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Spring Game #20: Murphy Homers, A’s Toss Seven No-Hit Innings in Victory

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MLB: Spring Training-Milwaukee Brewers at Oakland Athletics Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Here is a beautiful swing A’s fans will be able to enjoy for years to come.

***Click Here to Revisit the Game Thread***

Sean Murphy’s home run came in the fourth inning and doubled the A’s lead from 2-0 to 4-0, but as it turns out, the team didn’t need the insurance. The A’s took the lead in the first inning and never looked back. Between pitchers Chris Bassitt, Brian Schlitter, and Lucas Luetge, the Rangers were no-hit for the first seven innings of play.

Chris Bassitt starting things off for Oakland, and looked very strong at the games outset. Bassitt’s slow curveball generated swings early in the count and led to weak contact. Through his first two innings, only one Ranger reached base, Danny Santana on a walk, and Joey Gallo and Rougned Odor each struck out swinging on Bassitt’s curveball.

Starting in the third inning, Bassitt lost the handle, just a bit, on his offerings. He hit the first batter he faced, and completely yanked a pitch later in the inning for a wild pitch. He started to miss his spots by a wider margin, but Murphy mostly did well to receive the ball well despite Bassitt’s loss of control. Bassitt escaped the inning without any damage, and returned to the hill in the fourth. He was removed from the game after walking the first two Rangers he faced, making Bassitt’s final line 3+ innings pitched, with three walks and three strikeouts, no hits, and no runs.

Brian Schlitter replaced Bassitt, and needed only nine pitches to get himself a strikeout and induce a double play, nicely turned by Jorge Mateo and Nick Allen. In Schlitter’s second inning, the fifth, he got a strikeout swinging and a strikeout looking in a 1-2-3 effort.

Lucas Luetge pitched the game’s sixth and seventh innings, retired all six batters he faced and got two strikeouts himself. Both Schlitter and Luetge have been making bids to be part of the committee of relievers destined to go back and forth between Oakland and Las Vegas this season, and their performances today could only work in their favor.

Jordan Weems ruined the no hit fun in the eighth inning after he gave up a dying quail of a single with one out in the frame. Jaime Schultz closed things out, striking out the side to put a nice bow on everything.

As for the A’s offense, once again Mateo and his speed resulted in the team scoring. Mateo battled in his first plate appearance, surviving a missed catch error in foul territory that would have resulted in the game’s first out, and walking instead. Mateo stole second base and took third on a throwing error from the Rangers’ catcher a few pitches later, and then scored on an extremely shallow line drive to center field to score the game’s first run. The throw did beat Mateo to the plate, but the catcher bobbled the throw. Generously, one could say that Mateo’s speed pressured the Rangers into making several poor plays in the first inning. One could also say that the Rangers booted and threw the ball all over the place all game.

In the third inning, the A’s got themselves in business after Nate Orf led off with a walk and Mateo reached first on an error on a ground ball hit to third base (did Mateo’s speed cause this error as well? Why not?). The runners advanced to second and third on a wild pitch, and Tony Kemp knocked in Orf with a sacrifice fly of his own.

As for the daily second base competition update. In addition to his sacrifice fly, Kemp hit an infield single and was thrown out after he tried to stretch it into a double after the Rangers booted that ball as well. Vimael Machin had a broken bat RBI single in the ninth inning of play, and also walked on the day.

In addition to his home run, Sean Murphy also doubled on the day, regardless of what the second base umpire thinks.

Tonight was another great night of A’s baseball, with a 5-0 victory. The action continues tomorrow at 1:00 at home against the Royals.