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Game #3: A’s earn first win of 2022 season!

4-1 over the Phillies, avoiding a sweep

Oakland Athletics v Philadelphia Phillies
Billy McKinney goes yard
Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

The 2022 Oakland A’s won a game!

The A’s beat the Phillies 4-1 on Sunday at Citizens Bank Park, earning their first victory of the season and avoiding a sweep to start the year.

*** Click here to revisit today’s Game Thread! ***

Oakland earned this game on both sides of the ball. They pitched well and posted a string of highlights on defense, keeping Philadelphia off the board until the 9th inning. At the plate they flexed some power, had a few hits with runners in scoring position, and hustled on the bases, offering enough run support for a comfortable margin.

Rookie starter Daulton Jefferies led the way with five scoreless frames, but the A’s lineup was quiet themselves during that time and the scoreboard remained empty. Oakland’s bats finally woke up in the 6th and continued applying pressure the rest of the day, while four different relievers came out of their bullpen to hold the lead.

Pitching and defense

It only took Jefferies 48 pitches to breeze through five innings. He filled up the strike zone and the Phillies accepted the challenge, with seven of his 18 batters putting the first pitch into play. They connected for several pieces of hard contact, but the sharpest hits all found gloves for loud outs.

  • Jefferies: 5 ip, 0 runs, 2 Ks, 2 BB, 2 hits, 48 pitches

Catcher Austin Allen got the defensive parade going on Jefferies’ very first pitch. The batter popped it up into foul territory, and Allen sprinted all the way to the dugout, slamming into the barrier while squeezing the out. Two pitches later, second baseman Tony Kemp ranged into no-man’s land in shallow right-center to snare another popup.

Jefferies then struck out reigning MVP Bryce Harper on three pitches to end the inning. That’s a good way to set the tone for the day!

Philadelphia got a couple runners on base in the 3rd, but a double play ended that threat. In the 4th, Harper crushed the highest exit velocity of the game for either team (112.7 mph) but watched Stephen Piscotty react in time for an impressive tumbling catch.

And in the 5th, Kemp struck again, this time shifted over to effectively a shortstop position.

That was plenty of fielding help for Jefferies, who only saw one runner get as far as third base.

However, he would need some run support to go with all those zeroes he was posting.

A’s score!

It took a while for that offensive spark to arrive. Oakland loaded the bases in the 3rd inning but hit into some bad luck, with a liner straight into the pitcher’s glove for a deflating double play that felt very 2021.

They got another chance in the 6th and this time they cashed in. Elvis Andrus doubled into the gap, and Seth Brown flared a single to drive him home. A’s lead 1-0!

Leading off the 7th, outfielder Billy McKinney went deep for a solo homer. That was his first dinger in an Oakland uniform since being drafted by the team out of high school in 2013, then being traded away in 2014, and then returning this offseason as a free agent.

The long ball earned a distance of 391 feet at 101.2 mph off the bat.

The A’s continued adding on in the 9th. Allen reached base and then rookie outfielder Cristian Pache yanked a double down the LF line, putting both runners in scoring position. Kemp followed through with a single that easily sent Allen home, and Pache dashed around third to score too. The throw beat him but he snuck his hand onto the plate before the catcher could apply the tag. Replay review confirmed the safe call.

Four runs on nine hits, three walks, and a HBP, including 3-for-8 with RISP. We’ll take it!

Bullpen holds

Something magical happened after Oakland took the lead: Nothing at all. Nothing else happened. Four relievers entered the game, and each one worked a solid inning, with just one stray run in the final frame.

  • 6th, Sam Moll: Leadoff walk, but struck out Schwarber and Harper
  • 7th, Domingo Acevedo: Walked a batter, but struck out Castellanos and Camargo
  • 8th, Kirby Snead: Perfect inning on seven pitches, three flyouts, all easy auto-outs
  • 9th, Lou Trivino: Leadoff solo homer for old time’s sake, but then retired 3-4-5 batters in order (Harper, Castellanos, Hopkins)

The A’s rebuilt their entire bullpen this year except for Trivino, and today they got their first call to hold a lead and answered it beautifully.

First win in the books!

After two straight days of watching a clearly rebuilding team get outplayed by a contender, this afternoon was a welcome and encouraging sight. Oakland looked good in every department, between the rotation and bullpen, defense and offense, hitting and running, all of it. It won’t be like this every day, but it’s a glimpse of some of the hope that lies ahead long-term.

Jefferies was sharp, as he looks to deliver on his long-awaited potential. Brown and Pache both contributed on offense and made nice plays on defense. Allen had a productive day at the plate and behind it. McKinney took a step toward being the next hidden gem off the scrap heap. Kemp kept kemping, and veterans Andrus and Piscotty showed signs of life. And to top if off, the A’s won!