Mark Canha hit a two-run homer in the tenth inning to give the A’s a 3-1 walkoff win against the Seattle Mariners Friday night.
Canha’s second walkoff of the season gave Oakland a much-needed win and offensive boost heading into the postseason.
Both offenses were held scoreless for nine innings. With Jake Diekman (W, 2-0, 0.44 ERA) in for Oakland in top of the tenth, Dee Strange-Gordon pinch ran for Ty France at second and was sacrificed to third. A passed ball from Murphy was all it took to make it 1-0 Seattle on the first run of the night.
Every time all night the A’s picked up momentum, the Mariners shut it down. But that was put to an end in bottom of the the tenth. A Ramon Laureano two-out double tied it 1-1 before Mark Canha finished things off with his game-winner, leapfrogging Oakland over Minnesota into the second seed of the American League playoffs with two days left in the 2020 regular season.
Canha spoke about his team’s ability to come in clutch and come out on top late in the innings:
“Crunch time, you know. We have a lot of guys that are clutch and Ramon is one of those guys and I consider myself one of those guys and we the moments are never too big for us as a team and that just felt like a lot of the wins we have had this year, we have that special ability to win in a dramatic fashion and its a good thing to have.”
Laureano was the last A’s player with a walkoff hit when he singled Sept. 9 against the Astros. Before Laureano, it was Canha, with a sac fly against the Angels Aug. 23. Canha watched a month and two days go by before he did it again.
Joey Gerber pitched the tenth inning for the Mariners. Nate Off pinch ran at second for Sean Murphy. After a Marcus Semien groundout, Tommy La Stella hit a sacrifice fly to right, putting Orf on third with two outs. Ramon Laureano was the hero in the A’s 6-4 win against the Los Angeles Dodgers Wednesday, and he did it again in the tenth with two outs with a standing double to tie the game at 1-1.
Canha said his team generally has very good approaches and when they get to the other team’s bullpen, they like their chances:
“My assessment of our offense is that we rake and that we are a confident group and we have a bunch of studs in our lineup and I haven’t waved off of that opinion for one second this season.”
Chris Bassitt pitched seven full innings and after two singles in the first inning, he pitched four perfect and retired fourteen batters before giving up the third Mariners hit in the sixth.
Bob Melvin hinted that Bassitt (ND, 7 IP, 0 R, 5 H, 6 K, 0 BB) will be starting in the first series of playoffs. He spoke on Bassitt’s performance Friday:
“He has been so consistent for us, you almost expect it out of him. I didn’t want him to throw, seven innings is plenty tonight with what is coming up in potentially his next start so really good again. Economical in his pitches, knows where everything is going, good feel for his breaking ball, threw some good changeups today too. The cutter and the sinker played to both sides of the plate so really good game again and similar to what we have seen out of him all year.”
Bassitt finished the night allowing five hits, six strikeouts and didn’t walk a single batter in 81 pitches. He has the third-best ERA in the AL (2.29) for a reason, and it showed on Friday.
When asked about earning the postseason start Tuesday, Bassitt said:
“I am not too worried about that. [Bob Melvin] and the front office are going to make a decision that is best for the team… I think I have had the year I have kinda had last year and this year just because I am not worried about stuff I cannot control. For years that was really hard for me but I mean this year to the extreme I feel like I haven’t one time worried about stuff that I literally cannot control, and I can’t control that so I don’t really give a damn about that. I don’t care when I am starting, they will make the decision, what is best for the team and I will go with that.”
Bassitt said he had all his pitches working well tonight and knows that is great headed into postseason. He spoke on his love for his team:
“Ya it is awesome. Obviously our hitting is struggling a little bit but I mean I will go to war with these guys all day, any day. I don’t care what their stats are, I don’t care what their averages are, when the game is on the line I want these guys instead of anybody else. I know how much work they put in and I know how much they care and it was a great win for us.”
Melvin on his team’s ability to pull of the win tonight:
“You are playing in front of no fans everyday, it’s a challenge for everybody. On top of that we haven’t been swinging the bat too terribly well but when we are at home and we are up last, we seem to find a way to get really good at bats at the end of games and win games so we will take it.”
Semien had one of five Oakland doubles on Friday in the third inning but was left stranded, as was Canha in the fourth after his double.
Melvin said his team made good contact Friday and explained that Davis did nothing wrong when he was pinch-hit for in the seventh, saying was proud of Davis’ at-bats:
“There was [good contact tonight] we just weren’t timely with it early on. [Davis] really good to right-center field, he is really swinging the bat really well, the only reason I hit for him is because I am trying to get a leadoff guy on base right there and get two lefties up to stat the inning. It certainly wasn’t anything Khris had done wrong … it did feel like our at bats were a little better tonight across the field.”
Liam Hendriks pitched the ninth after Yusmeiro Petit pitched a perfect, 11-pitch eighth inning. Hendriks had 14 saves going into Friday and struck out three, the heart of the lineup, to end the inning. He roared off the mound and would do it later again after the A’s walkoff win, making them 6-0 when playing in extra inning games.
Melvin said home field advantage has been good for us but knocked on wood before finishing his thoughts:
“It has been really good for us. We feel really confident in those innings so you give us a chance late, we have shown that we can win games like that here at home, it is a little different on the road when you don’t have last at bat.”
The A’s play a doubleheader Saturday as the away team to make up the third game of the three-game series postponed in the Seattle series originally set for Sept. 1–3. Mike Minor will pitch the first game set for 1:10 p.m. and Paul Blackburn will pitch the second.