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Game #140: Athletics Down but NOT Out!

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Oakland Athletics
Athletics catcher Josh Phegley (19) celebrates after hitting a home run against the Los Angeles Angels during the seventh inning at the Oakland Coliseum.
Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

The A’s showed their grit in this game of patience, perseverance and determination. The A’s beat the Angels 10-6 in a fantastic comeback that is one for the books! Another awesome aspect: A.J. Puk picked up his first major league win!

To start, the Angels began scoring early and were soon up by three runs in the 4th (4-1). In the first with one out, back-to-back singles by Trout and Pujols set the table. The A’s were able to get Brian Goodwin to hit into a force out (Olson throwing out Pujols at second). But then, Trout on third and Goodwin at first, Justin Upton hit a sharp line drive to Mark Canha in center field for a two-RBI double.

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In the top of the third the Angels scored again. David Fletcher singled on a soft bunt up the third base line; as quick as Chappy is, there was no play for him this time. This followed by a 455 foot home run by Mike Trout to push the Angels to four runs.

The A’s made a little noise in the first inning but at the expense of Marcus Semiens no-doubt-bruising lower back as he took the bag on a hit by pitch. Semien didn’t stay on first long, stealing his eighth base of the season. Moved over to third on a Matt Olson grounder, Semien then scored on an up-the-middle single by Mark Canha.

A couple of things to note here. Mark Canha has reached base via a hit or a walk in twenty consecutive games now. There was also an out call (Olson at first) that was upheld. See what you think:

Justin Upton continued the Angels scoring by t-ing it up again in the fifth and picking up his 3rdRBI of the game. With Trout on second (on board by a fielder’s choice and moved over on single by Brian Goodwin), Upton singled to score Trout. The good news is that Upton’s damage stopped there as he was picked off by Brett Anderson. The Athletics were unable to retaliate in the fifth. Marcus Semien did, however, hit a shot into center for a ground-rule double. Angels 5, Athletics 1.

In the bottom of the 6th , Matt Olson hit his 23rd double of the season to get something started for the Athletics. Mark Canha followed with a great at-bat, working the pitcher and finally taking one to right field but Kole Calhoun stopped Canha with a diving catch. Olson advanced to third. With one out, Juickson Profar quickly made it two outs when he lined out to center fielder Mike Trout. Khris Davis, back from paternity leave, followed by lining out to shortstop Andrelton Simmons to end the sixth inning.

A.J. Puk pitched the 6th and 7th innings. In the 6th he controlled things well. In the 7th, he gave up the second home run of the game to Kevin Smith. Angels 6, Athletics 1. One would think that this would deflate the Athletics, moving behind by yet another run. Pecked at all game by the Angels. But one thing that history shows this season, NOTHING. EVER. DEFLATES. THE A’s! This was demonstrated yet again in the A’s offensive attack that can best be summarized as “letting the other guys screw up.” In a very long and wonderful seventh inning, here is what you missed:

Sheldon Neuse singled up the middle. Neuse didn’t stay at first base for very long as Josh Phegley ended his 0-20 streak with his 11thhome run and the Athletics’ 220thof the year. That ended the day for Jose Suarez who began pitching in the 2nd inning, replacing Bard.

Ty Buttrey took the mound with a score of 6-3 Angels. Marcus Semien made Buttrey uncomfortable right away with a line shot to right fielder Kole Calhoun, Semien getting on base for the fourth time today. Matt Chapman then walked to give way to the tying run at the plate: Matt Olson, one of the key players you want at the plate with runners on base. On six pitches, Olson picked up his own base on balls to load the bases and prompt a mound visit from manager Brad Ausmus.

Mark Canha was 1-3 on the day. His second hit was robbed by Calhoun’s spectacular diving catch. Canha has always been known as a guy with the “good eye.” This at-bat was no exception. On 7 pitches, two of them fouled off, Canha picked up an RBI walk that forced in the Athletics’ fourth run, Marcus Semien. This was the end of Buttrey, replaced by Miguel Del Pozo. A’s 4, Angels 6.

Del Pozo faced Jurickson Profar with bases loaded. Again, 7 pitches and AGAIN another RBI walk, Olson scoring as Profar took first base. Bases still loaded. Still one out. Now down by one run, 6-5. Brad Ausmus was not having Del Pozo do it again and in came Luis Garcia to face Khris Davis. With the fifth consecutive full count in this inning, this again went the Athletics’ way, though not a walk this time. Khris Davis hit a short grounder to shortstop Andrelton Simmons who threw him out at first but not before he picked up an RBI as Olson crossed the plate; Canha advanced to third and Profar to second with the score tied at 7 a piece. And AGAIN Ausmus doesn’t waste time and goes to the pen, bringing in another lefty, Adalberto Mejia. Pitcher number 5 in this inning!

Robbie Grossman came off the bench, replacing Chad Pinder. And what an amazing move by Melvin. On the first pitch, Grossman tripled—scoring Canha and Profar to push the Athletics ahead 8-6.

Neuse finished off this inning with a fly out to Mike Trout. Bottom Line: Unbelievable batting and game play by the Athletics. Patience at the plate was also key. And, this is yet another example that the A’s may be down but they are NEVER out. This is playoff baseball right here!

Ryan Buchter took over for A.J. Puk in the 8th, facing leadoff hitter Brian Goodwin—striking him out on a 92mph four-seamer. Justin Upton, 3 RBIs in the game on a single and a double, was behind in the count 0-2 as he watched strike two—a slow, lingering curve—fall away. Buchter then sent Upton to the same fate as Goodwin striking him out. With two outs, Kole Calhoun singled which led to a mound visit by Melvin and Lou Trivino who came in to easily closed out the 8th.

In the bottom of the 8th, the A’s faced a new pitcher, Noe Ramirez, and didn’t let up on the Angels. With one out, Marcus Semien was originally charged with getting on base on an error by third baseman David Fletcher. Later this was changed to a hit and Semien’s second double of the game. Matt Chapman became out number two when he fouled out to first baseman Jared Walsh. The Angels elected to intentionally walk Matt Olson and then followed by hitting Mark Canha to put him on base, the second hit batsman for the A’s today. Jurickson Profar then came through with a short fly ball that caught Trout blinded by the sun. The ball dropped for a 2 RBI single that put the A’s ahead 10-6.

Jake Diekman came in and quickly dispatched the Angels. He began by striking out Luis Rengifo. Kevin Smith then grounded out to Neuse who through to Olson for the out. On a 1-1 count, David Fletcher grounded to Matt Chapman at third who threw him out at first to end the game and pick up the Athletics’ 81st win of the season. A’s 10, Angels 6.