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Semien’s two-homer day powers A’s to series victory

Behind an impressive power showing from Marcus Semien, the A’s sealed their third straight series win with a 7-2 Independence Day victory over the Twins at Oakland Coliseum.

Semien’s second homer of the game, following a fifth-inning solo shot, was a grand slam that turned a one-run game on its head in the eighth inning.

Wei-Chung Wang (W, 1-0, 1.56 ERA) earned his first big league win tossing 2-1/3 scoreless, hitless innings.

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

Semien was happy to win the series and hopes to see Minnesota again in the playoffs. He talked about his home runs:

“It feels great. Good insurance. It was a long night last night for our bullpen and you want to put up a lot of runs of course four runs in one swing is the way to do it. … We hit a lot of home runs and its nice to have people on base when we do. That has been our struggle.” 

The A’s stretched a one-run lead to five in the eighth. ‘

Chris Herrmann put the finishing touches on his first career four-hit game, which included three singles and a double, following a leadoff single by Robbie Grossman with a single of his own. Morin hit Jurickson Profar to set the stage for Semien.

Herrmann is off to an amazing start in his A’s career, now 5-for-9 with five RBIs in three games with the club. He said:

“It has been great. Obviously, I missed about half the year but after my first game I felt really welcomed here. These guys are great, they are competitors and they love each other and that is what you want from each other. We all have each others back and we are just trying to win baseball games.”

Bob Melvin is very happy with how Herrmann has been performing:

“He had some really good at-bats. Not trying to do too much. Obviously he gets a slam the other night and now he is going to get pitched away a little bit more and you see him hit the opposite field today. … He feels like he is apart of the team that much more now because he has contributed in all his games.”

It was a rough start from rookie hurler Tanner Anderson who, with two outs, loaded the bases on a walk and two base hits. An interference error by Herrmann allowed a run to score. Anderson escaped further trouble leaving the bases loaded. Herrmann made up for it by the end of the game.

Said Herrmann:

“He took a really late swing. That is the second time in my life that that has happened. I can’t really avoid that. Pitch was outside off the plate, just unfortunate because it goes as an error on me and it is a run on Tanner but that’s apart of the game. It is what it is.”

In the fifth inning, Nelson Cruz led off the fifth with a double and was sent to third on a wild pitch. Two base hits sent him home and the Twins pushed their lead back at 2-1. Wang came in for the final out in the fifth and left two men on base. 

The A’s couldn’t score until the fourth and then took the lead in the fifth inning. Khris Davis and Robbie Grossman each had a base hit and Herman singled to shallow center field to score Davis from second and tie the game 1-1. 

Semien led off the fifth with a solo shot to center giving him 12 homers this season to tie the game 2-2. That was the 138th home run of the season for the A’s which broke the 1996 franchise record for most home runs before the All-Star break. 

All-Star Jose Berrios (L, 8-5, 3.00 ERA) was losing his groove and after the lead off home run from Semien. Chapman and Davis both walked and Matt Olson had a base hit to load the bases with no outs. Mark Canha hit into a double-play on a full-count that he argued was a ball four instead of a strike two but Chapman was able to score on the double-play to give the A’s a 3-2 lead. 

Wang kept the Twins from tying the game in the sixth and seventh innings before he was relieved by Lou Trivino in the eighth. 

Melvin knew both Anderson and Wang were limited and acknowledged their ability to produce:

“Both terrific. Tanner that was the guy that had to give us some innings just to get through the game period. And then what Wang has been doing for us has been absolutely fantastic, whether it is coming in to get a lefty out or a couple lefties. The pitch count early on was going to be basically an inning and now we are looking at 2 plus going through some righties and lefties. Every time we lean on him he comes up big for us. and it was huge today.”

After going 12 innings Tuesday night, both teams were short on relievers and relied on starting pitchers to work deep into the afternoon.

Anderson fell one out shy of matching the five frames completed by Berrios. The Twins used Zack Little and Trevor May for an inning apiece. Joakim Soria came in to close the game for the A’s. He gave up a double to lead-off batter Max Kepler to make things a little interesting but was able out the next two batters and would throw out Arraez on a check swing right to him to end the game.

Melvin was very pleased with the series:

“Obviously getting some add on runs in the eighth was huge. It was a really tough loss for us last night, we had a bunch of different ways to win that game and to be able to come back especially against there best pitcher today shows these guys what we are all about.”

On Deck

The A’s will travel to Seattle for a series with the Mariners beginning Friday night. Brett Anderson (8-5, 3.92 ERA) will get the start against Yusei Kikuchi (4-5, 5.12 ERA)

Game Notes

Wang had his first career win of the series and celebrated with a beer shower after the game with the team. … Nelson Cruz was caught stealing by Tanner Anderson in the third inning giving the A’s a total of 26 runners caught stealing, the most in Majors.

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