Are you feeling the Brandon Moss comparison yet?
The Oakland A’s entered the 9th inning tied and got a walk-off homer from rookie outfielder Seth Brown, pushing them to a 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday in their series opener at the Coliseum.
The story of the evening was almost quite different, as A’s starter Sean Manaea carried a no-hitter into the 8th inning with a 1-0 lead in hand. He didn’t allow a baserunner at all until the 7th, when he walked the leadoff batter — and Oakland knows a thing or two about throwing perfect games against the Rays on Mother’s Day weekend, as Dallas Braden can attest.
But Tampa Bay broke through for a couple hits in the 8th, with a double followed by an RBI single to tie the score. That ended Manaea’s bid for a second career no-hitter, and also forced him to settle for a no-decision as he was pulled mid-inning. And who broke up the no-no with the double? Mike Brosseau, Manaea’s high school teammate.
- Manaea: 7⅓ ip, 1 run, 10 Ks, 1 BB, 2 hits, 81 pitches, 90.4 mph EV
The southpaw faced 25 batters and retired 22, including the first 18 straight. A full 40% of his plate appearances ended in strikeouts, and none of the outs off batted balls were particularly loud except for one deep skyout. Dominant.
Sean Manaeachondria: Powerhouse of the mound pic.twitter.com/p4GzcJiUOs— Oakland A's (@Athletics) May 8, 2021
The bullpen held serve the rest of the way, with Yusmeiro Petit stranding Manaea’s final runner, and Jake Diekman striking out a pair of batters.
Poundtown Seth Brown
While Manaea was cruising, so was Rich Hill for the Rays. The lefty navigated through some trouble to complete six scoreless frames before giving way to his bullpen.
But Tampa Bay’s relievers didn’t keep the zeroes going, as the A’s put themselves on the board in the 7th inning. Think for a moment about how it might have happened and take a guess by the end of this sentence.
Did you guess something involving a Jed Lowrie double? Of course you did, and you’re right, that’s how it started. Lowrie doubled, and then Brown came in to pinch-hit against a righty reliever and drilled a sharp single to knock him home.
What's the best kind of batter?— Oakland A's (@Athletics) May 8, 2021
Brownie batter. pic.twitter.com/r3xH3bo7s4
That lead only held up for a few minutes before the Rays tied it. With the score knotted late, it was a race to see who would blink first, and it took until the bottom of the 9th with two outs.
Finally, Brown connected for a 392-foot blast, punching a ticket to Poundtown and avoiding the need for extra innings at the last moment. And he did it off a lefty reliever, at the platoon disadvantage.
That’s Brown’s fourth dinger of the year, in just 55 plate appearances, and his first career walk-off.
Seth Brown on his first career walk-off: "It's something that everybody dreams about doing. At that point, I'm just looking to help the team and put the ball in play. To have that happen tonight, it's something I've played out in my mind ever since I was a little kid."— Martín Gallegos (@MartinJGallegos) May 8, 2021
It’s Oakland’s fourth walk-off victory in just 34 games this year, after two singles by Mitch Moreland and an error by the Twins off the bat of Ramon Laureano. And it sure did feel like something Brandon Moss would do.
Want to know if the A’s can win a pitcher’s duel against a fellow contender? Success! And more confirmation that Manaea can still take over a game? Got it!
And want an update on the latest breakout prospect? Brown drove in both of the team’s runs, in two separate at-bats, once against a righty and once against a lefty, including once fresh off the bench. Encouraging!
That’ll get the bounce back in your step after a couple frustrating losses this week.