The Oakland Athletics dropped their second straight games against the Orioles, falling in game two by a final of 7-2 in extra innings.
We started tonight’s game on the right foot as lefty rookie (is he still a rookie at this point?) Ken Waldichuk got the ball and started strong, striking out two of his first three batters. In the bottom half we saw a rare caught stealing from Esteury Ruiz (!) that ultimately helped end an early Oakland rally off Baltimore starter Cole Irvin.
Oakland struck first tonight thanks to the bay of Aledmys Diaz, who led off the bottom of the second with a solo shot to give Oakland the quick 1-0 lead:
Aledmys gets the A's on the board with a BOOM pic.twitter.com/nh2rKkUbLR— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) August 20, 2023
That was home run #3 on the year for Diaz and he wasn’t done there tonight.
It would take a couple innings but Baltimore finally struck back in the fourth. O’s outfielder Austin Hayes smacked a game-tying home run to left field. Now, here at Athletics Nation we try not to show the opponent’s successes against our A’s, but this was unique:
A home run stuck in the foul pole?? pic.twitter.com/P6okscKJKo— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) August 20, 2023
I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before! Anyway, two batters later Baltimore took the lead with their second solo home run of the inning as James McCann took Waldichuk deep. Not good but hey, it was only a one-run deficit.
Old friend Cole Irvin ended up lasting through five full innings against his former team, holding down the Oakland offense to just five total base runners (4 hits and 1 walk). Pretty sure Irvin prefers the spacious Coliseum compared to the bandbox that is Camden Yards.
And guess who replaced Irvin to start the sixth? None other the Shintaro Fujinami, another former Athletic who the team traded just over a month ago. And Fuji looked oddly similar to his time in Oakland as he served up another solo home run, to none other than Aledmys Diaz:
For those counting at home, that was his second on the day (4th on the season). This is the guy the A’s wanted when they gave him a 2-year contract this off-season.
With this game all tied up, it would be up to each team’s bullpens to earn the W for their club. The Baltimore bullpen kept Oakland off the board the rest of the way as the bats only managed one more walk and one more hit the rest of the game.
The Athletics’ bullpen was keeping up for most of the game. Lucas Erceg, Kirby Snead, and Trevor May each pitched an inning apiece, allowing a hit each frame but nothing else. After both bullpens kept the other off the board in the later frames, this game would need to be decided in extras.
And after holding them down for most of the game, Baltimore jumped all over reliever Adrian Martinez in the top of the 10th, scoring five runs off the starter-turned-reliever. Even with a runner starting on second to start the bottom of the frame, this game seemed over. Oakland managed to load the bases, but Tony Kemp, Lawrence Butler, and Aledmys Diaz struck out in order to finish the game off. At least the fans had the Star Wars drone show to look forward to.
So the series is lost and the club is at risk of getting swept in tomorrow’s series finale. We’re seeing first-hand why these O’s have the best record in the AL in a tough East division, but that doesn’t mean the club can eek out a win tomorrow. Oakland will be throwing their best starter against them as JP Sears takes the ball tomorrow afternoon against Kyle Bradish. Let’s avoid the dreaded sweep!