Fiers tosses second career no-no, Athletics beat Reds 2-0

OAKLAND, CA – MAY 07: Mike Fiers #50 of the Oakland Athletics has Gatorade poured on him by teammates after pitching a no hitter against the Cincinnati Reds at the Oakland Coliseum on May 7, 2019 in Oakland, California. The Oakland Athletics defeated the Cincinnati Reds 2-0. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)

After a rough start to the season, Mike Fiers is pitching like an ace the Oakland Athletics expected him to be.

Fiers pitched his second career no-hitter and the 300th in MLB history to defeat the Cincinnati Reds 2-0 on Tuesday night at the Oakland Coliseum.

Fiers becomes the 35th pitcher to throw two no-hitters. The 33-year-old’s first no-no was on Aug. 21, 2015 against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The no-hitter is the 13th in franchise history and eighth since the team moved to Oakland in 1968.

The game was delayed 98 minutes at the start due to a lighting malfunction in left field. Fiers finally threw the first pitch at 8:45 p.m.

Fiers retired the first 11 batters before Jesse Winker reached on an error by Matt Chapman. Winker sent a grounder up the middle. Chapman ranged to his left, but the ball bounced off the heel of his glove. The official scorer could have ruled it a hit, but Chapman is a Platinum Glover for a reason.

Fiers retired the next seven batters after the error before walking Eugenio Suarez on seven pitches to start the seventh. But Suarez was quickly erased on a 4-6-3 double play.

Fiers issued another walk to Puig, but Derek Dietrich popped out to Chapman to end the inning.

At this point, Fiers was already at 109 pitches and Lou Trivino was warming up in the bullpen. But Fiers needed only nine pitches to get through the eighth.

Fiers opened the ninth by inducing a pop out from pinch-hitter Josh VanMeter. For the final two outs, Fiers had to navigate through two of the premier power hitters, Votto and Suarez.

After falling behind 3-1, Fiers threw a strike before getting Votto to ground out to first baseman Matt Olson.

The final hurdle for Fiers was Suarez, who leads the Reds with 10 homers and 23 RBIs.

Fiers got a called strike one on an 88.1 mph fastball. Suarez fouled off a 90.2 mph fastball for strike two.

After two extremely high fastballs that Suarez didn’t chase, Fiers threw his best curveball of the night. Suarez never had a chance and the celebration was on.

Fiers threw 88 of 134 pitches for strikes against the Dodgers. He threw 83 of 131 pitches against the Reds. Fiers struck out six and lowered his ERA to 5.48.

No-hitters and perfect games are always preserved by great defensive plays. There were two in this game and they occurred on back-to-back pitches with one out in the sixth.

First, it was the much-maligned Jurickson Profar laying out for a diving catch on a popup into no man’s land in right by Kyle Farmer.

On the next pitch, Ramon Laureano made a leaping catch over the wall in left-center to rob a game-tying homer from Votto. Laureano made the play a few feet away from where he robbed Teoscar Hernandez of the Toronto Blue Jays 17 days ago.

OAKLAND, CA – MAY 07: Ramon Laureano #22 of the Oakland Athletics leaps for and catches a fly ball hit off the bat of Joey Votto (not pictured) of the Cincinnati Reds during the sixth inning at the Oakland Coliseum on May 7, 2019 in Oakland, California. The Oakland Athletics defeated the Cincinnati Reds 2-0. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)

The offense did just enough for Fiers, scoring a run off starter Tyler Mahle in the second and Martinez native Robert Stephenson in the seventh.

With two outs and Stephen Piscotty on first, Profar lined a double down the right field line. The ball got past Yasiel Puig and rolled around in the corner.

Puig finally retrieved the ball and threw a strike to the cutoff man Votto, who relayed another strike to catcher Tucker Barnhart. The throw beat Piscotty to the plate, but Barnhart overreached, allowing Piscotty to slide home safely behind the tag.

Profar added an insurance run in the seventh with his third homer of the season. Stephenson left an 0-1 fastball down in the zone and Profar launched it over the wall in right-center.

OAKLAND, CA – MAY 07: Jurickson Profar #23 of the Oakland Athletics rounds the bases after hitting a home run against the Cincinnati Reds during the seventh inning at the Oakland Coliseum on May 7, 2019 in Oakland, California. The Oakland Athletics defeated the Cincinnati Reds 2-0. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)

Mahle allowed one run on three hits, walked one and struck out eight in six innings. The 24-year-old dropped to 0-5 despite a solid 3.69 ERA. The Reds have provided Mahle with no run support (1.62) in his seven starts.

Olson returned after missing 34 games with a right thumb injury. The Gold Glover went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.

Fiers’ pitching counterpart for his first no-hitter was his now-teammate Brett Anderson. Anderson will start against the Reds on Wednesday.

WP: Mike Fiers (3-3, 5.48)

LP: Tyler Mahle (0-5, 3.69)

Time: 2:25

Attendance: 11,794

Record: 16-21


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


Guerrero Jr., Drury lift Jays over Athletics

TORONTO, ON – APRIL 26: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. #27 of the Toronto Blue Jays celebrates their victory as Brandon Drury #3 hit a game-winning two-run home run in the ninth inning during MLB game action against the Oakland Athletics at Rogers Centre on April 26, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

Brandon Drury hit a walk-off two-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to lift the Toronto Blue Jays to a 4-2 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Friday night at the Rogers Centre. 

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. set up the winning rally with his first major league hit, a scorching opposite-field double leading off the inning. He went 1-for-4 in his long-awaited debut.

Even the outs Guerrero made were loud. On his first at-bat in the second, he hit a 106.8 mph grounder that first baseman Kendrys Morales snagged. It was the hardest hit ball in the game.

Guerrero showed off his power in the next two plate appearances. He hit two drives to the warning track, including one where left fielder Chad Pinder made a leaping catch against the wall.

The average exit velocity on the balls hit by Guerrero was 98.1 mph.

Yusmeiro Petit suffered his first loss of the season. Ken Giles picked up his first win. 

Despite the loss, the A’s have to be ecstatic over the performance of their Opening Day starter Mike Fiers. 

Fiers bounced back from three straight poor outings with seven solid innings. He allowed two runs on six hits, walked none and struck out five. Fiers threw 67 of 101 pitches for strikes. He retired the side in order three times. 

Marcus Stroman was even better for Toronto. He pitched seven innings of one-hit ball. Stroman threw 61 of 97 pitches for strikes. He generated 16 swinging strikes, including 11 on his sliders. 

Stroman’s record this season remains at 1-3, despite lowering his ERA to 1.43. In 15 innings against Oakland, Stroman has allowed one run on seven hits, walked four and struck out 13. 

Eric Sogard continues to give his former team fits with a lead-off home run in the bottom of the first. 

Fiers retired seven in a row before allowing a one-out infield single in the third to Danny Jansen. After Sogard flew out, back-to-back singles netted a run for Toronto. 

Stroman retired the first nine batters before allowing his only hit to Marcus Semien leading off the fourth. Semien was the only Athletic to reach second base against Stroman. 

Oakland finally broke through in the eighth off reliever Joe Biagini. Ramon Laureano hits a seeing-eye single with one out. Pinch-hitter Robbie Grossman blasted the first pitch he saw over the right-center field wall to tie the game. 

Petit came on in the ninth and gave up the double to Guerrero, who received a rousing ovation as he exited the field for pinch-runner Alen Hansen.

Hansen was sacrificed to third by Billy McKinney. After Teoscar Hernandez lined out to Jurickson Profar, Drury hit the first pitch over the right-center field wall. 

WP: Ken Giles (1-1, 2.19) 

LP: Yusmeiro Petit (0-1, 2.93) 

Time: 2:50 

Attendance: 28,688 

Record: 14-14 


Jays rout Athletics, Fiers continues struggles

OAKLAND, CA – APRIL 20: Starting pitcher Mike Fiers #50 of the Oakland Athletics leaves the field after being replaced in the top of the fourth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on April 20, 2019 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

Kendrys Morales was responsible for one run in Saturday’s game between the Oakland Athletics and the Toronto Blue Jays. However, it did not count towards his RBI total, but rather his ERA.

Morales was pressed into action after the Athletics pitching staff gave up nine runs on 14 hits to the Jays in the first six innings in a 10-1 loss to Toronto. The 35-year-old pitched the ninth and allowed one run on one hit with two walks.

It was Morales’ second career pitching appearance. His first career appearance was a scoreless inning against Oakland as a member of the Jays on May 20, 2018 in Toronto. It does come full circle.

Oakland starter Mike Fiers was torched for six runs on nine hits in just 3.1 innings. Fiers has given up six runs in each of his last three starts spanning 10 innings. His ERA ballooned from 3.00 on April 2 to 8.28 on April 20. 

Rowdy Tellez, Brandon Drury and Justin Smoak homered for the Jays, who have won the first two games of the series and five of six overall. 

Sam Gaviglio picked up the win in relief of starter Matt Shoemaker, who suffered a left knee injury after catcher Luke Maile picked off Matt Chapman at first on a ball in the dirt. Shoemaker tagged Chapman after a brief rundown to end the inning, but went down in a heap after realizing the injury.

The former Los Angeles Angel will undergo an MRI on Sunday. Shoemaker allowed three hits in three innings.

Gavliglio more than picked up the slack for his injured teammate. The 28-year-old pitched four perfect innings with five strikeouts. 

Fiers retired the first six batters in order, but allowed back-to-back singles to open the third inning. After a sacrifice bunt, Eric Sogard made his former team pay by lining an opposite-field single to drive in the first run. 

Fiers ran into deep trouble in the fourth. The Jays opened with five consecutive hits, including back-to-back home runs by Tellez and Drury. 

Tellez crushed an 0-1 hanging curve to center for a three-run homer. Two pitches later, Drury lined an 0-1 fastball on the outer part of the plate just over the out-of-town scoreboard in right for his second homer is as many days. 

Fiers allowed two more hits before being lifted for Liam Hendriks. Freddy Galvis greeted Hendriks with a run-scoring single on yet another 0-1 pitch. Hendriks finally stopped the bleeding by striking out Randal Grichuk and got Justin Smoak to fly out. 

Drury had a two-run double in the fifth. Smoak hit his fourth homer of the season in the sixth. Former Athletic first-round draft pick Billy McKinney added a sacrifice fly off Morales in the ninth.

Galvis provided a defensive gem for Toronto in the eighth when he caught Josh Phegley’s popup on a full sprint over the shoulder with his barehand. 

Fernando Rodney pitched the eighth for Oakland. It was Rodney’s 906th career appearance, tying him with Cy Young for 24th place all-time.

WP: Sam Gaviglio (2-0, 1.57) 

LP: Mike Fiers (2-2, 8.28) 

Time: 3:05 

Attendance: 31,140 

Record: 11-12 


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 


Laureano stuns Red Sox with another throw, A’s win 1-0

Ramon Laureano and the Oakland Athletics did it to Xander Bogaerts and the Boston Red Sox again.

Laureano threw Bogaerts out at third base in the top of the ninth inning to help the A’s defeat the defending world champions 1-0 on Tuesday night at the Oakland Coliseum.

Play of the night: Laureano nails Bogaerts at third

With one out in the ninth, Bogaerts sent a hanging slider from A’s closer Blake Treinen into deep right-center field. The ball missed being a homer by mere inches, bounced off the 15-foot wall and away from Laureano.

Laureano barehanded the ball in center and fired a one-hopper to Matt Chapman, who placed a great tag on Bogaerts’ left elbow for the out.

As they did on Monday night, the Red Sox challenged the call to no avail. Bogaerts pounded his right arm in disgust because he had hesitated coming out of the batter’s box and again when he was running around second base.

Player of the game: Mike Fiers 

The stunning throw preserved a win for Fiers, who pitched six innings for a second straight outing. He allowed five hits, walked none and struck out three. Fiers threw 57 of his 81 pitches for strikes and used an assortment of pitches. He threw 32 fastballs (39.5 percent), 21 curveballs (25.9 percent), 15 sliders (18.5 percent) and 13 changeups (16.0 percent). 

Oakland starters have allowed just one run in the last 38.2 innings. 

Bullpen: Lights out 

Ryan Buchter gave up a two-out double in the seventh, but struck out three batters, including all three left-handers he faced. Lou Trivino continued his hot start and retired the Red Sox on 11 pitches in the eighth. Treinen gave up a walk after the Laureano play, but struck out Brock Holt to end the game. 

The Oakland bullpen gave up two hits and struck out six in three innings. 

Offense: One run was enough 

The A’s needed only a run to win the game and they got it from Chapman in the bottom of the first inning. Chapman took the seventh pitch he saw from Red Sox starter Chris Sale and deposited it over the left field wall for his third homer of the season. The fastball came in belt-high at 88.8 mph and exited at a velocity of 103.0 mph. 

Sale did not make any more mistakes. He allowed only one runner to reach second base for the rest of his outing. Brandon Workman and Ryan Brasier worked the seventh and eighth inning, respectively.

Defense: Kendrys Morales shows off his skills at first

Morales made two key defensive plays. With one out and Rafael Devers on first base, Morales snagged a pick-off throw from catcher Josh Phegley that kept Devers at first base. The play turned out to be important because Mitch Moreland singled to right field a batter later.

In the fifth inning, Morales picked a one-hopper from Chapman that prevented the leadoff batter to reach.

Morales has filled in capably for Gold Glover Matt Olson.

WP: Mike Fiers (2-1, 3.00) 

LP: Chris Sale (0-2, 8.00) 

S: Blake Treinen (3, 0.00) 

Time: 2:42 

Attendance: 12,721  

Record: 5-3 


Athletics blank Angels for first win of 2019

The Oakland Athletics returned to the friendly confines of Oakland Coliseum on Thursday afternoon for their second Opening Day of the 2019 season.

Mike Fiers and three relievers made sure it was a winning one by combining on a three-hitter to lead the Athletics to a 4-0 victory over the Los Angeles Angels and their first win of the season.

Player of the game: Mike Fiers

Fiers rebounded from a rough Opening Day start in Tokyo with six strong innings. He allowed only one hit and walked three. Fiers struck out only two, but threw first strikes to 14 of 21 batters.

Play of the game: Chapman 6-3 double play

Fiers was in control throughout the game and ran into trouble only once. With one out in the fifth inning and Oakland leading 3-0, Tommy La Stella doubled over the head of center fielder Ramon Laureano. Former Athletic Jonathan Lucroy then drew a four-pitch walk. But Fiers got out of the pressure-pack situation when Peter Bourjos lined a one-hopper to Platinum Glover Matt Chapman, who snagged it, stepped on third and threw across the diamond to complete the double play.

Offense: Just enough

Oakland provided all the offense Fiers would need in the second inning. Jurickson Profar led off with a triple off losing pitcher Trevor Cahill and scored on the next pitch when Chad Pinder delivered a sacrifice fly to center field.

The A’s scored their second run in the third inning. With one out, Robbie Grossman singled and stole second. Chapman worked a six-pitch walk. Stephen Piscotty lined a double to shallow left field on the first pitch he saw to score Grossman.

Marcus Semien continued his hot start with his first home run in the fourth inning. Khris Davis connected on his second homer in the sixth inning to complete the scoring. 

Defense: Solid

The hit by La Stella in the fifth inning might have been an out if Ramon Laureano had gotten a better read on the ball. He broke in before realizing the ball was hit with much more authority.

Laureano was charged with an error in the eighth inning when he misplayed a single by Mike Trout that allowed the two runners to advance a base.

Otherwise, the A’s played solid defense. Chapman started two double plays that snuffed Angels’ rally before it can begin.

Bullpen: As advertised

Lou Trivino, Joakim Soria and Blake Treinen completed the shutout with one inning apiece. Trivino walked one and struck out one. Soria allowed two two-out hits. Treinen needed just seven pitches to finish off the Angels.

WP: Mike Fiers (1-1, 5.00)

LP: Trevor Cahill (0-1, 6.00)

Time: 2:18

Attendance: 22,691

Record: 1-2