Chris Davis, Orioles make A’s pay in extras


Baltimore first baseman Chris Davis made Oakland reliever Arnold Leon pay dearly.

With a full count and the bases loaded, Davis hit a 93 mph fastball that was low and away, far and out over the right field wall in the 10th inning Wednesday, granting the win to the Orioles.

With one out, the pitch selection was proper, the chance to induce a hard ground ball on a swing with contact and the likely double play, or a strikeout, since the pitch was where it needed to be.

But Davis, a slugger among sluggers, made Leon pay, though no mistake was really made.

This story has been updated with post-game quotes and additional material from the A’s clubhouse.

The Orioles trailed into sixth inning, Oakland scoring three runs in the first two innings, but tied the score midway through the tilt with a two spot to end the first two-thirds of the game.

By the seventh inning, things were looking bleak for Oakland, who was playing solid defense but had managed only three runs. Their offense was clearly off kilter.

Correction 9:46 p.m.
This story has been updated to reflect two incorrectly stated game statistics, that Arnold Leon pitched the 10th inning for Oakland and that the A’s recorded eight hits instead of three.

But there was an interesting decision in the final inning which will likely be questioned for some time. Probably by Oakland executives, and certainly by national media.

A’s manager Bob Melvin decided to intentionally walk outfielder Gerardo Parra, who’s hitting .200 this season, to get to the heart of Baltimore’s order.

Which is one of the most dangerous in baseball. Melvin explained:

“With (Zach) Britton on the mound, we’re trying to cut it off the best we can.”

Peculiar, to be mild. Nearly insane, to be more accurate.

Especially since Kendall Graveman (ND, 6-7, 3.90 ERA) pitched fairly well but was yanked in the sixth inning after allowing two runs. He threw only 79 pitches, managing the potent Baltimore lineup well.

And Melvin was absolutely pleased with what he saw.

But while Melvin cites Britton as the reason the A’s loaded the bases on purpose, Britton says he didn’t think he was going to throw another pitch Wednesday:

“If he had me in for one more inning, we would have been in trouble.”

Oakland’s bullpen did their job, too, but the offense never got going after the first eight at bats.

It’s not out of the question that the lack of offense was a larger part of the reason that Melvin made the call to walk Parra, though he wouldn’t say it, possibly because it’d risk throwing his players under the bus.

But the decision, especially with Parra, a guy who’s played only five games this season, is still a head-scratcher.

Baltimore starter Wei-Yin Chin (ND, 5-6, 3.32 ERA) hasn’t been feeling normal since the All-Star break, and through a translator, said that he has been letting his emotions get the best of him.

He noted control issues, particularly in the fourth inning, but the A’s only got two runs off of him.

With catcher Josh Phegley and outfielder Mark Canha on base, shortstop Marcus Semien doubled to left and knocked in both.

Semien scored Oakland’s first run just one inning prior, too, on a sacrifice fly hit by third baseman Brett Lawrie.

He’s been getting on the right side of a hot streak lately, with six RBI in August, after tallying seven over the previous 68 games.

The young infielder has shown flashes bright enough to make one think he’s a budding superstar, but has been streaky enough to make the calmest man irate and filled with angst.

Now that defensive inconsistencies he dealt with early in the season have been worked on, and fixed for the moment, Semien has been getting back to what got him to the majors at a young age.

Third baseman Danny Valencia, who the A’s acquired off of waivers Monday, made his first appearance with the club and got one hit in five at bats, adding some reliable defense at the hot corner as well.

The A’s fall to 48-61, and the Orioles improve to 55-52, trying to gain some traction in the ultra-competitive American League East.

Follow @SFBay and @LeskiwSFBay on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of the Oakland Athletics.

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