The Oakland A’s might not have been able to conjure up a walkoff win Saturday, but they sure did in the Sunday finale, as a 10th-inning Mark Canha sacrifice fly delivered a 5-4 win to beat the Los Angeles Angels.
Liam Hendriks (W, 2-0, 1.17 ERA) may lead the Majors in saves (9), but he earned his second win Sunday after a perfect ninth. Ty Buttrey (L, 1-1, 2.70 ERA) took the loss as neither starter were involved in the decision.
Franklin Barreto pinch ran for Matt Olson on second in the tenth and Matt Chapman led off with a line drive to left. What could have been a walkoff was just a single after Barreto froze in the baseline and Goodwin bobbled the ball but kept Barreto from scoring. Canha came up and finished the job.
Canha said he always believes in himself in these situations:
“… at first I was like ahh, that is not going to do it, but then he fumbled the ball and I was like ‘come on, let’s go’ … I was ready to get the job done after Matt. I mean he has done that for me in another extra-inning game where he got a hit in front of me and put me in a goof spot and I didn’t get it done that time so I was happy to get it done this time.”
The game started with a leadoff error, this time from the Angels, when rookie right fielder Jo Adell dropped a Marcus Semien pop-up. Semien thought he was out, but then saw the ball drop and turned his jog into a sprint to reach second on the play. Chapman’s first hit of the game was an RBI double to left field to give the A’s (20-9) their first run 1-0.
Canha followed with a soft single to center field and Chapman used his speed to score from second to make it 2-0. The inning ended with one earned and one unearned run off Dylan Bundy. Bundy kept the A’s scoreless until the sixth when they tied the game.
Melvin had a big smile after the game when he spoke about Canha’s game-winning at-bat:
“Mark is just terrific in those situations. Where he just stays inside everything. He has won a couple of these games now with you know, just staying inside the ball and hitting the ball in the air to right field so situational stuff, we won without a homer, we were 5-for-10 with runners on scoring position, all good stuff!”
Frankie Montas had an impressive third inning and it wasn’t just from the mound. Tommy La Stella had a half-swing, one-armed popup that dropped in shallow center for a leadoff single. Trout followed with a shallow ball to center and Laureano sprinted towards the ball but caught it on the bounce. Laureano slid to catch it on the bounce and threw it to Montas at second who made the tag to get the lead runner out at second. Rendon singled to follow and Trout who was on first rounded second and Laureano made the throw to third but Trout was safe; the throw was a little too high and Montas saved the day again backing up the throw.
“Well, I am the type of guy where I always try to back up a base just in case and I saw the fly ball and I was just like I have to go somewhere and my first thought was second base. … The homer pitch, I missed my spot totally. I was trying to go in and went down the middle … that is on me. He is a really good hitter. He put a really good swing on it.”
Montas was at the right place at the right time for two plays and helped record a 8-1 out. When asked if that was his first, he said:
“Not sure, but I think. Probably.”
Well, you don’t see that play often in baseball.
Rendon landed on second on the play and, instead of Laureano throwing to second, he knows what his arm could do and thought he could get Trout out at third. Trout was safe and there were runners in scoring position with one out, but it didn’t matter where they ended up because Ohtani cleared them with a bomb to center to take a 3-2 lead.
La Stella beat the shift and singled to start off the fifth before Ohtani walked with two outs. Brian Goodwin was Montas’ last batter after he singled to bring in the Angels fourth run. Montas was replaced by Wendelken who needed just five pitches to strike out Adell to end the one-run inning.
Canha spoke about his teammates, who earned the title of the second best bullpen in the majors:
“I mean, I think a lot of the credit, you have to give a shoutout to the bullpen because they keep shutting the door with that new runner on second with nobody out and when you do that, that is huge. Going into the bottom half with just having to get one to win the game, takes the pressure off the offense a little bit and just makes the job a little easier.”
Chapman led off the sixth with two appeals that went in his favor and Joe Madden was ejected arguing two check swings with first base umpire Lance Barrett. After the Angels skipper was ejected, the A’s tied the game.
Chapman popped out after the drama on a 3-1 count. Grossman struck out looking in his previous two at-bats but hit a line-drive double to right to keep the A’s energy up with two outs and hope on the bases.
Stephen Piscotty followed with a single to left and Grossman scored on the play. Goodwin bobbled the ball on the bounce and Piscotty almost went to second on the delay but stayed at first, and it was 4-3 with Tony Kemp up.
Kemp beat the shift on a single just to the left of second, and Simmons made the throw to first but Kemp was safe on a bad throw and tough fielding play. Bundy was relieved after 101 pitches and the tying runner on second with one out.
Rookie catcher Sean Murphy struck out swinging in his previous two at-bats, but hit paydirt when he faced Angels reliever Mike Mayers. The rookie catcher faced Mayers Friday night and lined out, but came in clutch with a single into the right-center gap that couldn’t have been placed in a more perfect place. Piscotty scored, Kemp landed on third and it was a tied ball game in the sixth inning and top of the order up.
Four straight hits in the sixth, a double and three singles, brought in two runs on two outs and tied the game at 4-4.
Jake Diekman pitched the seventh and gave up a single to Ohtani and struck out two to keep the Angels (9-20) scoreless after eleven pitches. Angels Felix Pena pitched a perfect seventh for the Angels with two strikeouts.
Diekman walked Jason Castro to lead off the eighth inning and struck out Simmons for the first out and top of the order up. Fletcher hit into a fielders choice up the middle. Semien dove to his left to stop a single and got the force out at second after he flipped it to Kemp to keep the lead runner at first and La Stella grounded out to Olson to end the inning. The huge play by Semien may have changed the result of the scoreless eighth inning. It could have been one out with men on first and second with La Stella up, but the inning ended without a halo run.
The A’s are now 5-0 in extra innings, two of those being grand slams. They lead the majors in walk-offs.
The A’s won’t return to Oakland until September and head to Texas and then Seattle before they return home. Jesús Luzardo will be the series opener on Monday in Texas.
Ohtani hit a 3-run homer. … Mark Canha joins the walk-up winner club with teammates Matt Olson, Marcus Semien and Stephen Piscotty.