The Sean Manaea–Jonathan Lucroy battery has produced some memorable moments this season. Tuesday, the duo led the Athletics to a 8-3 victory over the Blue Jays, giving Oakland a 7-0 season series sweep of Toronto.
Though he wasn’t able to finish the seventh inning, to become the first Oakland starter to do so since he did it on July 4, Manaea (W, 10-7, 3.38 ERA) surrendered just one run in six innings. Lucroy not only guided him through turbulent waters in the early innings, the catcher recorded three hits and knocked in four runs to pace the offense.
This story will be updated with quotes and post-game material from the A’s clubhouse at the Oakland Coliseum.
Manaea coasted through quick first but faced his first trouble immediately in the second, serving up back-to-back singles to open the frame.
Careful not to use any of his team’s six allowed mound visits, Lucroy several times stepped in front of the plate to shout encouragement at his hurler. And after a pair of innocent flyouts, Manaea slammed the door on Toronto’s early threat with a strikeout of Brandon Drury.
He faced a similar threat in the fourth, giving up a single and walk consecutively with one down. But in an even quicker disappearing act, Manaea coaxed an Aledmys Díaz inning-ending double play. Again, it was a visit from Lucroy that preceded the twin-killing.
The Oakland lefty allowed just two more base runners the rest of the way, including a leadoff single in the seventh that forced his removal, ending his afternoon with five strikeouts, five hits and two walks. Along the way, Manaea became the first A’s pitcher to win 10 or more games in back-to-back seasons since Sonny Gray did so in 2014-15.
Toronto’s starter, Marcus Stroman (L, 4-8, 5.63 ERA), did not fare quite as well, getting the hook after being tagged with 11 hits and seven runs without recording an out in the sixth, allowing hits to each of the three batter he faced in the sixth.
Lucroy, who aided Manaea every step of the way Wednesday, hounded Stroman each and every time the two met. In each of his three at-bats against the Blue Jay ace, Lucroy connected for run-scoring knocks, including an RBI double in the fourth and a knockout RBI single in the sixth. But the Oakland backstop’s biggest swing came in the second when he opened the scoring with a two-out two-run single following back-to-back unproductive outs with runners on second and third.
Lucroy was far from the only A’s hitter to have Stroman’s number, though. Matt Olson and Marcus Semien chipped in two hits apiece, and Franklin Barreto posted his best performance as a big leaguer, going 3-for-4 with a homer (4) and three RBIs.
Russell Martin did his best to keep his club in the game, swatting a two-run homer (9) off Ryan Buchter in the eighth, but it was far enough.
Thursday brings Oakland its first of three offdays over the next week. When the A’s get back to work Friday they will host the Detroit Tigers (47-62) and starter Blaine Hardy (4-3, 3.61 ERA). They will counter with Brett Anderson (2-3, 5.55 ERA), who is coming off his first loss since May 13 having allowed eight hits and four runs in six innings at Colorado last Saturday.
With the win, the A’s move into a tie for the final AL Wild Card with Seattle, and six games behind New York. Oakland will host Seattle and New York at the Coliseum for a combined 10 games out of the next 31. … Manager Bob Melvin said that Matt Joyce (lower back strain) is feeling better after receiving a second epidural shot. Joyce has not appeared in a game since July 4 and is currently serving his second stint on the 10-day disabled list this season resulting from a lumbar strain. … Chad Pinder (left elbow laceration) is expected to begin swinging the bat soon, according to Melvin. Pinder suffered an elbow laceration requiring stitches Saturday in Colorado and has been fielding grounders since the A’s returned to Oakland Monday. … Andrew Triggs (right triceps strain) played catch for the second time Wednesday, a recovery marker Melvin said the team is “encouraged” by. Triggs has not pitched since May 17 and appeared in just 12 games before season-ending hip surgery last season. There is no certain timetable for his return, but he is expected to pitch again this season. … Daniel Gossett underwent successful Tommy John surgery Wednesday, according to Melvin. Gossett, who has not pitched since June 3, is the fourth A’s pitcher to require Tommy John UCL reconstructive surgery this year joining Jharel Cotton, A.J. Puk and Kendall Graveman. … Franklin Barreto got the start at second in a scheduled day off for Jed Lowrie and responded with his fourth multi-hit game of the season and first career three-hit game, going 3-for-4 with a homer and driving in three runs.
Kalama Hines is SFBay’s sports director and Oakland Athletics beat writer. Follow @SFBay and @HineSight_2020 on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of A’s baseball.