging. Chad Pinder, immediately behind in the count 0-2, was no match for Kennedy and the game ended with a strikeout. Liam Hendriks picked up the loss.

Box scores:

Other items to note this evening:

  1. Robbie Grossman turned 30 tonight.
  2. Yusmeiro Petit made his 75th appearance of the season, replacing Diekman in the 6th and quickly dispatching Whit Merrifield who hit into a double play.
  3. The left field drummers had competition: A mariachi band.
  4. The field looks like hell! Thank you State legislators for the “yes” votes on all things “new stadium.”