Instant Replay: Ninth-inning blasts power A's past Mariners in thriller

Instant Replay: Ninth-inning blasts power A's past Mariners in thriller

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SEATTLE — Headed for another meltdown that looked all too familiar, the A’s instead provided fans a welcome plot twist.

After blowing a three-run lead in the seventh, the A’s roared back with five runs in the ninth and rang up a 9-6 victory over the Mariners to snap their four-game losing streak.

All signs pointed to the kind of collapse that’s been a theme for the A’s on this six-game road trip, after Seattle rallied from a 4-1 deficit to tie the game in the seventh. Kyle Seager then homered off Ryan Madson in the eighth to put Seattle ahead 5-4.

But Matt Joyce, who has done damage offensively throughout this trip, drilled a two-run homer off Steve Cishek to put the A’s back ahead, and Mark Canha added a three-run shot for emphasis off Marc Rzepczynski for a 9-5 lead.

They wound up working a lot harder than should have been necessary, but the A’s finally pocketed their first win on this six-game trip that wraps up Wednesday.

The A’s would probably like to just skip the seventh inning and proceed to the eighth Wednesday. They’ve surrendered leads in the seventh on three different occasions this trip.

They led 4-1 Tuesday and were trying to work out of a bases-loaded one-out jam. But a potential double-play grounder slipped under the glove of third baseman Ryon Healy for an error that allowed two runs to score. Then, in what seemed an omen for another ‘L’ coming their way, they had an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play wiped out by a replay reversal, and Seattle scored the tying run on the play.

But, trailing by a run after Seager’s homer, the A’s instead dug their heels in and authored a refreshing new ending.

Starting pitching report:
Andrew Triggs put the A’s in position to win with six innings of one-run ball. He surrendered Nelson Cruz’s home run on his third batter of the game, then the Mariners got nothing more off the right-hander, who came in tied for third in the American League in wins. He left with a 4-1 lead but was denied his sixth victory. Triggs allowed just four hits, walking two and striking out four.

Bullpen report:
Healy’s error was the glaring turning point of the Mariners’ three-run game-tying rally, but the relief corps again played a part in squandering that lead. Ryan Dull allowed two singles (one an infield job) and a wild pitch, and Daniel Coulombe hit Jarrod Dyson on a 1-2 pitch to aid that seventh-inning rally for the home team. Madson gave up the go-ahead homer in the eighth. Handed a four-run lead in the ninth, Casilla gave up a run and had to work hard before nailing down the victory.

At the plate:
Having lived and died with the long ball most of this season, the A’s shifted gears in a fourth inning rally that extended a 2-1 lead. Canha and Stephen Vogt began the inning with back-to-back doubles to score a run. Then Adam Rosales bunted Vogt to third and Josh Phegley singled him home for a 4-1 lead. Oakland didn’t completely go away from its bread and butter, as Healy crushed a two-run homer into the second deck in left to get them on the board in the second.

They trailed 5-4 entering the ninth. Rajai Davis led off with a pinch single and Joyce then hammered his go-ahead two-run shot to right. Joyce has three homers and seven RBI in five games on this trip. Canha, who started in center field, was 3-for-5 with the three-run homer.

In the field:
Healy’s error was the A’s 36th, adding to the major league-high total. They did get a lift behind the plate from Phegley, who threw out two would-be base stealers at second over the first three innings.

Attendance:
The announced crowd was 13,955.

Up next:
Jesse Hahn (1-2, 2.74) could use a little more help from his friends. His season run support of 2.74 per game is third lowest in the AL. He’ll oppose Christian Bergman (0-1, 4.15) in Wednesday’s 7:10 p.m. series finale

 

Lowrie's big hit sparks A's, gets road trip started right

Lowrie's big hit sparks A's, gets road trip started right

NEW YORK — Jed Lowrie is the counterpoint to the A’s home run-crazed offensive attack.

Sure, the A’s switch-hitting second baseman can muscle up and clear the fence. But Lowrie’s approach is more about spraying base hits all around and using the whole field. He was at it again in Friday’s 4-1 A’s victory over the Yankees, going 3-for-4 and delivering an RBI single that snapped a scoreless tie in the eighth.

“I always have to carry his glove out to second for him because he’s always on base,” shortstop Adam Rosales said. “He looks really good at the plate right now, and he’s kind of just putting us on his back. It’s contagious to see a guy like that doing so well.”

Lowrie bumped his average up to .310 with Friday’s game. Until he grounded out in the sixth, he’d notched hits in seven consecutive at-bats dating back to Tuesday night. That streak fell one shy of the A’s record for most consecutive hits. Three players share the record at eight — Josh Reddick (in 2016), Dave Magadan (1997) and Brent Gates (1994).

“It’s all about the work,” said Lowrie, whose 15 doubles are tied for third in the AL. “Everything comes together when you’re seeing it well. I’m seeing it well but the approach hasn’t changed.”

With two runners aboard and two out in the eighth, Lowrie punched an RBI single to right off Tyler Clippard for the game’s first run. It was the breakthrough the A’s needed after they’d struck out 13 times in seven innings against Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka. Khris Davis followed Lowrie’s hit by beating out an infield single to score another run. Then Stephen Vogt added a two-run homer in top of the ninth to make it 4-0, and that provided some cushion as closer Santiago Casilla gave up a run and made things tenser than they should have been in the bottom half.

Davis, the most fearsome hitter in Oakland’s lineup, is thrilled to have a productive Lowrie batting in front of him as the No. 3 man.

“Somebody’s gotta hit .300,” Davis said. “All year he’s been our most consistent hitter and best hitter. I hope he keeps going.”

The A’s have won four in a row at Yankee Stadium dating back to last year. It’s their longest winning streak in the Bronx since a four-gamer at the old stadium in 2006. And it was a good way to begin a seven-game road trip for the A’s, who came in with the league’s worst road record at 6-15.

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Rosales had puffiness under his right eye and said he was anticipating a shiner after his hard head-first dive into third base didn’t go as planned in the eighth. He scraped up his face pretty good after going first to third on an errant pickoff throw and taking a hard dive into third, only to find the dirt wasn’t giving.

After addressing reporters, Rosales said he was on his way to find an ice pack.

Manaea's 'big mentality switch' keys success in first Yankee Stadium start

Manaea's 'big mentality switch' keys success in first Yankee Stadium start

NEW YORK — Dealt another dose of injury bad news Friday, the A’s got to temporarily push those thoughts aside once Sean Manaea took the mound.

The big lefty shined in his first career outing at Yankee Stadium, matching Masahiro Tanaka pitch for pitch and spinning his best start of the season in a 4-1 A’s victory.

After he walked leadoff man Brett Gardner on four pitches in the first, it conjured up memories of his five-walk outing two starts ago at Seattle. But from that point on Manaea locked in, allowing just four hits over seven innings and striking out eight. Not a single Yankee advanced past second base against him.

“He was out there chucking,” A’s left fielder Khris Davis said. “He’s got that Chris Sale stuff where people are swinging and missing in the zone. It’s great to see that.”

The day began with news that Opening Night starter Kendall Graveman and fellow starter Jesse Hahn both are likely headed to the disabled list with shoulder and triceps strains, respectively. It continues the cycle of injury woes for the A’s, who have lost every starter except Andrew Triggs to at least one stint on the 10-day DL. With two-fifths of the rotation down for an unknown period of time, Manaea takes on an even more significant role.

“For a young guy we’ve leaned on him pretty hard since he’s gotten here, but now probably a little bit more so,” manager Bob Melvin said.

Yet no matter what is unfolding elsewhere on the pitching staff, the challenge for Manaea always stems from within. He’s talked often this season about the need to be mentally tougher and more aggressive attacking the strike zone. After the leadoff walk to Gardner, Manaea (3-3) said a switch flipped inside of him.

“I was thinking that these guys weren’t gonna hit me at all, and that I just needed to throw strikes and trust the defense,” he said. “I know I can get these guys out. To me it was a big mentality switch, and just believing in myself and trusting everything.”

Tanaka, who has disappointed this season to the tune of a 6.56 ERA entering Friday, put it together against Oakland and rang up a career-high 13 strikeouts without a single walk. But Manaea was more than up to the task, keeping New York off the board until the A’s scored twice in the eighth to snap a scoreless tie off former Athletic Tyler Clippard, who relieved Tanaka to start that inning.

“He was pitching with a lot of confidence, and that’s what I love to see,” A’s catcher Stephen Vogt said of Manaea. “He wants the ball, wanted to keep going out there. It was awesome.”