The A’s entered Tuesday 7-0 in games following off days this season, and, after a 5-2 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks, they remain the only big league team still undefeated after an day off.
The A’s (36-26) entered the fourth inning trailing 1-0, when they took a 5-1 lead on four singles and four walks. Chris Bassitt lasted just four innings in his last start a week ago against Seattle, coming off his first major league complete game. He reminded everyone he can go deep into games on Tuesday, allowing two runs on four hits and one homer in a crisp seven innings.
Bassitt (W, 6-2, 3.44 ERA) started the night with a perfect first but the second didn’t start so perfect. After a ten-pitch first, Christian Walker smashed Bassitt’s eleventh pitch of the night for his second home run of the year.
Bob Melvin said Bassitt was terrific tonight and explained after the one-run second inning, he told his catcher no more cutters and he was solid from that inning on, aside for the one-run final seventh:
“Not as many cutters tonight, more sinkers. Actually a lot of sinkers tonight, good change up, after a little big of a tough outing before which I think had a little something to do with the amount of pitches he threw in the complete game shutout (114) came back and worked really nicely again. Efficient, seven innings, looked like we expect out of him so it was good to give him a couple days rest.”
Bassitt regrets throwing the first pitch slider but felt great:
“It was really good, wish I didn’t hand a slider there but I felt really good… obviously the complete game and then having that crappy outing in Seattle I just didn’t really bounce back well from that so we kinda took advantage of the two off days in-between so I felt pretty good dang tonight.”
Jon Duplantier (L, 0-2, 10.03 ERA) kept the A’s hitless until a very ugly fourth inning that seemed like it would never end. Jed Lowrie beat the right field shift and started a rally. Matt Olson was down 0-2 and drew a walk before DH Mitch Moreland lined to right to load the bases with no outs. Sean Murphy walked, tying it 1-1 and ending Duplantier’s night. LHP Alex Young would eventually get the final three outs of the inning, but not before four more runs would score.
Duplantier made his first career start against the Oakland A’s and looked solid in his first round of the lineup but after everyone made their first plate appearance, the hits and walks came, along with a win.
Chad Pinder pinch-hit for Seth Brown to face the lefty and singled to left to give the A’s a 2-1 lead. Matt Chapman singled to left which made it 3-1, before Elvis Andrus drew a walk to make it 4-1 after Tony Kemp struck out for the first out of the inning. Mark Canha, in the ninth plate appearance of the inning, hit into a 5-3 fielder’s choice, was safe at first on the double-play attempt and made it 5-1. Lowrie made his second plate appearance of the inning with two outs and runners on the corners and walked to load the bases, but Olson struck out swinging to end the five-run inning.
Melvin spoke about the fourth inning and how his team was able to get five runs on five hits, all singles:
“The key for us to be able to score runs without hitting home runs and tonight Chappy hits that ball 105 [exit velocity] and it doesn’t go anywhere to center field and on certain nights, especially here, you have to do it a little bit different and I think it makes you feel a little bit better and it makes you feel better about the team and winning games without having to rely on home runs.”
Bassitt allowed two hits in the second inning where the Diamondbacks took their only lead of the game. He was perfect in every inning until his final seventh when he allowed one run on two singles and former Houston Astros Josh Reddick was booed before he hit a sacrifice to right field to drive in his team’s second run of the game. After 88 pitches, Bassitt sat in the dugout with a three-run cushion and watched Yusmeiro Petit put up straight zeroes in his perfect eighth inning. Lou Trivino picked up his ninth save of the year with a one-hit ninth inning.
Bassitt is known for having multiple pitches, but he could only rely on two Tuesday. He had to adjust to the wind, and facing eight of nine batters that were lefties or switch hitters batting lefty limited his slider usage:
“It was awkwardly windy all game long and unfortunately I felt like everything that was breaking right to left, wasn’t breaking correctly. Then everything breaking from left to right was way more action than normal so instead of trying to over due a cutter or over due a slider, basically we just stopped throwing sliders, we stopped throwing cutters because I just didn’t trust it. So yeah it was just a quick little fix, doing more sinker-changeup just cause of how strong the wind was.”
Young was relieved after three innings where he allowed three hits, struck out four and walked two batters. Only one run was his in the ugly fourth inning where he entered the mound with the game tied 1-1. When he exited the mound after the sixth it was 5-1 but only allowed a single to Pinder, who had back-to-back singles and the A’s were silent other than Pinder, after the fourth inning.
Pinder said Bassitt has been the glue of the team and a vocal leader for the team. Pinder spoke about his night at the plate:
“I was just trying to keep it simple. I came off the bench early tonight and was just trying to stay in my zone and I got some pitches I was able to hit and I was lucky to have that one fall in there at the end but to be able to get that first one in that situation, that was big for me.”
LHP Sean Manaea (4-2, 3.36 ERA) and Matt Peacock (2-2, 4.68 ERA) will take the rubber on Wednesday afternoon for the final game of the quick two-game series in Oakland. The A’s have faced Arizona three times this season and have yet to lose a game. The Diamondbacks are looking for their first win on the road since April 25.
The A’s are now 18-17 at home. … Chad Pinder had a great night at the plate, singling in the ninth and was 3-for-3 after pinch-hitting to help spark the fourth-inning rally. … Bob Melvin was honored with a tribute video for most wins in Oakland as a manager, passing Tony LaRussa on the road trip last week. Tuesday night’s win was his 803rd as Oakland manager. … Stephen Piscotty was honored prior to the game in honor of receiving the Lou Gehrig Award, the first Athletic to receive the award in its 67 years.