LHP Sean Manaea followed his complete game shutout last week in Seattle with another six innings of scoreless ball Wednesday afternoon, as the A’s blanked the reeling Diamondbacks 4-0 for a two-game sweep to open this nine-game homestand.
Manaea (W, 5-2. 3.09 ERA) continued his success Wednesday, overcoming a tough second yet managing to escape the inning scoreless leaving two runners stranded after an Elvis Andrus throwing error and a Tim Locastro single. He threw six scoreless innings on 111 pitches, allowing only a pair of walks and singles. Ketel Marte was the other Arizonian to get a hit Wednesday; it came in the sixth after Merrill Kelly led off Manaea’s final inning of the day with a full-count walk.
Oakland (37-26) now stands two games above .500 at home, holding a one-game lead in the AL West over the Houston Astros.
Both starting pitchers struggled in the second inning; Manaea got through it but Matt Peacock ended up exiting the mound with a hand injury attempting to field a Jed Lowrie comebacker after giving up three runs.
Bob Melvin spoke about what Manaea did well, and how all the starters are going deeper into games at this point in the season:
“We like six shutout innings. Made them throw a few pitches first couple innings especially, but I was really impressed with how he kept his velocity up all the way through the end of the game. In the last inning I think he threw his hardest pitch. Might’ve thrown one 95 or maybe a touch below it, but pitched great…it was good to see. Throw that many pitches and in six innings keep your stuff, it’s doing pretty well.”
A’s relievers followed Manaea’s footsteps. Yusmerio Petit only needed five pitches in his perfect seventh inning after taking over with a three-run cushion. Melvin had Petit warming up in the bullpen in the sixth but had complete faith in his lefty Manaea:
“I would have taken him out earlier and when they’re a little bit younger, you’re worried about their pitch counts a little bit more. Especially when you have Petit down there. Now, if he walks Carrera and [Josh] Reddick’s right behind him, now he’s going into a right-left match up which shows you I have a lot of faith in Sean [Manaea].”
Matt Chapman and Andrus both walked in the second to put two on with two outs. Mark Canha slashed a ball to left center on a windy day and Arizona center fielder Ketel Marte made a good run to catch the ball at the track but dropped it after running into the wall.
Canha was rounding second base and took his helmet off upset he got robbed but then noticed the ball roll on the track and landed safely on third. The Diamondbacks challenged the call, thinking Marte held onto long enough but after one minute and five seconds, the call stood and the A’s led 2-0.
Melvin explained the ruling on the play and joked about actually getting a review in their favor:
“He’s got to control it all the way and once he hits the wall, he’s got to come out of that in control of it and he wasn’t. So I don’t think it was really too hard a call for them. It looks like it’s secured, but as he’s making his way to the wall, it came out so they made the right call. The only upset there was that we got one that maybe we don’t normally get, as far as replay.”
Canha gave his interpretation and said after a his last couple games not getting a hit, this play was icing on the cake but ended up in his favor:
“The ball was in his glove for so long, I was like, ‘Oh, he caught it.’ It never happens the way it did. I just, you know, there’s like a 1 percent chance so yeah, if I had been sprinting the whole way but when a guy catches a ball you’re not just sprinting around the bases so I mean it’s kinda hard to blame myself for not running but yeah had I been running, I fully agree, it probably would have been an inside the parker … I was getting ready to spike the hell out of that just cause it’s been a frustrating couple of days and, and that would have been the tip of the iceberg but it worked out.”
Canha explained he his thought process when he realized the ball fell out:
“I think my helmet was actually off my head in my hand, getting ready to throw it and I just saw the ball on the ground and I was like ‘Oh, let’s see what looks like a ball on the ground and just ran and just pretend like this is a thing, like, Oh, it’s down. And you act like you saw him drop it and try to make it seem like the ball was not caught. I just thought I was out but it was a crazy play. I had no idea when they went to replay what, what they were going to do and just glad it worked out.”
Lowrie followed and hit a ball up the middle and Peacock (L, 2-3, 5.24 ERA_ went to knock it down with his throwing hand but no one could make the play, Canha scored from third and Peacock was relieved due to the injury.
Peacock threw 1 2/3 innings, walking three, allowing three runs on three hits and a strikeout. LHP Joe Mantiply kept the A’s quiet in his 1 1/3 innings where he picked up a strikeout. Humberto Castellanos threw three scoreless innings and only allowed one hit, an Matt Olson double. Castellanos struck out three and walked two before he was relieved by Stefan Crichton in the seventh, when the A’s added on another run.
Canha hit a pop up to second and the sun allowed him to reach safely, the ball was lost and abandoned by second baseman Ildemaro Vargas to begin the insurance run rally. Lowrie singled to center and Olson hit a sacrifice fly to the track in center field that looked like a done deal home run but the wind kept it in but a run scored in the process giving the A’s a 4-0 lead. Crichton threw one inning and allowed one run on two hits.
Melvin explained how the wind has been an issue during the short series:
“The ball was going nowhere today. Oly hit one at 109 to center field and it didn’t even make it to the warning track. So very few times you’ll see anywhere in any park where a ball that is hit 109 does not go out, especially at that angle. So it could be tough to hit one out of here today, especially to the big part of the park.”
Canha on the pop up gave allowed him to reach base twice, and they were both funky and funny plays:
“I just got really lucky, a couple times today… I had a couple 0’s in a row there. Two days in a row not getting a hit, so if he did come down with that ball that would have been a heartbreaker, it’s been a few days.”
Lou Trivino allowed a walk but kept the Diamondbacks at zero in the eighth. Former Oakland A’s reliever Joakim Soria took the mound for the bottom of the eighth and struck out his former catcher on a full count to lead off and ended up striking out the side: Murphy, Brown and Chapman. He struck out Chapman looking and probably felt great about striking out the side against his former teammates despite trailing 4-0.
Jake Diekman walked a batter but struck out Nick Ahmed looking to end the ballgame. The Diamondbacks have yet to win a game on the road since April 25 and Melvin was happy to hear that after the series ended:
“It is what it is. I don’t know. I’m sure I’ve been on some teams that have had some tough stretches, but you know, you can feel bad for them now. Not when you’re playing for them.”