Esteury Ruiz came up big in the ninth inning to help the Oakland Athletics to a 5-4 win over the Cincinnati Reds.
The A’s didn't waste any time getting on the board against Nick Lodolo. Brent Rooker reached on a check swing single through the right side with two outs and then came around to score on a two-run home run by Jesus Aguilar.
First inning fireworks pic.twitter.com/KlamX0zfee— Oakland A's (@Athletics) April 30, 2023
Ken Waldichuk worked a perfect first and then struck out the first two hitters he faced in the second before Nick Senzel took him deep to left for a solo home run to cut the lead in half. Waldichuk then struck out Matt Reynolds on a pitch clock violation to end the inning.
Esteury Ruiz was hit by another pitch with one out in the third inning. It was the ninth time Ruiz has been hit which leads the majors. He was then picked off first by Lodolo for his first caught stealing of the season.
Waldichuk allowed a leadoff double to Stuart Fairchild to start the fourth, but then retired the next three hitters in order to leave him stranded. Oakland extended the lead in the home half of the inning as Rooker took Lodolo deep into the second deck at the Coliseum.
Rooker rakes pic.twitter.com/5JViQqBBOh— Oakland A's (@Athletics) April 30, 2023
Waldichuk pitched out of a big spot in the fifth. Matt Reynolds and Jose Barrero led off the inning with a pair of soft singles to put runners at first and third with no one out. Waldichuk then came back and struck out Curt Casali and Kevin Newman. He then hit Spencer Steer with a two-strike pitch to load the bases, but got Fairchild to fly out to center to leave the runners stranded.
Waldichuk came back out for the sixth and got Tyler Stephenson to fly out for the first out before Henry Ramos and Senzel reached on two more soft singles. Waldichuk then got Reynolds to fly to center for the second out before giving way to Domingo Acevedo.
Things unraveled from there as Reds manager David Bell sent up pinch-hitter TJ Friedl who grounded back off of Acevedo’s glove, he recovered, but threw wide of first for an error allowing Ramos to score to make it 3-2. Oakland then walked pinch-hitter Jake Fraley to load the bases and set up a force play, but Newman served a singled to right that scored two more to put Cincinnati in front 4-3. Steer lined out to Jace Peterson at third to finally bring the inning to an end.
Waldichuk deserved a better fate as he really didn’t give up any hard contact other than Senzel’s homer. He allowed six hits, three runs and struck out seven over 5 2/3 innings.
Oakland threatened again in the sixth as Ramon Laureano led off the home half of the sixth with a single to right. That would end Lodolo’s afternoon as Lucas Sims entered and then hit Rooker with the first pitch he threw. Sims then struck out Aguilar for the first out, but then walked pinch-hitter Ryan Noda to load the bases. Sims fell behind in the count to Shea Langeliers, but came back and struck him out for the second out. Tony Kemp then pinch-hit for Jordan Diaz and worked the count full, but grounded out sharply to first to strand the runners.
Adam Oller allowed a pair of singles, but nothing else in a scoreless seventh and the A’s offense got back to work in the bottom half of the inning. Jace Peterson got things started with a single to center. Mark Kotsay then elected to give away an out with a sacrifice bunt by Kevin Smith to move Peterson into scoring position. Ruiz walked and then Laureano reached on an infield single to load the bases. Rooker followed with a sacrifice fly to right to score Peterson to tie the game.
Oller stayed in and struck our Reynolds to start the eighth. He was then replaced by Sam Moll who struck out Friedl and Fraley to end the inning. Zach Jackson entered in the ninth and immediately found himself in a tight spot. Newman led off the inning with a single and then advanced all the way to third on a double by Steer. With his back against the wall, Jackson battled back and retired the next three hitters to leave the runners stranded.
Peterson got things started with a soft single to left to lead off the ninth. Kotsay again tried to give away an out as Smith dropped down a bunt, but Reynolds fumbled it for an error to put runners at first and second. Alexis Diaz then came in for the Reds to face Ruiz who fouled off a bunt attempt for strike one. He squared again, but Diaz’s next pitch sailed behind him for a wild pitch allowing both runners to move up. Diaz’s next offering appeared to hit Ruiz, but replay showed that it hit the knob of his bat. He returned to the box and worked the count full before dropping a single to left to score the winning run.
Ruiz wins it for the A's pic.twitter.com/A5OSSULnXS— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) April 30, 2023
Oakland wins for just the sixth time and snaps a five-game losing streak. They will enjoy an off day Monday before continuing their homestand Tuesday against the Seattle Mariners.