The Battle of The Bay concluded Sunday afternoon with the A’s once again falling 5-4 to the cross-bay rival Giants despite two home runs from Mark Canha (20 and 21) and a solid outing from Brett Anderson.
In losing the four-game season series 3-1, the A’s have to hand over the Battle of The Bay they won last season. Before the game, the A’s held a pregame ceremony honoring a different trophy — that of their 1989 World Series championship team — with the Giants watching from the sidelines.
Shortly following the ceremony, A’s President Dave Kaval announced the retirement of former World Series MVP, Dave Stewart‘s number 34. Stewart was World Series MVP in 1989 and put together an All-Star season in which he finished second in the Cy Young voting. His numbers that season were excellent: 21-9 record, 3.32 ERA in 257.2 innings pitched.
The A’s sent lefty Brett Anderson to the mound to face Giants rookie Logan Webb. Anderson has struggled at home this season, his record is 4-6 with a 4.85 ERA in 65.0 innings pitched, compared to his 6-3 record with a 3.42 ERA in 79.0 road innings this season.
Anderson ran into trouble right off the bat in the first inning. Donovan Solano led off the game with a base hit to right, before Anderson walked Mike Yastrzemski to put runners at first and second with nobody out. A ground ball double-play off the bat of Buster Posey gave Anderson two quick outs. Giants cleanup hitter Evan Longoria would follow with a deep fly ball to center, where Mark Canha made a running catch into the wall to preserve a scoreless top of the first. The A’s offense responded with a quick one-two-three bottom of the first against Webb.
Leading off the top of the second for the Giants, Kevin Pillar roped a double off the top of the center-field wall, putting a runner in scoring position with no outs for the second inning in a row. A groundout from Austin Slater moved Pillar to third, and with one out, Pillar came home on a Stephen Vogt sac-fly to center.
With two outs, Anderson surrendered a walk to Brandon Belt, followed by a single from Brandon Crawford. Back to the top of the order, Solano would single to left, and extend the Giants lead to 2-0 against Anderson.
Down 2-0 early on, the A’s responded in the bottom of the second. With one out, Canha launched a solo home run (21) to right field, trimming the deficit to 2-1.
The bats were hot for both teams early on. Following the Canha home run, designated hitter Jurickson Profar lined a double down the left-field line. The next batter, second baseman Corban Joseph, lined a double of his own into the same spot, scoring Profar and tying the game at two. Still, with only one out, Webb surrendered yet another hit, this time a single to Chad Pinder, scoring Joseph and giving the A’s a 3-2 lead.
Homering already in the second, Canha came to the plate in the bottom of the fourth, and homered again (22), this time to center field, extending the A’s lead to 4-3. Sunday was Canha’s first multi-homer game since July 17 against the Seattle Mariners.
Following Sunday’s game, A’s manager Bob Melvin discussed Mark Canha, and how his performance this season has impacted the team:
“Yeah he’s having a great year. Offensively, defensively, wherever we put him. He just continues to get better and better as the season goes along. We’ve seen him good here before when given the opportunities and the at-bats, but i don’t know if he’s ever been this good. Defensively he’s terrific, offensively obviously he’s on-fire right now. He’s keeping us going for sure.”
One inning later, Webb continued to struggle. With two outs in the fifth, left fielder Robbie Grossman singled to left. Both Matt Chapman, and Matt Olson followed with walks to load the bases with two outs. Giants starter Logan Webb was removed after loading the bases and was replaced by righty Jandel Gustave. With two homers already, Canha came to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs and struck out looking to end the threat in the fifth.
Webb’s final line for Sunday’s game: 4-2/3 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 2 BBs, 2 K’s.
After a quiet fifth inning, an A’s rally in the bottom of the sixth knocked out Gustave, who replaced Webb. Sam Coonrod came in to pitch for the Giants with runners on first and second with nobody out following walks to Profar and Joseph. Pinder followed with a ground ball up the middle that was turned for a double play. Josh Phegley struck out on a drop-third-strike to end the inning, as the A’s waste yet another scoring opportunity.
The A’s ran into trouble in the top of the seventh. Jake Diekman came in to replace Anderson. An error by Olson allowed Brandon Crawford to reach to lead off the seventh. A walk to Solano was followed by Diekman hitting Slater to load the bases with nobody out. Blake Treinen replaced Diekman in the seventh, facing Posey with the bases loaded, who struck out to record the first out of the inning.
Longoria followed the Posey strikeout with a two-run single to left, scoring Crawford and Solano, and giving the Giants a 5-4 lead.
Two days in a row the A’s have had a one inning meltdown that has led to their demise. On Saturday, they allowed eight runs in the eighth inning. Sunday, they allowed two in the seventh, which they were unable to overcome. Melvin addressed the seventh inning meltdown.
“You know, they get ahead early, we come back. We take the lead, they come back, it goes back-and-fourth. Then the seventh ended up being our un-doing tonight. Jake [Diekman] comes in, he needs a strikeout, he gets a ground ball from Longoria, it just ends up in the hole and that ended up being the difference in the game.”
Anderson’s final line: 6 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 3 BBs, 2 K’s.
Keeping his team in the game through six strong innings, Anderson pitched pretty well, despite not having a lot of success at home this season. Following Sunday’s game, Anderson addressed his start and the early mound visit from his pitching coach in the first inning.
“Just a little shaky, but not that it had anything to do with it. My stuff was…fine, maybe a little bit erratic, effectively wild. Weirdly, some of the better pitches I threw had negative results. I threw a good cutter in to Solano that kind of dropped over Semien for an RBI single. The changeup i threw to Longoria, was down and off the plate, he just put a good swing on it. We got through six with the lead, but not the best results by us. The quality start i had today with the stuff i had, I’ll take it.”
A quiet eighth inning for both teams led into the ninth inning, where the A’s were down to their final three outs of the game. Liam Hendriks entered the game in the ninth to face the bottom of the Giants order. With one out, Hendricks gave up a base hit to Solano (his fourth of the game), who advanced to second on the misplay in centerfield by Canha. A wild pitch moved Solano to third with Alex Dickerson pinch-hitting. A pop-up to Chapman at third retired Dickerson for the second out. With a runner at third, Hendriks ended the Giants threat with a strikeout of Posey to end the inning.
Giants closer Will Smith came in to close out the ninth inning. Khris Davis made his first appearance in the game, pinch-hitting for Joseph to lead off the bottom of the ninth. A grounder to third retired Davis for a quick out number one. Pinder followed with a pop-up to second before Phegley lined a base hit to center, that he stretched into a double. Marcus Semien followed with a grounder to Crawford, to end the game in the ninth.
The A’s dropped the fourth and final game of the four-game season series. The winning pitcher was Sam Coonrod (4-0, 2.41 ERA), the losing pitcher was Jake Diekman (1-7, 4.59 ERA), and Will Smith got the save (30).
The Athletics travel to Kansas City to take on the Royals (46-85) for a four-game series before traveling to New York to have a re-match with the Yankees (84-47), who they just swept in three games. The A’s have yet to decide on a starting pitcher for Monday’s matchup against Brad Keller (7-13, 3.95 ERA) and the Royals.
- Stephen Piscotty will be placed on the Injured List with a high-ankle sprain. How long he will be out is unknown, but Piscotty said that he will see a specialist in San Francisco on Monday.
- The A’s bullpen was lights-out in 2018 but has struggled this season. There are no clear roles assigned to certain relievers, as Melvin addressed the bullpen postgame.
“We try different things at different times, and it looks like at times we have it figured out for awhile, then maybe availability, work usage, guys are down for a particular day. We get [Jake] Diekman in here, so that changes things a bit. We still feel like we have a really good bullpen, we’re just not pitching up to the capabilities that we’re able to. At times it looks like we’re getting things settled, then at times not. So unfortunately, we continue to grind.”
- In addition to Piscotty, Melvin gave an update on injured catcher Chris Herrmann, who has a contusion and will be evaluated as Day-To-Day.