This was a game of extremes. 29 hits. 17 runs. 1 “error” but about 5 important defensive miscues. 13 LOB for the Tigers, 10 for the A’s. 3 hours and 58 minutes. But after it all, Oakland emerged on top. The Matts couldn’t score enough to counter the Daniels, but a Jed came through in the end.
In a sign of things to come, the game started 15 minutes late due to a rain delay. The field was slick, and the slow start would just get slower as the game went on.
Canha made a perfect throw to nab Alex Presley trying to stretch a double into a triple in the 1st. Presley would be a thorn in our sides all night, but Canha won the first round for the A’s.
The 2nd inning led of with YET ANOTHER Matt Olson home run. It was his fifth consecutive game with a home run, an Oakland rookie record. Matt Olson has been probably the best hitter in baseball over the last month, and he just. won’t. stop.
A couple of batters later our other Matt kicked in. Matt Chapman demolished one of his own into the Oakland bullpen to make it 2-0.
Jed Lowrie drove in a run in the 3rd to make it 3-0, but the A’s wasted a big opportunity. They loaded the bases, but neither Matt Olson nor Ryon Healy could drive a run in. The A’s stranded a couple more runners in the 4th.
This would come back to bite them, big time.
While the A’s were struggling to drive in runs on offense, Daniel Gossett was starting to falter. He gave up a home run to Ian Kinsler in the 3rd, and then everything went to heck with two outs in the 4th. Efren Navarro doubled on a ball over the head of Pinder - it was potentially catchable, but Pinder underestimated the size of Detroit’s outfield, hesitating before breaking back and allowing the ball to fall in front of the wall. Then another ball went over another head - James McCann hit a pop-up that fell perfectly behind Lowrie in the shallow outfield, driving Navarro in and making the score 3-2. Back-to-back walks loaded the bases and it looked like Daniel Gossett was imploding (the full implosion was yet to come), but he eventually got that last out and escaped the inning with the lead intact.
Not for long, though. In the 5th, Gossett gave up a home run to Alex Presley and it was tied, 3-3. Then the 2-out shenanigans returned with a vengeance. Matt Chapman made a mistake we’ve seen him make a couple of times, clanking a ball that took a high hop and sending it into the outfield. It wasn’t an “easy” play and was ruled a single rather than an error, but it’s a play that Matt Chapman can and hopefully will start making consistently. Unfortunately, the bottom really fell out as a result of the missed out - Gossett issued yet another walk (on a veeeeery close pitch), then McCann hit one of the most devastating groundballs that I can recall. The ball went up the third base line, bouncing over the corner of the bag *microns* from foul territory, and hopping off the wall and into the left field corner. Khris Davis seemed as shocked as anyone that the ball was fair, tripping on the wet grass and stumbling before getting his footing, then fumbling for the ball in the corner. By the time Davis finally got control and shotputted the ball to the infielder positioned 50 feet from him, McCann stood at third base and the Tigers were up 5-3.
Daniel Gossett went out and Daniel Coulombe came in. He garbaged it up, walking the first batter he saw and then giving up a blistering double to Jose Iglesias, the Tigers’s 9th place hitter. 6-3 Tigers. The A’s walked Ian Kinsler to load the bases so Coulombe could face the slightly-less-threatening (and left-handed) Presley, and it blessedly paid off. After getting ahead of Coulombe (who looked sooooo bad) in the count 3-1, Presley struck out swinging - he started the inning and ended it - and the bleeding stopped at 4 runs for the inning. The Daniels had undone all the hard work of the Matts.
The seesaw of runs continues
The 6th opened with a Healy leadoff double which ultimately resulted in a run after Canha dribbled a ball into the outfield. 6-4. But then in the bottom of the inning, the woeful Michael Brady gave up a double and a homer to make it 8-4 Tigers.
The A’s caught a defensive break of their own in the 7th. With one out, Lowrie singled and then Khrush walked. Lefty Daniel Stumpf came in to face Olson, who worked a walk to load the bases. Immediately, Stumpf was out and Alex Wilson came in for the Tigers. The big moment came when shortstop Jose Iglesias fumbled a surefire double-play ball off the bat of Ryon Healy, taking just enough time that even the lumbering Healy made it to base safely, turning 2 outs into 1 run and 0 outs. But yet again, the A’s denied themselves a big inning with a couple of unproductive outs (unfortunately from a couple of prime Matts).
And of course baseball makes my head implode and Santiago Casilla is somehow the one pitcher who has an easy 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the 7th.
A Jed Appears
Still Alex Wilson in the top of the 8th. Wendle pinch hit for Garneau and managed a single past the shortstop. Barreto immediately followed up with a base hit of his own, then Pinder put together a great at-bat resulting in yet another single, loading the bases with 0 outs. Time for yet another teAse? Jed Lowrie opted to show the youngsters how it is done, coming to bat and coming through again, like he always seems to. 9-8 A’s with Lowrie’s third career grand slam. Korach said it and I couldn’t agree more: late in a tight game, there’s nobody I’d rather have at the plate than Jed Lowrie. Apparently no other team could appreciate that at the trade deadline this year. The next three A’s went down quietly, but it ultimately didn’t matter.
Not that it was easy, mind you. Chris Hatcher pitched the 8th and it was almost as nerve-wracking as it was long. Miguel Cabrera led off with a single. Nicholas Castellanos hit a fly ball to deep left field - initially it seemed like it might be enough to get out, and Khris Davis appeared to have been fooled as well. Davis leapt into the air as the ball landed near the base of the wall, botching what was probably a catchable flyball. The runners ended up at second and third with no outs. But Hatcher dug in. With his back against the wall, he got a groundout to first base that held the runners, then a couple of strikeouts to somehow manage to stop them from scoring. It was an arduous inning, but Hatcher did what he needed to do.
Finally, the 9th. Treinen seems to be our acting closer, and he got the first two outs quite easily. Then with two outs, he had quite possibly the longest at-bat in the history of baseball with, you guessed it, Alex Presley. Treinen lost. Presley singled and Andrew Romine came to bat after pinch running for Miguel Cabrera in the previous inning. Romine couldn’t get it done, and the A’s win 9-8.
More Matts, fewer Daniels please.