Melvin pleased to see A's 'find some grit' in comeback victory

Melvin pleased to see A's 'find some grit' in comeback victory

SEATTLE — When all was going against the A’s on Tuesday, they found a way to counter-punch.

On a wild night in which shaky bullpen work and a game-changing error nearly doomed them, A’s manager Bob Melvin was most pleased that his team found a way to overcome adversity and claim the kind of game that’s been snatched away from them too often.

“When you go through streaks like this, you’ve got to find some fight,” Melvin said after Oakland’s 9-6 win over the Mariners. “We’ve been losing games by a defensive play, one pitch, little things through this whole stretch. At some point you’ve got to overcome it and find some grit and do some good things late in games when we’re behind. We finally did it tonight. Hopefully this is something we can build on.”

To say the A’s are a work in progress is an understatement. Until they find a way to cut down on errors and tighten up their relief work, they’ll be challenged to keep opponents down after they jump ahead of them. But, unlike three previous games on this road trip when they relinquished leads in the late innings, they found a way to overcome their mistakes.

Matt Joyce provided the biggest swing of the game with a two-run homer off Steve Cishek in the top of the ninth that turned a 5-4 Oakland deficit into a 6-5 lead. Then Mark Canha added a three-run homer for cushion, which proved important when closer Santiago Casilla gave back a run in the bottom half.

But the consensus in the A’s clubhouse was that Rajai Davis’ leadoff single in the ninth was the spark for it all. Davis pinch-hit for Josh Phegley and singled to right-center. With the A’s biggest speed threat representing the tying run with no outs, Cishek had to split his attention between first base and the next hitter, Joyce.

“With Rajai on first, being a base stealer, I was pretty confident I was gonna get a heater to hit,” Joyce said. “He fell behind 2-0 there. He kind of had to throw a strike. He gave me a fastball, a good fastball over the plate to hit.”

Added Davis: “Me getting on base, I think it caused a little bit of a distraction. Now he’s gotta throw a strike, and Joycie was ready for it.”

Canha, drawing his first start of the season in center field, went 3-for-5 with his three-run shot to left-center. It was his first homer of the season after he was sent down to the minors April 15 and was just recalled on the most recent homestand. He’s now 7-for-14 over his past four games.

Though it was easy to forget about after the A’s let a 4-1 lead slip away, Phegley was a big factor early in the game. He threw out two runners trying steal second, including one as part of a strike-em-out, throw-em-out double play, and singled home a run to give the A’s a 4-1 lead in the fourth. Those caught base stealers helped propel Andrew Triggs to yet another impressive start. The right-hander threw six innings of oen-run ball, lowering his ERA to 2.12, which ranks in the top five in the American League.

Seattle’s three-run game-tying rally was aided by third baseman Ryon Healy’s two-run error, not to mention a replay overturn in which Jean Segura was ruled safe at first after it appeared the A’s had turned an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play to preserve a lead.

“I don’t know how that’s overturned,” Melvin said. “I really don’t, because it feels like we’ve been burned on that all year long. Just a lot of unlucky stuff. You’ve got to make your own breaks and you have to overcome it, and they did tonight.”

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.”

Manaea dazzles, A's offense comes on late to beat Yankees

Manaea dazzles, A's offense comes on late to beat Yankees

BOX SCORE

NEW YORK -- Masahiro Tanaka struck out a career-high 13 to rebound from the worst stretch of his major league career but wound up a hard-luck loser when reliever Tyler Clippard's wild pickoff throw sparked a go-ahead, two-run eighth inning in the Oakland Athletics' 4-1 win over the New York Yankees on Friday night.

Sean Manaea (3-3), starting because Kendall Graveman was scratched with a sore pitching shoulder, matched Tanaka and allowed four hits in seven innings with six strikeouts and a walk. Ryan Madson pitched a perfect eighth and New York loaded the bases with one out in the ninth against Santiago Casilla before Didi Gregorius hit a sacrifice fly and pinch-hitter Gary Sanchez popped out.

Tanaka (5-4) left with the game scoreless after allowing Adam Rosales' one-out single in the eighth, and Jed Lowrie and Khris Davis followed with run-scoring hits off Clippard. Stephen Vogt added a two-run homer in the ninth against Jonathan Holder.

With Aroldis Chapman sidelined by left shoulder inflammation and Dellin Betances moved from setup man to temporary closer, the Yankees' bullpen has stumbled of late.

Squaring his shoulders more than in recent starts, Tanaka allowed five hits, walked none and threw 76 of 111 pitches for strikes. He got 25 swings and misses - his most in the majors - and the usually undemonstrative 28-year-old tipped his cap to applauding fans while he walked to the dugout.

Tanaka was booed loudly in his previous home start, when he was chased by Houston after allowing three homers and eight runs in 1 2/3 innings. And he had been pounded for 14 runs over 4 2/3 innings in his previous two outings.

His return to form not surprisingly took place with Austin Romine behind the plate. Tanaka has a 2.21 ERA when pitching to Romine and a 12.27 ERA to Gary Sanchez, New York's No. 1 catcher.

Tanaka struck out eight of first 11 batters and nine of his opening 15. He fanned Mark Canha in a 10-pitch at-bat leading off the eighth, then was replaced after Rosales' hit to center.

Clippard threw past first baseman Chris Carter for an error that allowed Rosales to reach third, and Rajai Davis hit a two-hopper to third baseman Chase Headley, who threw to the plate in time for Romine to tag Rosales, who slid headfirst.

Matt Joyce, who had struck out his first three times up, drew a walk and Lowie singled to right as Rajai Davis came home and Joyce took third. Khris Davis grounded to Gregorius, who stopped the ball with a slide deep in the hole, and Davis just beat the shortstop's throw.

FLEET WEEK

The crowd of 39,044 included many sailors in their naval whites.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Athletics: Graveman and RHP Jesse Hahn are likely both headed to the DL with ailing shoulders. ... 1B Yonder Alonso missed his second straight start because of a sore right wrist, an injury sustained when hit by a pitch from Miami's Jarlin Garcia on Tuesday.

Yankees: A day after CF Jacoby Ellsbury went on the seven-day concussion DL, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said it was hard to predict when he will return . The medical staff was determining what Ellsbury can do. "It won't be much for a few days," he said. ... Chapman is to play catch Saturday, his first baseball activity since May 12.

UP NEXT

LHP CC Sabathia (4-2) pitches Saturday for the Yankees after winning consecutive starts for the first time since June 10 and 16 last year. RHP Jharel Cotton, 3-4 with a 5.68 ERA before he was optioned to Triple-A Nashville on May 11, will be recalled to start for Oakland. We was 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA in a pair of minor league starts.