The Oakland A’s finally scored some runs!
Mired in a long teamwide slump, the A’s put together five runs on Tuesday, beating the Minnesota Twins by a 5-2 margin at the Coliseum.
Oakland is one of the lowest-scoring teams in the majors this year, and over their past two dozen games they were averaging a mere 2.4 runs per contest, including five shutouts. Each of the last three days they were limited to one run apiece, including last night in the series opener against the Twins.
Tonight was a different story. The A’s hit a homer, with somebody on base, and they later strung together another extended rally. That gave them two crooked numbers for the evening, while their pitching staff turned in another fine performance from both the rotation and the bullpen.
Oakland got the scoring started in the 4th inning. Elvis Andrus doubled, and Kevin Smith launched a towering two-run homer.
That was Smith’s second dinger of the season, and it snapped an 0-for-18 skid for the rookie.
Minnesota tied it up over the next couple innings, but the A’s answered back in the 7th to retake the lead. Jed Lowrie led off with a walk, his fourth time on base tonight, and Ramon Laureano was pegged by a pitch to put two runners on with nobody out. Oakland accepted the gift and took full advantage, as Seth Brown lined a double to the wall to drive home a run.
Seth Brown: Send ball— Oakland A's (@Athletics) May 18, 2022
Me: Send tweet pic.twitter.com/qpCcFK0JY4
With runners now on second and third with nobody out, the Twins drew the infield in, so when Sean Murphy hit a soft blooper into shallow center field nobody could get there in time to catch it. Two more runs crossed the plate thanks to the magic of BABIP, and Murphy cracked his own personal 0-for-21 slide.
That rally put the A’s on top 5-2. They missed a couple other chances to score, including in the 3rd, the 5th, and after Murphy’s hit in the 7th, but they got enough to win the day.
Five runs were plenty because the pitching staff had another strong outing.
It began with starter James Kaprielian, who cruised into the 6th inning with minimal damage. He allowed a pair of solo homers, in the 5th and 6th, but otherwise Minnesota did almost nothing against him.
- Kaprielian: 5⅓ ip, 2 runs, 6 Ks, 1 BB, 2 HR, 4 hits, 89 pitches
The right-hander missed a bunch of bats, and allowed pretty much no hard contact other than the two dingers, plus a sharp double that got stranded.
The bullpen held on the rest of the way. Sam Moll finished out the 6th, Zach Jackson breezed through the 7th but found trouble in the 8th, and Dany Jimenez came in to bail him out and then wrap up a perfect 9th for the save.
Overall, the staff racked up 10 strikeouts and issued only three walks. Jackson was rewarded with his first MLB win, since he was on the mound when Oakland got the lead back.
Perhaps a walk, HBP, and lucky bloop single all in the same inning aren’t exactly a sustainable offensive strategy moving forward, but they sure got the job done tonight. If the pitching is gonna keep shutting down opponents like this, then it’ll only take a few runs to win on any given day, whatever weird way they can get them.