The Oakland A’s didn’t miss this time.
The A’s took an early lead and held it through to the end, earning a 3-1 victory over the Texas Rangers at the Coliseum. Amid a rocky stretch that has seen Oakland let a handful of winnable games slip away, two heroes in particular, The Hound and The Tank, stepped up to nail this one down.
On the pitching side, it was The Hound. Chris Bassitt continued to confirm his status as the staff ace with seven shutout innings, dominating the Rangers three times through the lineup. He scattered three hits and a walk and didn’t let Texas reach third base until the 6th inning, with only four hard-hit balls all night.
- Bassitt: 7 ip, 0 runs, 7 Ks, 1 BB, 3 hits, 102 pitches, 85.0 mph EV
He only got into trouble the one time in the 6th, and even that was just an infield hit and a walk. His final batter in the 7th, former A’s prospect Jonah Heim, gave the ball a ride 397 feet to CF but it faded in front of the wall for a loud out.
Otherwise, Bassitt was unhittable. He had the slider.
Chris Bassitt, 76mph Frisbee Slider. pic.twitter.com/j5L8Ti3VnE— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 1, 2021
He had the curveball, Mr. Bloopy.
Chris Bassitt's breaking stuff is nasty tonight pic.twitter.com/rxBnr4EVR0— The Rickey Henderson of Blogs (@RickeyBlog) July 1, 2021
C-Bass froze Eli White with this one ⛄️ pic.twitter.com/lAP2KWgCBp— The Rickey Henderson of Blogs (@RickeyBlog) July 1, 2021
With a lead in hand in the late innings, Oakland’s closing crew went to work in relief of Bassitt. Yusmeiro Petit breezed through the 8th, and Lou Trivino made the 9th interesting but escaped it — a solo homer by Joey Gallo and then two more singles brought the go-ahead run to the plate before the final out was recorded.
On the other side of the ball, the hero in the green hat was Frank The Tank.
The A’s did all their scoring in One Big Inning, which tonight was the 2nd. A walk, a single, and a productive flyout put runners on the corners, and Sean Murphy delivered a sac fly to knock one home. Oakland had set up a rally and successfully cashed in.
But they weren’t done. Up to the plate stepped new DH Frank Schwindel, making his A’s debut as the 2,000th player in franchise history, one day after being called up on his 29th birthday. The rookie swung at the second pitch he saw and sent it into orbit, over the foul pole in LF for a two-run homer. It was Frank The Tank’s first career dinger in the majors, in his 16th overall plate appearance dating back to 2019.
The call went to a lengthy replay review, as the umps checked to make sure the ball had indeed stayed fair, and they confirmed it.
Nothing much happened after that. The three early runs held up, which is fortunate because Oakland only notched three more hits the rest of the night. There were no late dramatics with the bullpen, and Schwindel was awarded the Team Trident.
Frank Sch indel gets his first homer and first postgame bath pic.twitter.com/r4ark1Un7O— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) July 1, 2021
Obviously it was Tony Kemp coming through with the Gatorade shower. Kemp also made a great catch at second base in the 8th inning.
When it all comes together
Great starting pitching, good enough relief work, a runner knocked in from third base with one out, a dinger, and some defense. We’ve seen all those ingredients staggered throughout the recent slump, and tonight they put all of them together and didn’t drop the pan on the floor at the last minute.
Meanwhile, the Astros just got swept at home by the AL-worst Orioles, and the A’s are back within a half-game of the AL West division lead. It’s a long season. Ride the wave.