As a flock of seagulls descended on the Coliseum late Sunday afternoon, the Oakland Athletics walked off 6-5 in the bottom of the eleventh behind a bases-loaded single by catcher Jonathan Lucroy.
Centerfielder Mark Canha was undoubtedly the player of the game, going 2-for-4 with a two-run homer and the game-tying RBI single in the bottom of the ninth. He also snared a running catch in the top of the tenth that prevented Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons from doubling, or possibly even tripling with one out.
Canha spoke on his performance:
“It was just a kind of roller coaster day. [I] had a bad read in the outfield too, and [did] a lot of good things, so … I’m happy with my day, and always happy to contribute.”
Looking for a series win against a divisional opponent for just the second time this season, Oakland started the scoring off in the bottom of the second. After Angels starter Andrew Heaney walked designated hitter Khris Davis, centerfielder Canha lined a 2-0 pitch just over the left-field scoreboard to give the A’s an early 2-0 lead.
The Angels did not take long to respond. In the top of the third, right fielder Chris Young launched an 0-1 pitch with one out from Daniel Mengden into the left field bleachers to cut the Oakland lead to 2-1.
Four batters later, with runners on first and second, designated hitter Albert Pujols hit a two-out single just under Canha’s outstretched glove, tying the game at 2-2.
Pujols led off the sixth by smashing an 0-1 Mengden (5-2/3 IP, 4 ER, 4.06 ERA) pitch that landed in almost the same spot as Young’s solo homer to give the Angels their first lead of the game at 3-2. Later in the inning, a wild pitch scored Simmons from third, and the Halos stretched their lead to 4-2.
Mengden’s afternoon ended after striking out the batter, catcher Martín Maldonado, for the second out of the sixth. He finished with six hits and four earned runs on 89 pitches, in five and two-thirds innings pitched.
Yusmeiro Petit, Mengden’s replacement out of the bullpen did not fare much better. Petit allowed the first three batters to reach base in the seventh inning. This culminated in an RBI single by Justin Upton, extending the Angels lead to 5-2.
Petit did get the next batter, Pujols, to ground into a double play. This prevented a big inning and limited the Angels to just one heading into the stretch.
The A’s were down but not out in the bottom of the seventh. Third baseman Jed Lowrie led off the inning with a double of the left field wall, and scored two batters later on a sacrifice fly by first baseman Matt Olson to cut the deficit to 5-3.
Heaney (8 IP, 3 ER, 3.64 ERA) had a solid outing for the Angels, finishing with three hits and three earned runs allowed on 106 pitches, in eight innings pitched.
In the bottom of the ninth, the A’s fought to come back against Angels closer Blake Parker. Marcus Semien smacked the first pitch he saw from Parker off the left field foul pole to cut the deficit to just one run, with nobody out in the inning.
Parker exited the game after walking Davis for his second walk of the inning, recording just one out. He was replaced by José Álvarez while still responsible for the runners on first and second. Álvarez struck out Olsen for the second out, and was replaced by Cam Bedrosian.
Bedrosian, as if on cue, allowed Canha to tie the game at 5-5 with a two-out single, giving all the dads in the crowd some free baseball. Manager Bob Melvin talked about this clutch hit:
“He [Canha] went through a little tough stretch, and has put together some really good at-bats here recently, and I think the homer helped him out too earlier in the game. Not the hardest hit in the world, the one that tied the game…but that’s where the most holes are.”
In the bottom of the eleventh, rookie reliever Jake Jewell allowed the first two batters to reach base. After an Olsen lineout to center field, Jewell was replaced by Eduardo Paredes. Runners stood at the corners with only one out, including the winning run at third.
Canha, the first batter to face Paredes, walked to load them up. Melvin was quite satisfied with his plate discipline in this difficult situation:
“You tend to get a little greedy in those at bats, and that’s a lot of times when you don’t have success, so he was looking for one pitch in one zone and didn’t get it … ended up taking the walk and passing the baton to Luc.”
With the bases loaded, Lucroy belted a single to deep center field to give the Athletics the walkoff 6-5 win in the bottom of the eleventh. Lucroy was thrilled to finally get the win in extras:
“We were able to capitalize on some mistakes and have good at-bats there, and … finally got one across home plate.”
The A’s will play next on Tuesday in San Diego against the Padres. The probable pitching matchup will be righty Paul Blackburn (1-1, 11.05 ERA) facing left-hander Eric Lauer (3-4, 6.20 ERA). First pitch at 7:10 p.m. Pacific.
The Athletics played at home on Father’s Day for the eighth consecutive year Sunday. They are 6-2 in those games. … The A’s play 20 of their next 25 games on the road after finishing 5-5 on this 10-game homestand. … Mengden remains winless against AL West opponents this season at 0-6. He is 6-0 against all other teams. … Second baseman Franklin Barreto recorded his first major league hit of the season. He was hitless in his first ten MLB at-bats in 2018.