Seth Brown pinch hit in the seventh Friday night and drove in the A’s first run. Then, he was the final batter in the bottom of the ninth and with two outs, smacked a solo homer to right field to give the A’s a 2-1 win over the Rays.
The A’s (20-14) picked up their fourth walkoff win of the year on a night when both teams played great, clean baseball. Sean Manaea kept the Rays (18-16) scoreless until the eighth and looked better than ever.
The score was tied 1-1 when Brown stepped up for his second at-bat coming off the bench. On a 1-1 count, Brown blasted a Jeffrey Springs slider to right field to give Oakland A’s a win and his first career walk off home run as a major leaguer.
Brown said he was blessed to be put into the situation and deliver:
“Obviously it is something that everybody dreams about doing. At that point in time, to me I am just looking to help the team and I am looking to put the ball in play hard somewhere and to have that [first walk off homer] happen tonight, it is something that I have played out in my mind ever since I was a little kid.That is every little kid’s dream to do that and I thank God that I was in that position and he blessed me the way he did. It was just an incredible moment.”
Manaea took the mound on Friday night and was perfect for six scoreless innings. The Tampa Bay Rays finally got their first base runner of the night when Randy Arozarena led of the seventh with a five-pitch walk to spoil Manaea’s perfection.
Brown noted on how incredible Manaea has pitched all season, and said he was not surprised by his performance:
“Oh he is incredible. He has been throwing it well all year. He has great stuff, he looks comfortable to me every time he takes the mound, he just has that confident look to him. It is everybody in the clubhouse. We like to have fun but when it comes down to it, its business out here and everybody goes about their business the right way. It is no surprise to me that he is throwing as well as he’s throwing. It is fun to watch him throw.”
Rich Hill was also very impressive on Friday night. The Tampa Bay starter allowed only two hits through six innings, and both belonged to Jed Lowrie. Mark Canha was the only other baserunner Hill allowed when he walked Canha to lead off the game then hit Canha with an 83-mph cutter in the third. Hill kept the A’s scoreless in six full, allowed just a pair of walks and singles in 81 pitches.
Andrew Kittredge relieved Hill to open the seventh, and that’s when the A’s got on the board. Lowrie hit a one-out double off the wall in left-center giving him his 14th three-hit game of the season. Pinch-hitting for Stephen Piscotty — who had been hitless in two at-bats — Brown lined to right to bring in Lowrie and the A’s were up 1-0.
Melvin is known to say nobody works harder than “Brownie” and has full faith in his future. Brown and Piscotty have been sharing time in right and when Brown came in off the bench, he quickly made an impact. Melvin said he was thankful to have him in there:
“It has been tough on our lefties. They finally get the handcuffs off tomorrow with [Tyler] Glasnow pitching, not that that is the easiest guy to get thrown out there but you will see a lot of lefties it there tomorrow because they have been on the bench. Even against the Rays a lot of the times you aren’t going to get your match up, certainly that last one, left-left on Brownie, he hasn’t faced too many lefties so he is ready, trust me he is a coach killer in the cage. Trust me, he will hit all day long so tries to keep himself ready as best he can and thank goodness for him tonight.”
Manaea had his no-hitter snapped by the first batter he faced in the eighth. Mike Brosseau led off with a double to deep right before Mike Zunino singled to tie the game 1-1. Manaea struck out Kevin Kiermaier — giving him 10 for the night — before he was relieved by Yusmiero Petit to get the final two outs of the inning. Manaea’s night ended with a box score that read: 7-1/3 innings, one run on two hits and one walked batter.
Melvin knows how deep of a lineup Tampa Bay has and that it wasn’t an easy task for his left-handed starter:
“That is a pretty good lineup, to strikeout 10 in seven innings means he had his good stuff.”
Manaea threw a no-hitter on April 21, 2018 against the Boston Red Sox and was one of only three lefties to toss a no-hitter in franchise history. Vida Blue was the only pitcher to throw more than one no-hitter in an Oakland A’s uniform but Manaea was six outs away from becoming the second. Petit gave up a single to Willy Adames but escaped the inning leaving runners on the corners and the game still tied 1-1.
Melvin said Manaea looked like his 2018 no-hitter day self from the start:
“You could see it right away. Typically in the first, starters might not have their best command right away but both these guys seemed to and as the game went along, it felt like the first team that scored might have a pretty good chance to win so it ended up a little more dramatic at the end. Sean ended up giving up a couple hits but man we have seen him really good at times, including the no-hitter and I think it is probably the same stuff he had tonight as he did when he threw the no-hitter, maybe even a little better early on.”
Pete Fairbanks pitched the bottom of the eighth for Tampa Bay and the A’s threatened with the score tied 1-1 and top of the order up. Canha led off the inning with a single and then stole second (6) during Ramon Laureano’s strikeout and third during Matt Olson’s strikeout but was left stranded as Sean Murphy struck out to end the threat.
Petit came out after retiring his third batter of the night and Jake Diekman (W, 2-0, 1.93 ERA) entered to get the final two outs of the game, striking out a pair, one looking.
Chapman, Lowrie and Brown were up against Springs (L, 2-1, 2.45 ERA) in the bottom of the ninth. Chapman lined out and Lowrie grounded out for his first out of the game before Brown ended it with a bomb.
Tyler Glasnow (4-1, 2.06 ERA) will take the mound for Tampa Bay Saturday against Frankie Montas (3-2, 5.87 ERA), with first pitch set for 1:07 p.m. The A’s will be using a lot of lefties in their lineup after not facing right-handed starting pitching since May 1.