The Oakland A’s won a game!
The A’s lineup scored in four different innings, their starting pitcher provided seven strong frames, and their bullpen held on for a 5-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday at the Coliseum. Oakland snapped a four-game losing streak, and won for the seventh time in their last 22 contests.
Leading the way was Frankie Montas, who kept a powerful Chicago offense in check for seven innings. The White Sox put some runners on base in the early going but Montas induced three double plays in the first four frames, before a run finally squirted through during a short rally in the 5th. The right-hander retired his final six batters.
- Montas: 7 ip, 1 run, 7 Ks, 2 BB, 6 hits, 105 pitches, 88.2 mph EV
The weary rotation needs somebody to step up, and Montas has been answering the call lately. This was his 10th quality start in his last 11 tries, and during that span he’s got a 2.18 ERA while eating six or seven innings apiece. What’s more, this is the second time in the last two weeks that he’s played Stopper for a team losing streak, as he beat the Yankees to snap a six-game skid in late-August and now broke a four-gamer tonight against the White Sox.
Montas’ gem set the tone, but one of the themes of the A’s 2021 season is that it takes more than a great start from your pitcher to win a game. This evening they got the other ingredients they needed.
First up was the offense, which used a bit of power and a few successful rallies to score early and often. In the 2nd they took the lead on a solo homer by Matt Chapman.
All aboard the Chappy express pic.twitter.com/fZHb16lTq2— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) September 9, 2021
That’s Chapman’s 11th dinger in his last 21 games.
Oakland struck again in the 4th. Mark Canha ripped a double, and Yan Gomes registered the hit with a runner in scoring position with a sharp single.
Canha has reached base in 16 straight games, and he’s been particularly hot over the past eight games, going 10-for-29 with four homers, tonight’s double, and a 1.250 OPS.
After Chicago scored off Montas in the top of the 5th, the A’s answered right back. Elvis Andrus led off with a walk, Josh Harrison singled him over to third, and Matt Olson flared a single to score Andrus.
Matt Olson ties his career high with his 91st RBI of the season pic.twitter.com/lxlSr1HETd— The Rickey Henderson of Blogs (@RickeyBlog) September 9, 2021
For Olson it was a bit of redemption, as his misplay on a grounder on defense in the top of the inning had helped contribute to the run for the opponent. Here he got that run back in the form of an RBI, though he was thrown out on the bases during the play.
They kept pushing in the 6th and tacked on some insurance. Gomes singled, his third time reaching base tonight, and with two outs Chad Pinder lined a triple into the right field corner to bring Gomes all the way around from first.
Andrus followed with a single to knock home Pinder.
Elvis Andrus makes it 5-1 A's pic.twitter.com/GAMYvikt8L— The Rickey Henderson of Blogs (@RickeyBlog) September 9, 2021
Oakland finished the evening with 10 hits, with eight different players chipping in at least one. Four of the hits were for extra bases, and they went 3-for-7 with runners in scoring position.
With a 5-1 lead in hand, and Montas carrying them through the 7th, all the A’s needed was two innings from their bullpen. Even that has been a tall order lately, as over the past 15 games the relievers had a 7.11 ERA and seven blown saves, but this time they got the job done.
Or rather, Andrew Chafin got the job done, as the lefty took care of both innings. He needed only six pitches to breeze through the 8th, then worked around a couple singles to finish off the 9th. Chafin has pitched 20 innings since being acquired by Oakland and allowed just two runs, making him by far the hottest arm in a slumping pen.
Build on it
A quality start from the rotation, steady scoring from a balanced offensive attack, and a couple zeroes from the bullpen. Can the A’s build on this victory, while there’s still time left in the season?
Yan Gomes on Frankie Montas: “We’re starting to see that ace role from Frankie. We needed him today. He took the mound like the horse that he is and gave us seven strong. Even when we had to navigate through trouble, you could tell he still wanted to battle for us out there.”— Martín Gallegos (@MartinJGallegos) September 9, 2021