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Semien game-winner in 13th slays Houston as A’s stretch AL West lead

Marcus Semien came to bat against the Astros with a bases-loaded, one-out opportunity in the fifth inning Friday night. He hit into a double play to end the inning.

Semien was put in the same situation again in the 13th inning and, in his seventh at-bat, swatted a ball deep enough into the right-center gap to win it for Oakland, 3-2.

After loading the bases from the 11th inning on and coming up empty, the A’s (10-4) launched out of the dugout with water bottles in their hands, showering Semien in jubilation of Oakland’s fourth walk-off win this season and seventh-straight win overall.

Chapman started the final inning on second and Mark Canha delivered a sacrifice to right-center which put Chappy, the tying runner, on third with one out. Khris Davis struck out for the second out before the Astros intentionally walked Grossman to load the bases, thinking they could force a double play or get an out from rookie catcher Austin Allen.

Allen has already proven he can make big hits when it matters and he confirmed that again tonight. Down 0-2 to Cy Sneed (L, 0-2, 7.50 ERA), he hit a line drive to left to bring in Chappy and tied it at 2-2.

Could there be more than 13 innings? Not if Semien had anything to do with it.

Melvin on Semien:

“He is a fighter so you always feel good about it. He hasn’t gone off to a good start, he didn’t come through a couple times but every time he goes up there he still has an attitude about him. Once Austin knocked that run in and Tony Kemp had an absolute fantastic at bat, put it in marcus’’s hands again, he is looking forward to it as opposed to when you aren’t swinging good, you aren’t looking forward to those at bats but he does every time.”

J.B. Wendelken pitched his third and final inning of the game and gave up the Astros (6-7) second run, but little did he know, his team would win it for him right after.

Melvin on Wendelken (W, 1-0, 0.00 ERA):

“To only give up one run in three innings, when there is a man on second base every time, that is some good pitching.”

José Altuve fouled out to right field with Garrett Stubbs automatically on second in the thirteenth and Stubbs tagged to land on third. Alex Bregman got his first hit — his team’s biggest of the night — doubling to right-center. The run was unearned and the Astros seemed satisfied with the 2-1 lead.

Chris Bassitt (ND, 7 IP, 1.08 ERA, 1 R, 3 H, 3 K, 3 BB) pitched seven solid. Bassitt said he couldn’t believe he was getting emotional about this while talking about his teammates, especially his infielders:

“To win games is going to pay such extreme dividends. I couldn’t be more proud of how the guys, the way they handled this stuff and are grinding every at-bat-out…winning games like this is huge… We are spoiled here with greatness.”

Zach Greinke (ND, 6 IP, 3.00 ERA, 0 R, 5 H, 5 K, 1 BB) was relieved by Josh James in the seventh, when Robbie Grossman tied it with a solo shot to center for 1-1 tie.

Melvin said both teams left a lost of guys on base on Friday and the A’s kept fighting:

“You have to just keep your fight up. You know that once you give up a run in extra innings, you still have a guy on second base with a good chance to score another run so it is frustrating for a while but you have to keep your head up and know that you still have a chance to win the game and that is exactly what happened.”

Melvin explained the game is never really over because you can score in extra innings without a hit:

“It just goes to show you, sometimes the bunt doesn’t work. It is just not automatic. Everybody sometimes thinks its just automatic, you bunt over, you get a sac-fly and the games over. It doesn’t happen that way sometimes so we were in a good position at times, we had guys that we wanted up, several times and at the end of the day, it was the bottom of the order there in the last inning that got the big hits and got on base and Marcus finished it off.”


With one-quarter of this shortened 2020 season in the books, Oakland is tied for the best record in the AL and has opened up a 3-1/2 game lead over the Astros. … The A’s traded minor-league OF Mark Payton back to Cincinnati Friday for a player to be named later or cash. Payton was a Rule 5 draft pick by the Reds in the 2019 but was returned to the Oakland organization July 21. In 118 games with Triple-A Las Vegas in 2019, Payton hit .334 with 30 home runs and 97 RBIs. … A’s starters are 3-0 and have a 2.92 ERA in the last six games after starting the season 0-4 with a 5.10 ERA in seven games.

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