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 


Chapman hits walk-off HR in 12th, Athletics win 4-3

OAKLAND, CA – MAY 10: Matt Chapman #26 of the Oakland Athletics swings and watches the flight of his ball as he hits a solo walk-off home run to defeat the Cleveland Indians 4-3 in the bottom of the 12th inning at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on May 10, 2019 in Oakland, California. The Athletics won the game 4-3. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Matt Chapman can add a walk-off homer to his growing list of achievements. 

Chapman’s blast leading off the bottom of the 12th inning gave the Oakland Athletics a 4-3 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Friday night at the Oakland Coliseum. 

It was Chapman’s first career walk-off hit and he accomplished it against one of the best pitchers in Brad Hand. 

Hand came in with 10 saves and a minuscule 1.08 ERA. Batters were slashing just .155/.234/.207 with 24 strikeouts, including 18 by right-handed batters. 

But Hand mislocated a 3-2 slider on the inner part of the plate and Chapman crushed it over the left field wall. The ball traveled a projected distance of 427 feet. 

Joakim Soria pitched two perfect innings to pick up his first win of the season. After a rough start, Soria has given up just one run in his last 12 innings. Hand suffered his second loss.

Oakland received another solid start from Frankie Montas. Montas allowed two runs on eight hits, walked one and struck out seven. 

Montas threw 64 of 97 pitches for strikes. He generated 15 swinging strikes. The 26-year-old’s ERA stands at 2.78 after eight starts. 

Cody Anderson made his second start for Cleveland and lasted just three innings. The 28-year-old allowed two runs on three hits, walked three and struck out three. 

After being shut out by the other Ohio team on Thursday afternoon, Oakland scored a run off Anderson in the opening inning.

Marcus Semien led off with a double and advanced to third on a ground out by Jurickson Profar. After Chapman popped out, Anderson gifted Oakland a run on a wild pitch. 

Montas couldn’t deliver a shutdown inning as the Indians scored two runs to take the lead. 

Former Athletic Carlos Gonzalez opened with a double and scored on another double by Jake Bauers. Bauers scored on a double-play grounder by Kevin Plawecki a batter later. 

Anderson couldn’t deliver a shutdown inning either as Oakland tied the game with a two-run rally. Robbie Grossman doubled and scored on a single by Josh Phegley. Phegley leads the AL with 22 RBIs. 

The game stay tied until the bottom of the sixth when Ramon Laureano took Neil Ramirez deep for his fourth homer of the season. 

Ramirez threw an 84.1 mph slider over the outer part of the plate and Laureano crushed it over the center field wall. The ball traveled a project distance of 408 feet.

OAKLAND, CA – MAY 10: Ramon Laureano #22 of the Oakland Athletics trots around the bases after hitting a solo home run against the Cleveland Indians in the bottom of the six inning of a Major League Baseball game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on May 10, 2019 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Lou Trivino relieved Montas in the seventh, but could not deliver a shutdown inning as he often does.  

Plawecki led off with a double, advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Leonys Martin and scored on a sacrifice fly by Francisco Lindor. Plawecki slid home just ahead of a perfect throw from Grossman in medium left. 

Trivino gave up a single to Jason Kipnis and a walk to Jose Ramirez, but got Carlos Santana to fly out to keep the game tied. 

Oakland couldn’t push a run across despite leadoff singles in both the eighth and the ninth. 

Ryan Buchter, Blake Treinen and Soria followed Trivino and retired all 15 batters they faced on 52 pitches. 

Treinen passed Hall-of-Famer Rollie Fingers to set a new Oakland A’s reliever record with 32 consecutive scoreless innings at home. 

The Indians bullpen retired nine batters in a row before Chapman’s heroics off Hand. 

WP: Joakim Soria (1-2, 4.66) LP: Brad Hand (2-2, 1.62) 

Time: 3:41

Record 18-22

Attendance: 36,913


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


Athletics swept by Blue Jays despite Laureano stealing a homer

OAKLAND, CA – APRIL 21: Ramon Laureano #22 of the Oakland Athletics leaps at the wall to take a home run away from Teoscar Hernandez #37 of the Toronto Blue Jays in the top of the second inning of a Major League baseball game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on April 21, 2019 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

It was a lost weekend at home for the Oakland Athletics. 

Justin Smoak went 4-for-5 with a homer and two RBIs to lead the Toronto Blue Jays to a 5-4 victory over the Athletics Sunday afternoon at the Oakland Coliseum. The Jays swept the weekend series by a cumulative score of 20-6. 

Smoak was smoking hot in the series with seven hits, four runs and six RBIs. The pitching staff for Toronto allowed only three runs in the first 25 innings before Oakland managed to put up a three-spot in the eighth. 

Daniel Hudson was credited with the win as starter Aaron Sanchez was forced to leave after the fourth inning with a broken fingernail. Ken Giles was rocky, but picked up his seventh save. 

Oakland starter Brett Anderson suffered his first loss of the season. He left the game before Sanchez with a left ankle injury after allowing two runs on four hits in 2.2 innings. Yusmeiro Petit led a parade of six relievers. 

It’s hard to top what Freddy Galvis did Saturday when he caught a pop up over the shoulder with his barehand for Toronto, But Ramon Laureano did just that in the second inning. 

Smoak started the sequence of events with the first of his four singles. Teoscar Hernandez followed by drilling a ball over the center field wall. But Laureano leapt over the eight-foot wall and caught the ball to rob Hernandez of a homer. The catch would have been on ESPN’s Top 10 on its own. But that’s just the start.

Laureano’s return throw sailed halfway between first base and the Jays dugout. But Nick Hundley was backing up and threw Smoak out at second trying to advance for the best 8-2-4 double play you’ll ever see.

But Toronto would not be denied in the third. Rowdy Tellez led off with a single. Danny Jansen walked. Both runners advanced on Billy McKinney’s sacrifice bunt.

Alen Henson drove in Tellez with a single to left. Jansen was thrown out at home trying to score on Galvis’ grounder. After a double steal, Henson scored on Randal Grichuk’s infield single. 

The play was a double whammy as Anderson sprained his left ankle when he attempted to make a play on Grichuk’s hit down the third base line. Anderson, one of only two dependable starting pitchers for Oakland, departed after throwing two practice tosses. Petit came in and retired Smoak for the only time in the contest on a pop out to shallow center.

Oakland pulled a run back in the fourth. Marcus Semien led off with a double. Matt Chapman walked after falling behind 0-2. Khris Davis loaded the bases with a single to center. But the rally fizzled as Morales grounded into a run-scoring 4-6-3 double play.

Sanchez left after the inning and was replaced by Hudson, who pitched 1.2 scoreless innings. 

The Jays scored a third run in the sixth. Brandon Drury singled to center. After advancing two bases on an errant pickoff throw by Ryan Buchter, Drury scored on a sacrifice fly from Tellez. 

Justin Smoak provided Toronto with much-needed insurance runs with a two-run homer off J.B. Wendelken in the seventh. 

Oakland finally got to the vaunted Toronto bullpen in the eighth. Laureano led off with a walk against Ryan Tepera. After a groundout, Robbie Grossman walked. Laureano scored on Semien’s single to left-center. After a wild pitch, Grossman scored on a sacrifice fly by Chapman. 

Giles replaced Tepera and Davis greeted him with a single on the first pitch to left-center that scored Semien. Davis reached second after Hernandez misplayed the ball. The rally came up short when Giles got Morales out on a drive to the warning track in right. 

Stephen Piscotty started the ninth with a single to Galvis. Galvis injured himself on the play, but stayed in the game for two more batters. After a foul out, Laureano singled sharply to left. But Josh Phegley struck out and Grossman popped out to Richard Ureña, who replaced Galvis two pitches earlier. 

WP: Daniel Hudson (1-1, 4.66) 

LP: Brett Anderson (3-1, 3.04) 

S: Ken Giles (7, 2.38) 

Time: 3:19 

Attendance: 16,015 

Record: 11-13 


Athletics rally from 6-1 down to beat Rangers 8-6, Davis homers again

Once Khris Davis gets on a roll, he really gets on a roll. 

Davis crushed a go-ahead home run in the eighth inning and the Oakland Athletics rallied from five runs down to beat the Texas Rangers 8-6 on Friday night at Globe Life Park in Arlington. It was Davis’ MLB-leading 10th homer and fifth in three games. 

Ramon Laureano also homered for the A’s, who won their fourth in a row. 

Lou Trivino pitched 1.1 innings to pick up his first win. Chris Martin gave up the homer to Davis and suffered his first loss. Blake Treinen got four outs for his fifth save. 

After rallying from eight runs down in the seventh to beat the Rangers last July, the A’s had to come back from only five down in the sixth this time around. 

Shin-Soo Choo and Logan Forsythe hit back-to-back doubles off starter Mike Fiers to lead off the bottom of the first. Elvis Andrus drove Choo in with a single. Nomar Mazara plated Forsythe with a ground out. 

Oakland pulled a run back with a two-out rally off starter Drew Smyly in the second. Stephen Piscotty singled to center. Jurickson Profar, in his first at-bat in Arlington as a visitor, scored Piscotty with a double down the left field line. 

The Rangers took a 3-1 lead on Asdrubal Cabrera’s fourth homer of the season. They added three more in the fifth as Andrus hit a three-run homer off a mislocated fastball to right-center field. 

Drew Smyly was cruising until the sixth. Josh Phegley opened the inning with a single. Marcus Semien and Mark Canha both walked to load the bases. This was the end of the line for Smyly, who was making his third start since returning from Tommy John Surgery. 

Former Athletic Jesse Chavez came on and Matt Chapman greeted him with a two-run single down the right field line.

Davis followed with a grounder to Cabrera at third. Cabrera threw home, but Canha scored when the ball hit him in the back. Chapman tried to advance to third on the play, but was thrown out by Isiah Kiner-Falefa.

Pinder hit into a force out. But Piscotty came through with a run-scoring double to make it a one-run game.

The A’s tied the game on Laureano’s lead-off homer in the seventh off former Athletic Shawn Kelley. Kelley left a fastball belt-high on the outer part of the plate and Laureano launched it into the Rangers bullpen in right-center field. 

The moment of the game occurred with one out in the top of the eighth and came courtesy of Davis. Martin tried to steal a strike with a curve, but hung it in the middle of the zone and Davis crushed it over the center field fence. The ball exited at a velocity of 106.2 mph and traveled a projected distance of 426 feet. 

Davis continues his mastery of Rangers pitching.  In 207 career at-bats, Davis now has 29 homers and 66 RBIs. In 112 career at-bats at Globe Life Park, Davis now has 16 homers and 34 RBIs. 

The A’s added an insurance run on three consecutive singles to open the ninth. 

WP: Lou Trivino (1-0, 1.64) 

LP: Chris Martin (0-1, 5.40) 

S: Blake Treinen (5, 0.87) 

Time: 3:16 

Attendance: 24,817 

Record: 10-8 


A’s lose road opener to Astros

Collin McHugh pitched six strong innings, and Carlos Correa hit his first homer of the season to lead the Houston Astros to a 3-2 victory over the Oakland Athletics to win their home opener on Friday night at Minute Maid Park.

McHugh allowed one run on three hits, walked three and struck out four on 94 pitches. The 31-year-old kept the Athletics off balance with his assortment of pitches. McHugh threw 35 sliders, 33 four-seamers, 17 cutters, seven curves and two changeups. 

Frankie Montas started for Oakland and suffered his first loss of the season. He allowed two runs on seven hits, walked three and struck out five in five laborious innings. But Montas managed to keep the A’s in the game by stranding seven baserunners. 

Ramon Laureano was one of the few bright spots for Oakland. He went 4-for-4 with two RBIs against the team that drafted him in the 16th round of the 2014 MLB Draft. The rest of the team was a combined 3-for-29 (.103). 

Oakland failed to capitalize on a golden scoring opportunity in the third inning. Laureano led off with a double. Nick Hundley struck out. Robbie Grossman walked. After Matt Chapman flew out, Stephen Piscotty walked to load the bases. But Khris Davis struck out on a nasty slider to end the inning. 

The Astros would take the lead in their half of the inning. Tony Kemp walked with one out, moved to second on a groundout, and moved to third on Jose Altuve’s infield single. Alex Bregman stepped up to the plate and lined a single to center to score Kemp. Bregman continues to haunt the A’s. The 24-year-old came into the game slashing .346/.451/.624 with eight homers and 31 RBIs in 133 at-bats against Oakland. 

The A’s did not waste any time and tied the game in the top of the fourth. Kendrys Morales led off with a walk, advanced to third on two groundouts, and scored on Laureano’s second hit of the night.   

However, the game would not be tie for long. Correa got a hanging slider over the heart of the plate and launched it over the left-center field wall for a leadoff homer. The Astros had a chance to break the game open when they loaded the bases with one out, but Montas was able to induce 2017 World Series MVP George Springer to hit into a 6-4-3 double play. 

The Astros scored their third run in the seventh. Springer led off with a single off J.B. Wendelken. Altuve ripped the first pitch he saw into the gap in left-center field. Laureano misplayed the carom off the wall and that allowed Springer to sprint home without a throw. 

Oakland managed to make it exciting in the ninth. Morales greeted Astros closer Roberto Osuna with an opposite-field single and was pinch-ran for with Mark Canha. Marcus Semien and Jurickson Profar struck out. Laureano was the last chance for the A’s. 

On the 1-1 pitch, Osuna threw a 96.8 mph fastball over the head of Laureano and to the backstop. The ruling on the field by home plate umpire Quinn Wolcott was that the ball had hit Laureano. 

Astros manager A.J. Hinch challenged that the ball hit Laureano’s bat instead and should have been a foul ball. Laureano had raised the bat in order to protect himself. 

After a long review, New York determined that the ball hit nothing but air and was ruled a wild pitch. Laureano returned to the batter’s box and grounded a single to center on the next pitch to score Canha, who had alertly moved to second on the wild pitch. 

But that would be all for Oakland as Osuna retired pinch-hitter Chad Pinder on a ground out to end the contest. 

WP: Collin McHugh (1-1, 2.45) 

LP: Frankie Montas (1-1, 2.45) 

S: Roberto Osuna (2, 3.00) 

Time: 3:03 

Attendance: 43,165

Record: 6-5


Piscotty, Laureano power Athletics over Red Sox

The Oakland Athletics will be a team to be reckoned with this season. Just ask the defending world champions. 

Stephen Piscotty went 4-for-4 with a home run and five RBIs, Ramon Laureano threw yet another runner out, and the Athletics took three out of four from the Boston Red Sox with a 7-3 victory on Thursday afternoon at the Oakland Coliseum.

After going hitless in 16 at-bats in Wednesday’s loss to Boston, the first four Oakland batters went a combined 8-for-17 with four runs scored and seven RBIs. Piscotty hit a three-run homer in the third and got a gift two-run double in the fourth. 

Brett Anderson earned his second win of the season. He allowed three runs on eight hits, four walks and struck out three in 5.1 innings. Eduardo Rodriguez gave up six runs on eight hits in 3.2 innings to take his second loss. 

The Red Sox scored first for the first time in this series. 

Mookie Betts led off with a single to right field. Andrew Benintendi laid down a bunt towards Mark Canha at first base, who threw late to second for the force out. World Series MVP Steve Pearce made his season debut and struck out. J.D. Martinez singled on the first pitch he saw to load the bases. 

Anderson lost command of the strike zone temporarily and forced in two runs by walking two of the next three batters. He limited the damage by getting Eduardo Nunez to foul out between the walks and Christian Vazquez to ground into a force out. 

The Red Sox added their third and final run on Martinez’s solo homer in the third inning. It counted for only one run because left fielder Robbie Grossman threw out the previous batter, Pearce, as he was attempting to stretch a single walk into a double. Pearce had lined the ball off the base of the left field wall. Grossman played the carom and threw high to Jurickson Profar, who caught the ball above his head and applied the tag on Pearce. 

The A’s tied the game in their half of the inning. Josh Phegley led off with a double. After Grossman flied out, Marcus Semien walked. Rodriguez then threw a 2-0 fastball right down Broadway to Piscotty, who launched it over the center field wall for his second homer of the season. 

Boston loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the fourth, but Anderson struck Pearce out to end the threat. 

Oakland went ahead for good in the bottom of the frame. 

Laureano walked with one out. Phegley lined a one-hopper to third that handcuffed Nunez for a single. Grossman drove Laureano in with an opposite-field double. After Semien flew out to shallow center for the second out, Piscotty hit a fly ball to deep right-center field that should have ended the inning. But there was a miscommunication between Jackie Bradley Jr. and Betts and the ball dropped on the warning track and over the wall for a ground-rule double. Rodiguez’s day would be over one batter later. 

The A’s scored their final run when they hit three consecutive singles after there were two outs in the sixth. 

Oakland Platinum Glover Matt Chapman, who didn’t start after getting hit by a pitch on his wrist Wednesday, entered the game in the eighth as a defensive replacement and made an immediate impact. With one out and a runner on first, Rafael Devers chopped one to Chapman, who dove to his left and threw to second in time for the force out. 

The defensive play of the game, however, belonged once again to Laureano in the ninth. 

Betts led off with a walk off Liam Hendriks. Benintendi then hit a flair to shallow center. Betts saw the ball was going to drop and tried to advance to third.

But Laureano raced in, gloved the ball on the second hop and in one fluid motion threw to Chapman, who backhanded the ball and placed the tag on Betts’ left elbow just before his fingers reached the bag. The Red Sox once again challenged the play to no avail.

Betts should have stayed at second because the Red Sox needed one more baserunner to bring the tying run up. But he made the perfect read. Betts was already halfway to third when Laureano gloved the ball. He would have been safe if it wasn’t Laureano throwing and Chapman on the receiving end.

Lou Trivino pitched .2 innings for his fourth hold of the season. He relieved Anderson in the sixth and struck out both Betts and Benintendi looking with a runner on first. Joakim Soria pitched a clean seventh. Hendriks pitched the final two innings, saving manager Bob Melvin from having to unleash Blake Treinen. 

After completing a 6-4 homestand, including two games in Japan, the A’s embark on a 10-game road trip, starting with Houston on Friday night. It will be sort of a homecoming for Laureano, who was drafted by the Astros in the 16th round of the 2014 MLB Draft and traded to Oakland after the 2017 season. 

WP: Brett Anderson (2-0, 2.38) 

LP: Eduardo Rodriguez (0-2, 12.38) 

Time: 3:16 

Attendance: 15,095 

Record: 6-4 


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 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