OAKLAND — Oakland Athletics catcher Jonathan Lucroy’s 32nd birthday was less than memorable. The A’s fell weakly in the series opener to the Los Angeles Angels, 8-4, after two early errors allowed four unearned runs to score.
Lucroy — who has been the godfather to a young pitching staff with his ability to steal strikes at the bottom of the zone — had been more of a defensive force for Oakland in his first season with the A’s, but with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the 11th, his bat came through.
Facing an 0-1 count from Angels reliever Eduardo Paredes, and a five-man infield, Lucroy pounded a ball off the right center field wall for his first game-winning RBI since Sept. 16, 2016, sending the A’s on the road to San Diego with a 6-5 win.
Center fielder Mark Canha got the A’s on the board in the second, slugging a 390-footer to left to bring home Khris Davis, who worked a leadoff walk after falling behind 0-2.
Chris Young hit his second homer in as many days — a 406-foot blast to left center on an 0-1 Mengden slider — with one out in the third. It was the seventh homer Mengden had allowed in 12 innings, after giving up just six total in his first 12 starts.
After a pair of two-out walks, Mengden got ahead of Pujols 1-2, as the Angels DH waved at a fastball down. On the next pitch, Pujols sent a sinking liner to center. Canha dove forward and appeared to snag it, but as he rolled through the landing, the ball was left behind. The single brought home the game-tying run in Mike Trout.
Los Angeles added a Pujols solo homer in the sixth — he took Mengden out to left on a 92-mph fastball at the knees — and then cashed in another. Andrelton Simmons walked with one out, took second on a Luis Valbuena single and came around to score on a Mengden wild pitch to Martin Maldonado.
Yusmeiro Petit — coming on for his second outing in as many days after not pitching in seven — ended the frame with a groundout by young. Petit gave up a leadoff double to Kinsler in the seventh, and after an intentional walk to Trout, surrendered an inside-out flare single to right to Justin Upton, bringing Kinsler in to score.
Oakland crept back with a run in the seventh on a Jed Lowrie leadoff double and a sacrifice fly by Matt Olson. It was one of just three hits the A’s (XX-XX) managed againstleft-handed starter Andrew Heaney.
The A’s came into Sunday with a .244 average against left-handed starters — better than their .238 against righties — but dropped that average almost four whole points against Heaney, who struck out eight in eight innings.
Against lock-down closer Blake Parker, though, shortstop Marcus Semien hit a leadoff home run in the ninth — his seventh of the year — to cut the lead to one.
Parker — who strikes out 10.4 men and walks just over three per nine innings — then walked Chad Pinder on four pitches, and issued Khris Davis a free pass after getting ahead 1-2.
Jose Alvarez came on to strike out Matt Olson, but then Canha came up against reliever Cam Bedrosian and dunked a flare single to right, plating pinch runner Dustin Fowler to tie things up at 5-5.
Canha would later by spearing a drive to left center by 1-2 drive to left center by Andrelton Simmons, saving an extra-base hit by colliding with the fence at full gallop for the second out of the tenth.
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The DL stint is Cahill’s second this season. The 30-year-old was sidelined 10 days by a right elbow impingement in May.
The A’s also optioned left-hander Danny Coulombe to Triple-A Nashville on Thursday. Righties Chris Bassitt and Carlos Ramirez were recalled from Nashville.
Cahill was scratched from his Saturday start against the Kansas City Royals as a result of the Achilles injury, which manager Bob Melvin termed as “not great” in speaking to reporters earlier this week. The team delayed making a roster move with Cahill in the hopes he would recover quickly.
“I think recently maybe walking around, he hasn’t felt great,” Melvin said. “Whether or not it enhanced the state that he’s in right now, not sure yet.”
Cahill is 1-2 with a 2.77 ERA this season.
Bassitt shined in Cahill’s stead against the Royals on Saturday, allowing one run and striking out six over seven innings in his first major league appearance since 2016. The 29-year-old was optioned to the minors the next day, and Melvin said earlier this week he’d be happy to see him back in the majors.
“He deserves another chance, based on how he pitched the last time out,” Melvin said.
Ramirez, 27, has appeared in one game for the A’s this season, throwing two scoreless innings. Coulombe, 28, has a 4.70 ERA in 25 appearances out of Oakland’s bullpen.
–Field Level Media
Jun 14 (OPTA) – Box score from Oakland Athletics vs Houston Astros on Wednesday Houston 13, Oakland 5 Houston ab r h rbi bb so avg Springer rf 5 1 1 0 1 1 .293 Altuve 2b 3 2 1 0 2 0 .336 Kemp 2b 1 0 0 0 0 0 .290 Correa ss 4 2 1 2 2 2 .268 Gurriel 1b 5 1 3 3 0 1 .304 Reddick lf 5 1 1 0 0 1 .229 Gattis dh 3 2 2 5 1 1 .246 Gonzalez 3b 4 1 2 1 1 1 .240 Stassi c 5 1 1 0 0 1 .256 Marisnick cf 4 2 2 2 1 1 .164 Cole p 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 Harris p 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 Guduan p 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 Totals 39 13 14 13 8 9 – Oakland ab r h rbi bb so avg Fowler cf 4 0 0 0 0 2 .244 Canha lf 4 0 0 0 0 1 .244 Lowrie 2b 4 0 1 0 0 0 .280 Davis dh 4 3 3 2 0 1 .243 Olson 1b 4 0 0 0 0 1 .242 Chapman 3b 2 0 0 0 1 1 .252 Pinder 3b 1 0 0 0 0 0 .236 Semien ss 3 1 1 0 1 1 .260 Piscotty rf 4 1 1 3 0 3 .237 Lucroy c 2 0 1 0 0 0 .262 Phegley c 2 0 0 0 0 2 .111 Blackburn p 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 Pagan p 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 Hendriks p 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 Coulombe p 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 Hatcher p 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 Smolinski p 0 0 0 0 0 0 .118 Totals 34 5 7 5 2 12 – Houston 3 7 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 — 13 14 1 Oakland 0 0 0 3 0 1 0 1 0 — 5 7 0 Houston ip h r er bb so np era Cole, W (8-1) 6 6 4 4 2 6 99 2.40 Harris 1 0 0 0 0 3 13 4.50 Guduan 2 1 1 1 0 3 26 4.50 Oakland ip h r er bb so np era Blackburn, L (1-1) 1.1 8 8 8 2 0 47 11.05 Pagan 2.2 2 2 2 0 5 46 4.01 Hendriks 2 1 0 0 1 2 38 5.87 Coulombe 1 1 1 1 3 0 22 4.70 Hatcher 1 0 0 0 2 2 28 3.80 Smolinski 1 2 2 2 0 0 9 18.00
OAKLAND — The Houston Astros have a stacked team — they’re the reigning World Series champions, after all — and that’s something Oakland A’s manager Bob Melvin is well aware of.
Even with third baseman Alex Bregman getting tonight off, Melvin noted that Marwin González — nearly an All-Star last season — will be playing in Bregman’s stead.
“Their rotation, their bullpen, their lineup, they can run, they hit power — they do it all,” Melvin said. “Not only do they have a significant lineup, but they have everything around it. Matchups, pinch-hitting, the whole bit. It’s an impressive club, so we know we have to play our best to beat them.”
Both players have gotten off to slow starts. Bregman hit .284 last year with 19 home runs, but is hitting .266 so far in 2018. Gonzalez — who hit .303 a year ago with 23 home runs and 34 doubles — is hitting just .235 in 60 games this season, with only 15 extra-bases.
A’s starter Paul Blackburn — starting his second game since returning from injury — will be at about 90 pitches tonight, according to Melvin. In his last start out (his first this year after dealing with a forearm strain), Blackburn tossed a gem: 67 pitches in six innings and one run on three hits.
“As economical as he was last time, that means he’s probably at eight innings,” Melvin said.
Things still aren’t looking that good for pitcher Trevor Cahill, who was scratched from Saturday’s scheduled start against the Kansas City Royals with and Achilles injury. Melvin said that they’ll make a decision tomorrow regarding whether Cahill will be put on the disabled list.
Cahill has been in a boot to mobilize the injury and keep it stable so as not to worsen the injury.
“It’s tough to pitch in those,” Melvin said. “I don’t know that we’re going to put some spikes on that.”
Chris Bassitt — who was sent down on June 10 — would likely come back up. On June 9, in his first Major League appearance since undergoing Tommy John surgery on May 6, 2016, he took the loss, despite allowing just one run on three hits in seven innings. He’s been up and down three times this season.
Injured starter Brett Anderson (left shoulder strain) threw off the mound for the first time — all fastballs, according to Melvin, who said Anderson “looked pretty good.” Andrew Triggs is a little further along.
“He threw 20 and 20 and sat down through 20, so he’ll take three days off, pitch Saturday in an extended 60,” Melvin said. “Hopefully he gets to throw those and we get him a Nashville stint and then, hopefully, have him back pretty soon.”
Melvin is excited about getting reliever Ryan Buchter back, who, pitched a scoreless inning during his rehab assignment on Monday for the High-A Stockton Ports. He’ll pitch again in Stockton on Thursday and then, at some point, head to Triple-A Nashville for a few games.
“He adds another late-inning piece that we pitch typically in games that we’re either tied or ahead in,” Melvin said. “Buchter is a guy that we traded for for a reason. And that was a late-inning left-handed reliever.”
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OAKLAND, Calif. — The Oakland Athletics hope to take another step forward on what could be their most important homestand of the season when they host the Kansas City Royals on the second night of a four-game series Friday.
Having had his start pushed back one day so that the A’s could squeeze previously injured Paul Blackburn into their rotation, right-hander Frankie Montas (2-0, 0.64) will seek a second consecutive win over a Kansas City team that shows no signs of turning around a disappointing season.
Seeking to avoid his team’s sixth consecutive defeat, right-hander Jakob Junis (5-5, 3.62) will oppose Montas.
The A’s opened a 10-game homestand with a 4-1 win over the Royals on Thursday night, getting six sharp innings from Blackburn and, most important, a nine-hit attack against three Kansas City pitchers.
Oakland began the homestand, which also features Houston and the Los Angeles Angels, two teams ahead of the A’s in the American League West, with just a .500 home record. The offense has taken the blame for the unimpressive mark, with the A’s having hit just .222 in their first 30 home games, the second-worst team average in the AL.
A’s manager Bob Melvin did some lineup tinkering for the homestand opener, moving everyone in the middle of his lineup up a spot and demoting Marcus Semien, mired in an 0-for-17 slump, from second to sixth.
New cleanup man Matt Olson responded with his 13th home run of the season and Semien showed signs of life with two hits, helping the A’s record more hits in one game (nine) than they’d accumulated in the last two games of their previous homestand against Tampa Bay (eight).
Montas has no complaints about the support he’s gotten, especially the 16 runs he received when he faced the Royals in Kansas City last Friday. Of course, that game was on the road.
The 25-year-old has been impressive in both his starts this season, and in both his career outings against the Royals, against whom he’s 1-0 with a 1.00 ERA in two head-to-heads.
Montas will see a different look from the Royals this time around, with the club having traded leadoff man Jon Jay to the Arizona Diamondbacks earlier this week for two minor-leaguers.
The Royals have not responded well to what some fear could be the start of an in-season fire sale, totaling four runs and 12 hits in their first two games without Jay.
Whit Merrifield has taken over the leadoff spot, going 2-for-9 in those games.
Junis pitched well against the A’s in a 5-1 loss on Sunday, a game that was tied 1-1 when the 24-year-old was sent back out to the mound to start the eighth inning.
He gave up the go-ahead run in the eighth before Burch Smith came on and served up a three-run home run to Olson, capping a four-run inning.
Junis has faced the A’s three times in his career, going 1-1 with a 3.14 ERA.
The Royals have yet to win on a seven-game tour of California, having lost three straight to the Angels before heading to Oakland on Thursday.
They’ve dropped five in a row overall.