Led by a second consecutive late-inning rally, the Oakland Athletics netted their sixth-consecutive Cactus League win Sunday afternoon.
Trailing 7-1 heading into the bottom of the seventh, the A’s posted back-to-back four-spots on their way to claiming a 9-8 victory over the Chicago Cubs.
The Oakland offense, which has developed a knack for late runs this spring, has now scored 12 runs combined after the fifth inning in its last two games.
Manager Bob Melvin said that is something he’s spoken with the young hitters about:
“Usually when the regulars come out it’s time for the second group to make an impact and, man, the at-bats got really good. … That’s the next wave of guys, so it’s nice to see these guys come in, take it seriously, and win some games for you.”
After being held hitless through 3-2/3 by Jake Arrieta and Koji Uehara, Yonder Alonso broke up an early no-hit bid with a swinging bunt just inside the dirt basepath on the third base line. In his next at-bat, Alonso made good on the 70-foot single with a 400-foot bomb to right-center.
“It was about as short and far as you can hit ’em. One was short to left and one was long to right, so he was using the whole field today.”
The sixth-inning jack got the A’s, who had scored a run on a pair of walks and a sacrifice fly in the third, back into within striking distance at 7-4. After adding another tally on a Franklin Barreto triple and Alejandro De Aza RBI groundout, the A’s ended the sixth down 7-5.
Oakland continued the attack in the seventh when the first six hitters each reached, including back-to-back bases loaded walks from Matt Chapman and Matt Olson.
Chris Parmelee, who contributed to the rally with a single, joined Alonso as the only A’s to post a multi-hit game — two apiece.
All the late offense would have been pointless, however, had the bullpen not found a way to stop the bleeding.
After the fifth, a quartet of A’s relievers combined to silence a Chicago offense, led by a 2-for-3, two-RBI performance from Kyle Schwarber and a 2-for-3, three-RBI day from Kris Bryant, though it had removed many of its starters in the fourth.
The skipper pointed to outings from young Opening Day hopefuls Frankie Montas, who picked up the win allowing a run in two innings of work, and Bobby Wahl, who tossed a scoreless ninth for the save.
“Frankie Montas was impressive again. Maybe didn’t have his best stuff — didn’t have his best breaking ball today — but he got away with his fastball, got two innings in and did a nice job for us. Every time we see him, I think he impresses us more and more. … For Wahl, it’s no easy deal to come in in a one-run game, and guys are battling, and first and second nobody out, and you get out of that, it was impressive to see him work in the ninth inning.”
Next up for the green and gold is a trip to Goodyear and a matchup with the Cincinnati Reds. The A’s swung their way to a 12-5 win in the only previous meeting of the two clubs this spring.
Kalama Hines is SFBay’s Oakland Athletics beat writer. Follow @SFBay and @HineSight_2020 on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of A’s baseball.