Laureano delivers Oakland’s third walk-off win in four days

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – MAY 11: Ramon Laureano #22 of the Oakland Athletics celebrates a walk off single during the ninth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on May 11, 2019 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)

The current homestand might serve as the catalyst if the Oakland Athletics turn this season around. 

In the first five games, the Athletics have pitched a no-hitter and three walk-off wins. 

The latest to play the starring role is Ramon Laureano. The 24-year-old hit an RBI single with one out in the bottom of the ninth to lift Oakland to a 3-2 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Saturday afternoon at Oakland Coliseum. 

Matt Olson started the winning rally by working a seven-pitch leadoff walk from losing pitcher A.J. Cole. Kendrys Morales followed with a single on a 1-2 pitch. Stephen Piscotty laid down a perfect bunt on the first pitch to advance both runners.

It was Oakland’s first sacrifice bunt of the season and first in 84 games.

With the infield drawn in, Laureano popped one into no-man’s land in shallow right. The ball dropped behind second baseman Jason Kipnis and in front of hard charging right-fielder Jordan Luplow to give the A’s their fourth victory in five games. 

According to Baseball Savant, the ball had an expected batting average of .070. 

Blake Treinen picked up the win despite blowing his second save of the season. Treinen allowed a game-tying single from Leonys Martin with two outs in the top of the ninth.

It was the first run Treinen has given up at home since July 31, 2018, a record span for an Oakland reliever of 32.2 innings.

Cole suffered the loss while making his first appearance of the season. The 27-year-old was called up by the Indians prior to the game. Cole pitched 1.1 innings in relief of a sensational Trevor Bauer. 

Bauer allowed two runs on two hits, walked three and struck out 10 in seven innings. Both runs were unearned. 

Marcus Semien opened the bottom of the first by reaching on an error by Jose Ramirez. Semien stole second and scored on a single by Matt Chapman. 

Oakland deployed the opener strategy for the first time this season. Liam Hendriks got the starting nod and pitched one scoreless inning. 

Aaron Brooks replaced Hendriks in the second inning and pitched into the sixth. Brooks allowed seven baserunners in four-plus innings, but the only run he gave up was Martin’s solo homer in the fifth. 

Bauer couldn’t deliver a shutdown inning as Nick Hundley hit a Little League Home Run to give the lead back to Oakland. 

Hundley crushed a drive that bounced off the out-of-town scoreboard in left. After misplaying the carom, Jake Bauers threw wildly past third base, allowing Hundley to score. Hundley was credited with a triple. 

Brooks left in the sixth after putting the first two batters on. Yusmeiro Petit relieved Brooks and needed just 10 innings to escape the inning with no damage. 

The game stayed status quo until the ninth.

After needing just 12 pitches to pitch two innings Friday night, Treinen allowed a leadoff single to Luplow. Mike Freeman sacrificed Luplow on the first pitch as well.

After Carlos Gonzalez struck out, Martin tied the game with an opposite-field single off a 1-0 cutter on the inner part of the plate.

The Indians were hitless in 11 at-bats with RISP before Martin’s hit.

WP: Blake Treinen (2-2, 2.70) LP: A.J. Cole (0-1, 6.75) 

Time: 3:13 Attendance 18,278 Record: 19-22 

Share

Porcello shuts down Athletics

BOSTON, MA – APRIL 30: Rick Porcello #22 of the Boston Red Sox reacts during the seventh inning of a game against the Oakland Athletics on April 30, 2019 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

The end of April couldn’t come at a better time for the Oakland Athletics.

Rick Porcello pitched eight scoreless innings, Mookie Betts and Mitch Moreland homered, and the Boston Red Sox continue the misery for the Athletics with a 5-1 victory on Tuesday night at Fenway Park.

Oakland has lost five straight and dropped to 14-18 on the season. The A’s have been outscored 30-12 during the losing skid.

Porcello is the latest pitcher to stymie Oakland. The former Cy Young winner allowed two hits, walked two and struck out eight in eight outstanding innings.

Porcello threw 78 of 114 pitches (68.4%) for strikes. He dominated the A’s despite generating just seven swinging strikes (6.1%).

Aaron Brooks started for Oakland and lasted just 4.1 innings. He allowed five runs (four earned) on six hits, walked three and struck out two.

Brooks allowed a solo homer to Betts in the first inning and a two-run homer to Moreland in the fourth. Both Betts and Moreland crushed their shots over the center field wall.

The Red Sox scored a run in the second on a two-out single by Sandy Leon. They added a run in the fifth on a double by Rafael Devers after Ramon Laureano opened the door with one out by dropping a routine fly ball by J.D. Martinez.

Laureano and Nick Hundley got the only two hits against Porcello, who retired the side in order five times.

Robbie Grossman ended the combined shutout bid by crushing a 93.1 mph fastball from Tyler Thornburg over the Red Sox bullpen leading off the ninth. Grossman has the only two homers the A’s have hit on the current road trip.

WP: Rick Porcello (2-3, 5.52)
LP: Aaron Brooks (2-3, 5.74)
Time: 2:34
Attendance: 31,754
Record: 14-18

Share

Athletics sweep Rangers on Pinder’s walk-off

Chad Pinder hit a walk-off single with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to lift the Oakland Athletics to a 6-5 win over the Texas Rangers on Wednesday afternoon at the Oakland Coliseum.

After Stephen Piscotty singled with one out and stole second with two outs, Pinder sent everyone home happy with a soft liner into shallow right. It was Pinder’s first career walk-off hit. 

Oakland completed a three-game sweep for a 4-4 homestand and moved back above .500 at 14-13. 

Blake Treinen picked up his first win of the season. Chris Martin took the loss. 

The Rangers scored first in the second inning. Logan Forsythe led off with a double off Aaron Brooks, advanced to third on an out and scored on a groundout by Jeff Mathis. 

Oakland wasted no time responding in the bottom half against Kyle Dowdy, who was making his first major league start. 

After Jurickson Profar walked with one out and Nick Hundley singled with two outs, Marcus Semien followed with his fourth homer of the season. Dowdy left a 91.8 mph fastball waste high, on the inner part of the plate and Semien drove it over the left-field wall. 

Dowdy left the spot start after pitching three innings. He allowed three runs on four hits, walked three and struck out two. 

The Rangers pulled a run back in the third on an opposite-field homer by Nomar Mazara and tied the game in the fourth on a homer by Logan Forsythe.

Oakland regained the lead with two runs in the fifth off Jesse Chavez. Matt Chapman led off with an opposite-field homer on an 0-1 count.

Piscotty followed with a single and Khris Davis walked. After two strikeouts, Profar drove in Piscotty with a single through the second base hole created by a defensive shift. The hit snapped a 0-for 17 slump for Profar. 

Brooks left the game after five innings and 94 pitches. He allowed three runs on six hits, walked none and struck out seven. 

Yusmeiro Petit came on in relief and Mazara promptly greeted him with his second opposite-field homer of the day to pull Texas to within one. 

The Rangers tied the game in the seventh against Joakim Soria. Soria committed the cardinal sin of walking the leadoff batter, Jeff Mathis. After advancing to third on two groundouts. Mathis scored on a wild pitch on an 0-2 count. 

After J.B. Wendelken retired the side in order in the eighth, Treinen was unleashed to pitch the ninth. 

Treinen hasn’t pitched since Sunday and it showed. He issued two walks, but got Delino DeShields to ground into a 6-4-3 inning-ending double play. Replays showed that Profar actually took his feet off the second base bag as he was turning the play. 

The Rangers tried to challenge, but was denied by the umpires for taking longer than the allotted time. Oakland took full advantage in the bottom half. 

The A’s hit the road for a nine-game road trip, starting on Friday night in Toronto. Oakland will try to avenge a three-game sweep at home by the Blue Jays last weekend. 

The Jays are expected to call up third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr., the number one prospect in baseball. 

WP: Blake Treinen (1-1, 0.68) 

LP: Chris Martin (0-2, 5.40) 

Time: 3:22 

Attendance: 18,610 

Record: 14-13 

Share

Stroman shuts down Athletics

OAKLAND, CA – APRIL 19: Starting pitcher Marcus Stroman #6 of the Toronto Blue Jays jumps as he leaves the field in the bottom of the ninth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on April 19, 2019 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

Behind the arm of Marcus Stroman and offense from unusual suspects, the Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Oakland Athletics 5-1 Friday night at the Oakland Coliseum. 

Stroman allowed one run on six hits, walked two and struck out six in eight-plus innings to pick up his first win of the season. He came into the game with an 0-3 record despite a sparkling 1.99 ERA because he received exactly one run of support in 22.2 innings. 

The Jays offense finally showed up for Stroman by erupting for four runs off starter Aaron Brooks in the second inning. The production came from unexpected sources.

Toronto loaded the bases with no outs on a double by Justin Smoak, a walk to Teoscar Hernandez and a single by Billy McKinney. 

After Brandon Drury struck out, Socrates Brito drove the first run in with an opposite-field single to left. Brito snapped a streak of 21 hitless at-bats to start the season. 

On the next pitch, Danny Jansen hit a two-run opposite-field double. Coming into the game, Jansen owned a slash line of .160/.236/.180 with one double and one RBI.  

Former Athletic Eric Sogard drove in the fourth run with a single to right. Sogard was playing in his fourth game.

Brooks retired the next two batters, but the damage had been done. 

Drury scored the final run of the contest with a solo homer in the fourth. It was Drury’s first home run and RBI of the season. He came into the game with a slash line of .141/.191/.203 and 27 strikeouts in 64 at-bats. 

Oakland got off to a promising start with a run off Stroman in the first. Marcus Semien singled with one out and scored on Matt Chapman’s double to deep right-center. But it would be the last run given up by Stroman. 

Stroman threw 69 of 109 pitches for strikes. The 27-year-old generated 18 called strikes on 59 fastballs and eight swinging strikes on 41 sliders. Stroman left after giving up a leadoff double in the ninth.

Ken Giles relieved Stroman and shut the door on the A’s with two strikeouts.

Brooks suffered his second loss of the season. He allowed five runs on six hits, walked two and struck out five. After Sogard’s hit in the second, Brooks retired 11 of the last 13 batters he faced. 

WP: Marcus Stroman (1-3, 1.76) 

LP: Aaron Brooks (2-2, 5.32) 

Time: 2:36 

Attendance: 11-11 

Record: 15,128 

Share

Davis, Athletics power past Orioles

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. 

The Oakland Athletics defeated the Baltimore Orioles for a second straight game with a five-homer attack, including two from Khris Davis. The final score was 8-3 on Thursday afternoon at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. 

Josh Phegley, Kendrys Morales and Marcus Semien also went yard for the Athletics, who hit 14 home runs in taking three out of four from the Orioles. 

Aaron Brooks picked up his second win of the season. He allowed three runs on three hits, walked three and struck out three in six-plus innings. Blake Trenien struck out two in the ninth for his fourth save. 

Dylan Bundy suffered his first loss. He gave up six runs on seven hits, including four homers, walked none and struck out eight over five-plus innings. 

The Orioles got off to a positive start. Dwight Smith Jr. homered with one out in the bottom of the first. The 90.7 mph fastball in the middle of the zone exited at a velocity of 107.4 mph and traveled a projected distance of 440 feet. 

After fanning five in the first three innings, Bundy ran into trouble in the fourth. Semien led off with a double and scored on Davis’ first homer of the day. Bundy left a fastball in the bottom of the zone and Davis deposited it over the left-center field fence. 

Oakland got some breathing room with two runs in the fifth. Ramon Laureano led off with a single and Phegley followed with his third homer of the season. 

The A’s finally chased Bundy from the game in the sixth. Davis opened the inning by crushing his second homer to left field and Morales followed with his first round-tripper of the season to right-center field. 

Chad Pinder greeted new reliever Josh Lucas with a single to center and advanced to third when Cedric Mullins misplayed the ball. Jurickson Profar hit a sacrifice fly to drive in Pinder. 

The gift run turned out to be enormous because Baltimore scored four times in the bottom of the seventh. Rio Ruiz walked. Renato Nunez reached on a single when Ramon Laureano lost his fly ball in the sun. 

J.B. Wendelken relieved Brooks and retired none of the two batters he faced. He walked Chris Davis to load the bases and hit Pedro Severino in the helmet with a curve to force in a run.  

Lou Trivino replaced Wendelken. After he got Richie Martin to pop out, he threw a wild pitch to score the second run. Mullins plated the third run with a groundout to first. Smith drove in the fourth run with a double to right. 

It looked as if the Orioles would get at least one more run, but Stephen Piscotty made a diving catch while running to his left to rob Jonathan Villar of an extra-base hit. 

Joakim Soria came on to pitch the eighth. The Orioles got two on with one out, but Davis struck out and Jesus Sucre flied out to right. 

Oakland added an insurance run with one out in the ninth on Semien’s third homer of the season. Blake Treinen struck out two in the bottom half to pick up his fourth save. 

The A’s are headed for Arlington for a three-game weekend series against the Texas Rangers, who Davis rakes against.

In 203 career at-bats against the Rangers, Davis owns a slash line of .305/.388/.783 with 28 home runs and 64 RBIs. In 108 career at-bats at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Davis owns a slash line of .333/.400/.843 with 15 homers and 32 RBIs.

While Khris is on a hot streak, Chris went 0-for-3 to extend his hitless streak to MLB-record 53 at-bats. Davis lined out to Laureano, who made a leaping catch at the warning track in center, in the second inning. The ball exited at a velocity of 105.1 mph and had an expected batting average of .650. Davis grounded out to Semien in the fourth.

WP: Aaron Brooks (2-1, 4.24) 

LP: Dylan Bundy (0-1,8.76) 

S: Blake Treinen (4, 1.00) 

Time: 2:50 

Attendance: 8,374 

Record: 9-8 

Share

Athletics hit four homers, blank Red Sox 7-0

The one advantage of having the Boston Red Sox in town is East Coast baseball fans get a rare opportunity to see just how exciting the Oakland Athletics’ brand of baseball will be this season.

Behind dominating pitching and a powerful offense and defense, the Athletics shut out the defending world champions 7-0 on Monday night at the Oakland Coliseum. 

Player of the game: Aaron Brooks 

Brooks was sensational for Oakland in his first major league start since 2015. The 28-year-old pitched six scoreless innings, allowing just two hits with one walk and six strikeouts. Brooks threw 24 four-seamers, 23 sliders, 21 sinkers, 13 changeups and five curves. Out of 86 pitches, 58 were strikes.

Brooks received plenty of help from his offense and defense. 

Play of the game: Ramon Laureano nails Xander Bogaerts at home 

Bogaerts doubled with one out in the second inning. Mitch Moreland followed by lining a two-hopper to Laureano in right-center field. Laureano came up and fired a strike to catcher Nick Hundley, who home plate umpire Kerwin Danley determined to have tagged out Bogaerts. The Red Sox challenged that Bogaerts’ foot touched home plate before the tag, but replays were inconclusive and the call was upheld by New York. 

Brooks allowed just a walk after the close call. 

Offense: Left no doubt 

After Laureano prevented Boston from scoring in the top of the inning, Khris Davis opened the scoring in the bottom half. Red Sox starter David Price left an 82.7 mph changeup over the heart of the plate and Davis drove it over the wall in center field for his ML-leading fifth home run of the season. The ball left the bat at 105.6 mph. 

Defense leads to offense and it happened for Laureano, who came into the game batting just .150 with nine strikeouts. Laureano took a 90.9 mph first-pitch fastball over the plate from Price and launched it over the center field wall with plenty of room to spare for his first homer of 2019. The ball had a projected distance of 428 feet.

The A’s got two more runs in the sixth. Mark Canha walked with two outs and Chad Pinder connected on the first pitch he saw from Price for his first homer of the season. Price left an 84.1 mph changeout over the outside part of the plate and Pinder sent it over the left field wall. 

Matt Chapman joined the home run parade in the eighth with his second of the season. The A’s added two more runs, thanks in part to an error by Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers. 

Bullpen: New cast of stars 

Ryan Buchter and Liam Hendriks combined to pitch the seventh. J.B. Wendelken retired the side in order in the eighth. Fernando Rodney finished off the Red Sox in the ninth. There were no hiccups.

Starting rotation: Spectacular so far

Since returning from Japan, the A’s couldn’t have asked for more than what their starters have given them through one rotation.

WP: Aaron Brooks (1-0, 0.00) 

LP: David Price (0-1, 6.00) 

Time: 2:42 

Attendance: 12,417 

Record: 4-3 

Share