Let the good times roll.
The Oakland A’s won their ninth straight game on Tuesday, in the first half of a doubleheader against the Minnesota Twins at the Coliseum. Sean Manaea led the way by pitching a technical shutout in the abbreviated seven-inning affair, and the lineup tacked on three homers in a decisive performance.
When we last saw the A’s lineup, Mitch Moreland was driving in the walk-off run on Sunday, for the second time already this season. The DH continues to own the Coliseum to an uncanny extent, and today he wasted no time picking up where he left off. In the 2nd inning, he went deep to give Oakland an early 2-0 lead.
Picking up right where we left off pic.twitter.com/ollqx3wcrU— Oakland A's (@Athletics) April 20, 2021
Despite the walk-off heroics we’ve already seen from him, this homer was Moreland’s first extra-base hit of the season.
His next time up, leading off the 4th inning, he did it again, an extra 22 feet farther this time.
Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised, given who he was facing. Twins starter Matt Shoemaker had previously allowed three dingers to Moreland in his career, tied for the most by any batter against him, and now Moreland leads that list with five. It goes the other way, too, as Shoemaker now leads Sonny Gray (4 homers allowed) on Moreland’s own head-to-head list.
Just call him Mitchy Four Bags, apparently. He now has two walk-offs and two homers this year, but not yet any doubles.
Since pitch count data was tracked beginning in 1988, Mitch Moreland is the first Athletic with two homers on an 0-2 pitch in the same game.— Mike Selleck (@MikeSelleck) April 20, 2021
After Moreland’s second long ball, the A’s proceeded to blow the game open. Elvis Andrus singled and stole second. Mark Canha walked, then Andrus stole third, then a few pitches later on a separate play Canha stole second. Jed Lowrie walked to load the bases, and that brought up Matt Olson. You know what’s coming next.
That’s a grand slam, 110.3 mph off the bat. Through four innings, the A’s had three homers, four steals, and a 7-0 lead.
That was plenty of support for Manaea. The Twins got rallies going against him in the 1st, 3rd, and 7th, but couldn’t push anything across. The lefty didn’t need to go the full nine innings since doubleheader games are shortened this year, but the record books will show that he tossed a shutout today.
- Manaea: 7 ip, 0 runs, 7 Ks, 1 BB, 6 hits, 95 pitches, 90.5 mph EV
That’s three quality starts in a row for the Manaealator, and this might not even have been his best one. But it’s a season-high in innings, and a season-low in runs, and another encouraging sign that the southpaw is taking a step forward now that he’s got his velocity back in the 92-94 mph range.
A week ago, I picked Manaea to be the first A’s starter to get his ugly early ERA down below the 4.00 mark. Success! He’s now at 3.04 for the season.
Sean Shutout: Complete— Oakland A's (@Athletics) April 21, 2021
7IP, 6H, 0R, 1BB, 7K pic.twitter.com/x92e8tNmeh
In one final note, this was an especially significant game for skipper Bob Melvin. He has now managed the most games in the Oakland history of the A’s franchise, with 1,472 to pass Hall of Famer Tony La Russa. Melvin’s 777 wins are 21 behind La Russa for the Oakland lead.
But wait, we’re not done! This is a doubleheader, so there’s still another game to play.
"Mary Jane" by Rick James blasting over the Coliseum during Twins pitching change. I'm sure that's just a coincidence.— Martín Gallegos (@MartinJGallegos) April 20, 2021