Montas dominant in Athletics’ 7-2 victory over Tigers

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – MAY 17: Frankie Montas #47 of the Oakland Athletics throws a first inning pitch while playing the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on May 17, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Frankie Montas might just be the ace the Oakland Athletics have been searching for all season. 

Montas came within one out of his first career complete game as the Athletics beat the Detroit Tigers 7-2 on Friday night at Comerica Park. 

Montas improved to 5-2 on the season and lowered his ERA to 2.67, good for eighth best in AL. The 26-year-old set career-highs with 8.2 innings pitched and 10 strikeouts. Montas allowed two runs on four hits and walked none. 

Mark Canha and Chad Pinder supported Montas with two-run homers. Khris Davis went 3-of-4 with an RBI. 

According to Baseball Savant, Montas threw 73 of 109 pitches (67.0%) for strikes and generated 18 swinging strikes (16.5 percent). He induced 13 groundouts to just two flyouts. 

Montas threw 41 sinkers, 26 sliders, 25 four-seamers and 17 splitters. He deployed a splitter for four strikeouts, sinker for three strikeouts, four-seamer for two strikeouts and a slider for one strikeout. 

Daniel Norris suffered his second loss. He allowed six runs on seven hits, walked one and struck out two. 

Oakland started the scoring with a run in the fourth inning. Matt Chapman and Stephen Piscotty opened with back-to-back singles. Chapman advanced to third on a fly ball by Davis and scored when Matt Olson beat out a double play grounder to first by millimeters. 

The A’s scored two runs in the fifth. Jurickson Profar led off by working an eight-pitch walk. Canha followed with his fifth homer of the season. Norris left a 1-0 fastball over the heart of the plate and Canha crushed it into the right field bleachers. 

The Tigers pulled a run back in the bottom half. After retiring the first 12 batters, Montas allowed a leadoff double to Miguel Cabrera. Cabrera came around to score on a one-out double by Josh Harrison. 

Montas hit Dawel Lugo with a 1-2 pitch to put the tying run on base. But Montas escaped further damage when John Hicks and JaCoby Jones grounded into force outs at second base on back-to-back pitches. 

Oakland answered with three runs in the sixth. 

Davis singled with one out. Olson followed with another single, but the ball was misplayed by Jones in center and rolled to the warning track. Davis scored and Olson reached third. 

Olson scored on Pinder’s fourth homer of the season. Hicks wanted a slider in on the 3-2 pitch, but Norris left it over the heart of the plate. 

Davis hit an RBI single off Sandy Baez in the eighth. 

After retiring the side in order from the sixth to the eighth innings, the only drama left was if Montas can finish what he started. 

Montas allowed a leadoff single to Gordon Beckham. After getting two outs, the last man standing between Montas and the complete game was Cabrera. 

Cabrera would not cooperate as he lined a gapper into right-center for an RBI double. The hit was number 2,721 for Cabrera, moving him into a tie for 63rd all time with Lou Gehrig. 

Montas departed after a spectacular performance. Lou Trivino came on to strike out Ronny Rodriguez to end the game. 

WP: Frankie Montas (5-2, 2.67) LP: Daniel Norris (2-2, 4.50) 

Time: 2:28 Attendance: 18,746 Record: 21-25 

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Athletics continue struggles, swept by Red Sox

BOSTON, MA – MAY 1: Mitch Moreland #18 of the Boston Red Sox high fives Mookie Betts #50 and manager Alex Cora after hitting a solo home run during the fourth inning of a game against the Oakland Athletics on May 1, 2019 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

It’s a good thing the Oakland Athletics are done with the AL East until June.

After winning six of the first eight games, the Athletics have lost nine straight to AL East opponents, six to the Toronto Blue Jays and three to the Boston Red Sox.

The latest defeat was Wednesday’s 7-3 loss to the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

Mitch Moreland homered and drove in two runs. Andrew Benintendi added two RBIs for Boston, who are still three games under .500 at 14-17 and six games behind the Tampa Bay Rays.

Marcus Walden pitched three scoreless innings in relief to pick up his fourth win of the season. Hector Velazquez opened and allowed one run on two hits in two innings.

Mike Fiers suffered his third loss. He allowed three runs on five hits, walked one and struck out three in five innings.

Khris Davis and Chad Pinder both went 2-for-4 with an RBI for Oakland, who dropped to 14-19 and the cellar in the AL West.

The A’s won’t face an AL East foe until June 10 when they open a three-game series in Tampa Bay.

For the second time in the series, Oakland opened the scoring first.

Davis led off the second inning with a single off Velazquez and Stephen Piscotty was hit by a pitch. After two strikeouts, Ramon Laureano came through with an opposite-field single to score Davis.

Fiers couldn’t deliver a shutdown inning as the Red Sox scored a run to tie the game.

Rafael Devers and Michael Chavis opened with back-to-back singles. Fiers was unlucky in that Chavis hit a grounder up the middle that should have been at least a force out, but the ball hit the second base bag and bounced over Pinder.

Devers saw the play developing and advanced to third. Moreland drove in Devers with a sacrifice fly.

The Red Sox were primed for more when Fiers immediately loaded the bases by walking Christian Vazquez on five pitches and allowing a single to Jackie Bradley Jr.

But the A’s caught a break that has eluded them during the current road trip. Fiers uncorked a pitch to the backstop, but the ball bounced right back to catcher Josh Phegley, who tagged out Chavis trying to score from third. Fiers struck out Tzu-Wei Lin to end the inning.

Boston took the lead for good in the fourth on Moreland’s ninth homer of the season. Fiers threw an 89.2 mph two-seamer on the outer part of the plate and the left-handed slugger crushed it over the Green Monster.

The Red Sox manufactured a run in the fifth. Lin doubled down the third base line, advanced to third on a bunt by Andrew Benintendi and scored on a sacrifice fly by Mookie Betts.

Boston broke the game open with three runs off J.B. Wendelken in the sixth.

Wendelken allowed a lead-off single to Devers and walked Chavis. After inducing two flyouts, Wendelken walked Bradley Jr. On seven pitches to loaded the bases. Devers scored when Lin beat out an infield single. Chavis and Bradley Jr. scored when Benintendi dropped a blooper into left-center.

Vazquez homered on the first pitch in the eighth for Boston’s final run.

Brandon Workman, Colten Brewer and Heath Hembree worked one scoreless inning apiece. Tyler Thornburg pitched the ninth and allowed run-scoring doubles to Davis and Pinder.

The A’s hope to right the ship on Friday night in Pittsburgh when they open a three-game series against the Pirates.

WP: Marcus Walden (4-0, 1.65)
LP: Mike Fiers (2-3, 6.81)
Time: 2:54
Attendance: 33,708
Record: 14-19

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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 

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Astros walk-off on Athletics, complete sweep

It was a lost weekend in Houston for the Oakland Athletics. 

Blake Treinen walked Jose Altuve with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth, and the Astros completed a sweep with a 9-8 victory on Sunday afternoon at Minute Maid Park.

The A’s got off to a promising start. 

Robbie Grossman led off with a single off Brad Peacock to center. Matt Chapman chopped one in the infield that eluded the glove of third baseman Alex Bregman and went through to short left field for another single. Stephen Piscotty walked to load the bases. 

Peacock got a temporary reprieve when Kendrys Morales lined out to Jose Altuve, who threw to second to double off Chapman. But Chad Pinder came through with a two-run double that hit the beam supporting the roof on the fair side.

The lead would not stand for long as the Astros scored five times off Mike Fiers in the bottom half. After striking out George Springer on three pitches, Fiers walked Altuve and gave up three straight singles that tied the game. 

There would have been a fourth straight hit and two more runs scored if Piscotty had not caught Josh Reddick’s fly ball down the right field line with an all-or-nothing dive. 

After getting two strikes on Aledmys Diaz, it looked as if Fiers would escape with no further damage. But he mislocated an 0-2 fastball and Diaz hammered a three-run opposite-field homer. Piscotty tried for another spectacular catch, but the ball eluded his glove and landed in the first row.

Houston got two more runners on before Fiers was able to induced a groundout from Springer to finally end the inning.

The A’s pulled two runs back with a two-out rally in the next half-inning. After Josh Phegley singled to no man’s land in left-center field, Grossman launched a two-run homer to right field. 

But Fiers couldn’t deliver a shutdown inning. Altuve singled to deep short. Bregman popped out to third after a nine-pitch battle. Brantley singled to right. Carlos Correa struck out. Fiers then walked Reddick to load the bases and Diaz to force in a run.

The last two pitches to Diaz were closed enough to have been call strikes, but weren’t called by home plate umpire Marvin Hudson. This would be the end of the line for Fiers. 

J.B. Wendelken relieved Fiers and struck out Max Stassi to strand the bases loaded.

Final line for Fiers: 1.2 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 4 BB, 2 SO, 59 pitches.

Despite the poor outing, Fiers received a no-decision because he was picked up by the offense. The A’s scored four runs to take an 8-6 lead. 

Ramon Laureano singled with one out in the fourth and scored when Grossman lined a double on the left field foul line. 

Oakland scored two runs off Josh James to take the lead in the sixth. Again, it was Laureano who started the rally off with a single. Phegley followed with a two-run homer to the Crawford Boxes. 

The A’s took a two-run lead in the eighth when Chad Pinder homered just above the yellow line in left-center field. Astros challenged the call to no avail. 

Oakland might have had a chance for more breathing room. But Marcus Semien was thrown out trying to stretch a double down the right field line into a triple. Reddick threw to Correa, who made a perfect relay throw to Bregman, who tagged Semien on the thigh before he reached the bag. The A’s challenged the call to no avail.

The A’s received another scoring opportunity right away. Jurickson Profar was hit by a pitch, stole second and advanced to third on Stassi’s error. But Laureano hit a grounder to third and Profar was tagged out after a rundown.

Wendelken made Oakland’s comeback possible. He allowed one hit and struck out four in 3.1 innings. Joakim Soria pitched a scoreless sixth inning. 

Lou Trivino came on in the seventh and retired the first four batters he faced on 13 pitches. But he left a cutter on the inside part of the plate to Kemp, who hit it over the right field wall for his first home run of the season. 

Kemp has become a nemesis of the A’s. The 27-year-old outfielder owns a slash line of .341/.438/.756 with three home runs and eight RBIs in 41 career at-bats. 

Trivino, who had been unscored upon in his first eight innings, gave up a double to Springer and Treinen was called upon for a five-out save.

Altuve greeted Treinen with another infield single, advancing Springer to third. Springer scored the tying run when Bregman hit a sacrifice fly on the second pitch to medium center field. After an international pass was given to Michael Brantley, Correa grounded out to third to keep the game tied.

Treinen had not given up an earned run in the regular season since last August 23. But the streak ended in the bottom of the ninth.

Reddick led off with a walk. Hudson missed a 2-0 pitch that was clearly a strike. Diaz lined the first pitch he saw to left for a single. Robinson Chirinos bunted to Treinen, who picked up the ball and threw a strike to Chapman for a force out at third. But Kemp walked to load the bases. After striking out Springer, Treinen walked Altuve on four pitches to force in the winning run.

None of the pitches were close to being strikes.

WP: Roberto Osuna (1-0, 2.25) 

LP: Blake Treinen (0-1, 1.13) 

Time: 3:39 

Attendance: 34,902 

Record: 6-7 

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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 

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