The Oakland A’s are officially postseason bound, one step closer to the goal they set every season: becoming the AL West Division Champions.
The A’s rolled past the San Francisco Giants 6-0 Friday night, led by stellar pitching from Chris Bassitt (W, 5-2, 2.57 ERA) and a three-run homer from Matt Olson. The A’s clinched their playoff spot after the Seattle Mariners lost 6-1 to the San Diego Padres.
Bob Melvin said the team talked about winning the division will be the true celebration:
“We talked at the beginning of the year about the division. That’s still what we’re looking to do. But every game when you get into this position, you’re aware of it. And guys went out there looking to win a game and try to get this thing done as soon as we can, still haven’t gotten it done yet, but a little bit closer.”
Logan Webb (L, 2-4, 5.73 ERA) allowed all six runs and when his night ended, so did the A’s runs. The A’s scored one run in the first, off one hit. Marcus Semien walked before a terrible decision by Giants second baseman Donovan Solano, who tried to get the lead runner out instead of a safe second out at first to get out Mark Canha. His throw landed near third base and both runners were safe on the play with one out.
Jake Lamb was up 3-0 in the count and could have drawn a walk but decided to swing on Webb’s fifth pitch and singled up the middle for the A’s first hit. Semien scored from second and the A’s lead 1-0 quickly after the first.
Melvin talked about Lamb and how he got the ball rolling:
“Yeah that first run’s big. It’s huge, games like this. To knock that first run in and guys follow up behind it and we get a nice lead, we get a well pitched game and all of the above and score a bunch of runs and [Olson] with a big homer like he tends to do. It started with Jake’s hit. He’s made a huge impact since he’s been here, I know he’s feeling good.”
Olson struck out in the first but hit a bomb to right in the third for a three-run homer that was 110 mph off the bat. The entire A’s starting rotation knew it was out as soon as the ball hit the bat and celebrated by jumping up and down the entire time Olson rounded the bases. Semien and Canha were on base after Semien hit into a fielders choice and Tommy La Stella singled to lead off the inning and extend his hit streak to seven games.
Canha walked and then Olson (14) brought them in to extend their lead 4-0 in the third. Webb reached 74 pitches in the first three innings but came out for the fourth and it only got worse.
Bassitt spoke about clinching the postseason and the team’s reaction:
“It was literally like another win. Like I said I think we have a lot bigger goals. Definitely the playoffs is huge. But I think this team is extremely hungry for a lot bigger things than just the playoffs.”
Ramon Laureano was hit by a 90 mph sinker in the fourth and then Tony Kemp hit a line drive to right for a single that put Laureano on third. La Stella singled up the middle (back-to-back singles in third and fourth) to make it 5-0 with one out and runners on the corners. Semien singled off Webb’s 90th and last pitch of the night to bring in Kemp which made it 6-0.
Suarez relieved Webb after 3 1/3 innings. Webb allowed six runs off five hits, two walks and one hit batter. Once Webb left the mound, the A’s runs left with him. Suarez and Shaun Anderson kept the A’s scoreless.
The last time Chris Bassitt faced the Giants was Aug. 24 of 2019 and he only allowed one hit through four innings. He did it again on Friday giving up only a double to Brandon Crawford in the second after a perfect 11 pitch first. His first walk of the game came in the sixth inning to Alex Dickerson and then another to Brandon Belt on seven pitches with two outs. Bassitt struck out Wilmer Flores to end the inning and finished the night with seven strikeouts.
Bassitt said he owes a lot of credit to his catcher Sean Murphy who he said does his homework better than anyone he has played with:
To be honest with you I’ve been blessed this year and every year with catchers that know me mentally, physically. And Murph and I seem to be on the same page of him calling a game for me. I don’t like to think on the mound. And Murph’s calling a great game. I think I owe a lot of my success to Murph. He’s keeping guys off balance.”
Melvin on Bassitt’s performance Friday and throughout the short season:
“He’s been absolutely terrific. It probably is as consistent as we’ve had all year. You look at his overall numbers, you look at his ERA, everything he’s done in a short season. And we’ve said probably the guy that got off to the latest start once we came into (training camp). But you know deserves everything he’s getting right now, all the accolades. Bona fide big league starter right now. And had to work hard to get there. So feels good, he’s being rewarded right now as well as he’s pitching.”
A’s LHP Jesús Luzardo (2-2, 4.32 ERA) faces Kevin Gausman (3-2, 4.05 ERA) Saturday for game two of the series. The first pitch is set for 1:10 p.m.
The A’s earned the Battle of the Bay trophy after clinching the season series 4-0 with two games left.