Another A’s walk-off win? Of course.
A botched play by Kyle Tucker in left field helped the Oakland A’s tie the Houston Astros at 2-2 in the seventh before Ramon Laureano ended things in the ninth with a game-winning single, lifting Oakland to a 3-2 win Wednesday night and a 5-1/2 game lead in the AL West.
A pair of solo homers off Jesús Luzardo and two doubles from Tommy LaStella kept the game tied 2-2 headed into the eighth. Tucker dropped a shallow pop-up and completely failed trying to make a diving catch to end the inning, costing the Astros their 2-0 lead.
The A’s (26-15) were quiet all night against Luis Garcia (ND, 5 IP, 1 H, 4 K, 1 BB, 0.96 ERA) who kept the A’s scoreless through six while giving up only a pair of walks and a single by Matt Olson. After five shutout frames, the rookie received fist bumps from his teammates stepping off the mound after a one-hit game.
Garcia is the fifth player in MLB history and third active player named Luis Garcia, tying him with the name John Sullivan for the most common name in MLB history.
George Springer had no problem facing Luzardo and his Roberto Clemente cleats. He needed to see three pitches before smacking the fourth pitch of the night for a leadoff homer, his second in the series and 38th in his career (fourth most in the AL and eighth most in MLB). He followed with a single in his second at-bat and had two of the Astros four hits.
The Astros (22-22) picked up another solo homer in the sixth inning from Yuli Gurriel; his second off Luzardo this season made it 2-0. The final hit off Luzardo came from Carlos Correa who wore No. 21 on Roberto Clemente Day along with his other Puerto Rican teammate, Martin Maldonado.
Luzardo on the solo homers, two pitches that cost him two runs:
“Definitely the first at bat with Springer was a mistake pitch, I just left a sinker over the plate. The one with Gurriel, I feel like i made a good pitch, I have to go back on video, I didn’t see it but I feel like I made a good pitch, I guess he was just hunting it. I am not mad about that one.”
Luzardo pitched well and, after giving up a lead off home run, he retired nine of the next ten batters. Bob Melvin explained how great he did:
“For a young guy, when the leadoff guy hits a home run that can bite you a little bit and it didn’t. He got better as the game went along … terrific outing and like I said, 7 innings was huge for us today.”
Luzardo finished the night with 100 pitches, two solo homers, four hits, one walk, and seven strikeouts. Wednesday night was the first time in his career he completed seven innings at any level. On his outing, he said:
“After the first one [solo homer], definitely had to make a conscious effort just because you never wanna start a game off that way. After the second one, I already had two outs so I was just focused on getting that last one and getting off the field.”
Mark Canha snapped an 0-for-16 streak with a two-out double off Endli Paredes, his eighth of the season. Canha challenged Springer in center on the throw and was safe at second but never touched home plate.
The A’s are 18-0 when Liam Hendriks pitches, and he came out for the ninth inning tied 2-2. Hendriks has 11 saves, one behind the league lead. The Aussie closer has pitched 18-1/3 innings this season with 27 strikeouts and after the ninth inning, he increased that total to 29 and kept the Astros from taking back their lead. The A’s are 5-0 in extra innings in 2020, and have yet to lose a game when Hendriks pitches.
Bob Melvin spoke about how his team was able to pull off the win after a slow start:
“We’ll that has kinda been the theme for us this year, one minute we are stagnant offensively for a while and then just juice it up in the end. … Jesus was terrific today other than two pitches, gave us 7 innings which is what we needed because of our bullpen situation, it gives you just enough to win and we have done that plenty of times this year.”
Astros closer Ryan Presley walked Murphy to lead off the ninth inning before Stephen Piscotty pinch ran for Murphy after receiving a cortisone shot prior to the game. Kemp moved to lay down a bunt and, as he pulled back, the ball hit his left ankle and he made his way to first in pain. LaStella hit into a fielders choice, with Kemp out at second hopping into the dugout in pain after the slide. Runners stood on the corners with one out.
Marcus Semien struck out in his first three at-bats before drawing a walk in the seventh. Due for a hit, Semien also hit into a fielders choice, with Piscotty getting called out in a rundown. La Stella was the winning runner on second when Laureano – hitless in four previous at-bats – launched a ball into left-center over a drawn-in infield to win the game.
The two best teams in the AL division will play their final game against each other in regular season play Thursday afternoon before go on the road for eight games. The A’s won’t return back to Oakland until Sept. 18 against San Francisco.
Tony Kemp received his Roberto Clemente Nominee award prior to the game. … Matt Chapman did not play in any baseball activity and is not expected to do any tomorrow. .. Matt Olson and Matt Chapman received their 2019 Gold Glove awards prior to the game. Liam Hendriks earned another save. … Vimael Machin was the only A’s player to wear No. 21 for the A’s on Roberto Clemente Day and reached in the second when he drew a walk.