So Leonys Martin is definitely the new Johnny Giavotella. He hit that back-breaking walkoff home run against Ryan Madson last year, and he did it again tonight. He of the .171/.209/.465 (that’s OPS, not isolated slugging) in 2017. We are the only team in baseball that cannot shut him down.
It’s a shame, too, because the A’s had every chance to win this game. They accrued an early-ish 6-2 lead and just needed to coast, but a relentless Seattle offense and a hapless Oakland defense combined to send the game into extra innings where Leonys could work his magic. The A’s made 3 errors, and all of them hurt.
A’s lose 7-6. If you want to reread the game thread, here it is.
A’s Pummel Ariel Miranda
Oakland established an early lead against durable lefty Ariel Miranda, putting runs on the board in the 1st inning. Rajai Davis put a solid bat on the first pitch he saw, lining an easy double to left field. Marcus Semien took a walk on a very close pitch, but Ryon Healy followed by chasing a ball in the dirt on an 0-2 count. Then Khris Davis hit a home run that actually made me exclaim, “What?!” It was a complete garbage-time home run, the kind that would make me want to change the channel if it happened against the A’s in the 1st inning. A high fly ball just kept carrying and carrying and carrying far beyond where it should have died, until it bounced off the top of the wall in the right field corner. Classic Khrush, though I suspect this home run would not have happened prior to the 2016 All Star Break, when the juiced ball
conspiracy reality began.
The A’s scored more in the 3rd. Healy led off with a single, then Khris Davis worked his magic again - he boomed another fly ball to left field, and while this one truly looked like it would be a home run, it actually fell just short, bouncing off the wall (past a confused Dyson) and back into center field for an RBI triple. Chapman was eventually able to hit a ball far enough for a sac fly, and it was 5-1 Oakland.
The sixth and final run for Oakland came in the 5th - a Healy home run, #21 for #25. 6-2 A’s. It was the 29th home run allowed by Miranda, the most in the majors. The A’s played their part in his off the charts OPS: their 5 hits off Miranda consisted of 2 homers, a double, a triple, and a single.
Unfortunately, the Oakland offense got nothing done for the rest of the game. Seattle admittedly has one of the best bullpens in the majors, but the A’s offense cranked up the strikeouts significantly later in the game and went something like 4 innings without a hit after Miranda left. In most games, the 6 runs would probably be enough, but not with this defense.
Graveman Spotty, But Improved
Granted, it’s not difficult to improve upon his last performance, but it was good to see Graveman looking much more like his old self. He started out the game especially well - he retired the first seven batters he faced with six groundouts and a strikeout. Then in the 3rd inning we get to the ugly defense. The ice-cold Mike Zunino hit a ball up the middle which ricocheted off Graveman’s glove. Semien charged the ball and made a throw to first, despite the fact that he had no chance of getting the runner out. His throw went wide and Zunino was able to trundle to second base on the error. It would not be the first error of this nature tonight.
Leonys Martin promptly singled, as he is wont to do against the A’s, and the Mariners had runners on the corners - both of those things are going to become a theme in this game. Jean Segura was able to make a productive out and drive Zunino home. 3-1 Oakland.
Graveman gave up a walk and a couple singles in the 4th to make it 5-2. Just some bad location - a couple hittable fastballs up. Graveman showed some location inconsistencies tonight, despite overall looking much better than his start last week. Additionally, his fastball velocity hasn’t returned to full form. He was sitting around 90 tonight whereas we’ve seen him hit 93-94 pretty consistently this season.
Things went downhill quickly for Graveman in the 6th. Cruz doubled - he always mashes Graveman. Seager followed up with a base hit to put runners on the corners again, then Ben Gamel got every bit of the ball for a 2-run double. The Mariners were making things interesting. 6-4. Dull came in and cleaned up the inning successfully with 2 big outs.
Parade of Relievers, Errors
Hendriks took the 7th. Segura hit what should have been a single down the right field line, but Matt Joyce fumbled the ball and then lackadaisically went to pick it up, giving Segura ample time to reach second. It was the second A’s error of the night, and not the last. Yonder Alonso followed up with an infield hit, and yet again the Mariners had runners on the corners.
Coulombe came in to face Cano (for some reason not seeing the lefty Alonso before him…) and induced a timely pop-up. After facing just one better, Coulombe was yanked for Casilla.
Casilla in the 7th! Is Melvin evolving? Maybe, but Casilla is not. He threw a very hittable fastball to Nelson Cruz, who deposited it in center field to make it 6-5. Casilla overcame Kyle Seager in a good at-bat, but the Mariners creeped ever closer.
In the 8th, yet another error. This one was surprising because it was by the apparently-fallible Matt Chapman. He hesitated for a moment against the speedy Ben Gamel and then overcompensated with his throw, airmailing it and allowing Gamel to reach second. It should have been an easy out, especially for Chapman. A groundout advanced Gamel to third, then we got a pinch hitter for Mike Zunino - you guessed it, old frenemy Danny Valencia. He didn’t do what I expected (hitting 11 home runs simultaneously), but he hit a ball *just* deep enough for the legitimately really fast Gamel to tag up and score. What doesn’t this kid do? Tie game, 6-6.
Treinen was tasked with facing the top of the Mariners order in the 9th. It was an exciting inning featuring an intentional walk (hand signals!) and a warning track flyball and the bases loaded and a great Kyle Seager at-bat. But ultimately Treinen kept the tie going into the bottom of the 9th, where the A’s utterly failed to accomplish anything against yet another ex-A: Marc Rzepczynski. Extra innings time.
Why, Leonis? AKA Why Leonis?
Josh Smith came in for the 10th inning representing the last man in Oakland’s bullpen. Come hell or high water, he would see us through to the end of the game. And he obliged by offering up a ball that even Leonys Martin could crush. It went to right field. 7-6 Mariners.
The A’s showed fight in the bottom of the 10th. Matt Olson singled and Khris Davis walked. Pinder put together a great 9-pitch at-bat but ultimately finished the night 0-5. Matt Chapman batted with the game on the line. And wouldn’t you know it, Leonys Martin caught the ball for the final out.