The Oakland Athletics continued their road trip in St Louis with the second game of this interleague series against the Cardinals tonight. The A’s dropped the first game yesterday but hope to rebound against a Cardinals team that surprised baseball by being sellers at the trade deadline and have underwhelmed their fans this year with a 53-66 record, landing them in last place in the National League Central Division.
Thirty-year-old righty Spenser Watkins made his first start for the A’s after being picked up from Houston on waivers August 8. His career record is 7-13 with a 5.85 ERA in thirty starts over 39 career appearances. He faced righty Dakota Hudson who is 3-0 in 9 appearances this year with a 4.31 ERA.
Lars Nootbaar led off the bottom of the first with a base hit, and Paul Goldschmidt doubled to drive him in. Nolar Arenado hit his 25th homer of the season to deep left field making the score 3-0. With two down in the inning, Jordan Walker homered on a slow curve to deep left field brining the score to 4-0.
Leading off the top of the third, Nick Allen walked and Esteury Ruiz was hit by a pitch. Ruiz stole second, his 47th of the year, tops in the American league but second behind Ronald Acuna Jr. (55) of the Atlanta Braves. But Brent Rooker struck out swinging to end the threat for the A’s.
Watkins tossed a 1-2-3 inning in the third, his first clean inning of the night. But in the bottom of the fourth, Jordan Walker walked and then scored on Andrew Knizner‘s double down the left field line. The A’s flashed some serious “D” to end the inning when Tony Kemp slid into the wall in foul territory to catch a pop up and jumped to his feet to throw Knizner out at third attempting to get back to the base after the out!
Watkins got himself into trouble again in the fifth inning by walking Goldschmidt and giving up a single to Arenado. Austin Pruitt took over with one out and both runners on base and slammed the door on the Cards.
Tayler Scott replaced Pruitt in the sixth. He promptly gave up a single to Kinzer and a ground rule double to Taylor Motter. Nick Allen threw Knizner out at home on a great bang-bang play. Scott loaded the bases with two outs but caught Goldschmidt looking for the third out.
After a Tyler Soderstrom lead off single, Lawrence Butler hit his first major league homer; a no-doubter to right center field to bring the score to 5-2. With two outs Ruiz kept the inning alive with a ground rule double. That marked the end of the night for Hudson, but the A’s could not score more.
Zach Neal took over for Tayler Scott in the bottom of the seventh. Nolan Arenado singled for his third hit of the night. Tyler O’Neill singled to move Arenado to second with one out. Neal induced a Motter ground out to end the inning.
Tommy Edman hit the first pitch of the bottom of the eighth inning off Neal into the right-centerfield stands, bringing the score to 6-2. Goldschmidt followed that with a double into the right field corner. Nolan Arenado singled, driving Goldy to third. But Neal got O’Neill to strike out swinging to end the inning.
JoJo Romero came in and slammed the door on the A’s in the ninth inning. The A’s will hope to salvage the series with a win in tomorrow’s game.