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Game #32: Offense erupts in A’s win over Tigers

Now that’s what we’ve been hoping for

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Detroit Tigers Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The A’s have a win streak again!

And they did it in impressive fashion. Oakland walloped the Detroit Tigers 9-0 on Wednesday evening for their second straight victory, winning on the strength of an offense that struck early and often and yet another strong performance by an A’s rookie starting pitcher.

That’s the series win, and the A’s have a chance to win 4 of 5 heading into the finale tomorrow before heading home for the weekend.

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

Offense strikes first, keeps going

Oakland jumped right on Tigers starter Joey Wentz, scoring in each of the first three innings against the lefty making his MLB debut. The first was sparked by a 12-pitch Tony Kemp walk to start the game. A wild pitch and groundout moved him to third, bringing up Chad Pinder. With the infield in, a hard-hit ball went right to the shortstop with Kemp too far off third base. A run down ensued and, showing off some baseball knowledge, Kemp went into a rundown long enough for Pinder to make it to second, even waving at him to keep going. Pinder took it a step further, trying for third and just making it. Those two heads up plays paid off immediately, as Sean Murphy flared a ball into no man’s land in center field to give the A’s the quick lead.

Oakland’s offense kept up the pressure in the second, collecting singles by Christian Bethancourt and Elvis Andrus to put runners at the corners with one out. That brought up Cristian Pache, who’s been slumping but put a good swing on the ball in the middle of the plate and came through here:

The stats back up the perception that he’s at least putting solid contact on the ball. Per Matt Kawahara:

The Pache sequence in the second had a lot. He’s been chasing out of the zone often, entered today hitting .167, but 80th percentile in hard-hit rate (Statcast) and a .206 BABIP suggests some tough luck. Also he’s been picked off first base by a lefty in consecutive games.

He was picked off to end the inning, getting into a run down and awkwardly sliding into first. Hearts were racing for a minute as he stayed down for a bit before getting up and going back out to center field and finishing the game. Exhale.

After Sheldon Neuse lead off the third with a triple, Murphy came through again in the third, hitting a deep flyball that was deep enough for the sac fly to bring Neuse in. A Ramon Laureano walk and Bethancourt single started another rally and got the Detroit bullpen going, but they probably should have turned to it earlier, as the next batter, Kevin Smith, smacked a double that brought in both runners and ended Wentz’ day having allowed six runs:

The lineup threatened again in the fourth, getting runners to second and third thanks to some good baserunning, but were finally shutout of an inning thanks to Tigers reliever Wily Peralta.

Oakland added on in their seventh run in the fifth inning thanks to a Laureano walk, steal and an RBI single by Bethancourt (who had himself a day with three singles), and brought home two more in the ninth thanks to a pair of walks, a Laureano double, and a Bethancourt RBI groundout.

Stellar starting pitching

Making only his second career start and third career appearance in The Show, Zach Logue breezed through the Detroit lineup, allowing only three singles in his first four innings while striking out six, all swinging.

The first and only threat against the left-hander came all the way in the fifth, a 2-out double that turned over the lineup. Mark Kotsay hasn’t been shy about pulling his starters before they face an opponent’s lineup a third time through, but with a seven-run lead, another doubleheader on Saturday, and a lefty in the box, Kotsay rolled the dice and Logue rewarded him, getting Austin Meadows to flyout to Laureano in right and finish the inning. Logue went two more innings and allowed just one more hit the rest of his night.

  • Zach Logue: 7 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K, 97 pitches

The rookie was solid in his first start, but this one was a notch above. Logue dominated the Tigers all night, attacking the zone and challenging Tigers hitters to actually hit him. He only allowed a single runner to reach scoring position and limited hard contact all night. He wasn’t the headliner of the Matt Chapman trade, but we’re seeing why the A’s front office targeted him. Oakland couldn’t have asked for a better time for this kind of outing from a starting pitcher, with the double header yesterday combined with another on Saturday and no days off this week.

Sam Moll replaced Logue and started the eighth, pitching a clean inning with a strikeout, while Justin Grimm handled the ninth, allowing two singles before a double play and a sick Kemp play at second ended this one:

Everything went right for the A’s today, not something the club could say a lot recently. Everyone on offense contributed, either scoring a run or driving in a run, and everyone had a hit outside of Kemp (who had a walk and RBI sac fly, so he got in on the action, too). Zach Logue dominated the Tigers for seven shutout innings and looks like he’s guaranteed himself another start with the big league club, while the bullpen and defense had some solid moments as well.

Oakland has won three of the first four against these Tigers, with the fifth and final game of this weirdly long series scheduled for bright and early tomorrow morning. James Kaprielian is set for his third start of the season in the last game of this two-city road trip. See you all then!