Athletics

Instant Replay: A's score eight late, hold off Giants 13-11

smolinski-hr-giants-june28-ap.jpg

Instant Replay: A's score eight late, hold off Giants 13-11

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — The A’s won a game that their offense simply refused to lose Tuesday night.

With both teams’ bullpens basically unable to hold any kind of lead, the A’s outlasted the Giants 13-11 in a game that tied the highest-scoring game in Bay Bridge Series history.

The A’s overcame two separate three-run deficits and their own bullpen implosion in the sixth inning. In the end, Ryan Madson gutted his way through 43 pitches to cover the final two innings and ensure Oakland captured the first two games of this four-game set against their cross-bay rivals.

The teams combined for 30 hits and burned through 12 relievers in the 3-hour, 53-minute marathon.

Jake Smolinski, summoned off the bench in the eighth, delivered a pinch-hit three-run homer to put the A’s ahead for good, 9-8. But the A’s hitters didn't stop there, and that was probably the wise course of action on this night. They scored eight runs total over the final two innings.

That continued a stretch that has seen the A’s score 46 runs over their past six games (7.67 per game).

The A’s trailed 4-1, then went ahead 5-4, before relievers John Axford and Marc Rzepczynski gave up four runs in the bottom of the sixth. Brandon Crawford’s three-run triple gave the Giants an 8-5 lead.

Last season, the teams also combined for 24 runs in a game won 14-10 by the Giants at the Coliseum.

Starting pitching report:
Riding some momentum from back-to-back strong starts entering the night, Kendall Graveman didn’t fool Giants hitters in this one. They knocked him around for nine hits and four runs over five innings. Crawford’s two-run double put San Francisco ahead in the third. But Graveman was hurt by a failure to get a shutdown inning in the fourth, a problem that has bit him often this season. After Khris Davis’ homer pulled the A’s to within a run at 2-1 in the top of the fourth, Graveman gave two runs back in the bottom half. In fairness, Angel Pagan’s two-run single was a routine ground ball that found a hole. But it was preceded by two singles and a walk.

Bullpen report:
Madson hadn’t completed a two-inning outing since Sept. 29, 2009, and the fact that manager Bob Melvin asked so much of the 35-year-old points to a physical issue of some sort hindering Sean Doolittle, who hasn’t pitched since Saturday.

When all was said and done, Madson had thrown 43 pitches. He also recorded his first at-bat since 2010, striking out in the top of the ninth.

Axford is going through his roughest patch of the season by far. Over the last seven games, he’s allowed nine earned runs and 12 hits in just 3 1/3 innings for an ERA of 24.32 in that span.

At the plate:
The A’s erased two separate three-run deficits in this one, and two of their biggest hits came in the pinch. Billy Butler singled home two runs to put Oakland ahead 5-4 in the sixth. In the eighth, Smolinski worked the count to 2-2 off lefty Javier Lopez and then smoked a three-run homer into the left-field seats, his first career pinch homer. Entering the night, the A’s had been hitless in their previous nine pinch-hit at-bats.

Another huge moment was delivered by Stephen Vogt, who was dropped from third to sixth in the order with Josh Reddick’s return from the disabled list Tuesday. It was Vogt’s two-run double off George Kontos in the sixth that pulled the A’s to within 4-3 and snapped Oakland’s offense to life.

Davis’ homer was his 19th of the season. The A’s finished with 12 hits, continuing their team-wide hot streak that’s seen them score at least six runs in each of the last five games.

In the field:
In a game where offense dominated, Giants center fielder Denard Span delivered the defensive highlight of the night, making a lunging catch in right-center to rob Yonder Alonso in the eighth.

Attendance:
The announced turnout was 41,740.

Up next:
The series shifts to the Coliseum on Wednesday, as A’s rookie Sean Manaea (2-4, 6.02) is set to come off the DL for his first start since June 13. He’ll match up against Jake Peavy (4-6, 5.22). First pitch is 7:05 p.m.

Dontrelle Willis hilariously reacts to Steve Bartman cutout at A's-Mariners

Dontrelle Willis hilariously reacts to Steve Bartman cutout at A's-Mariners

Of all the cardboard cutouts present at T-Mobile Park for the A's series in Seattle this past weekend against the Mariners, one seemed to stand out. In left field, Steve Bartman, the Chicago Cubs fan who became famous for reaching for a foul ball during an NLCS game against the Florida Marlins in 2003, a game Chicago went on to lose, was right there in the front row.

NBC Sports California analyst Dontrelle Willis was a member of that Marlins squad that went on to win the 2003 World Series, and says he and Moises Alou, the Cubs outfielder who was kept from catching the ball by Bartman, still aren't on the best of terms.

[RELATED: What you might have missed in A's gritty win over Mariners]

"Everytime I see Moises he wants to fight me," Willis quipped Sunday night on Twitter.

Willis was part of the Marlins' rotation from 2003-07, and was named the NL's Rookie of the Year in that season after going 14-6 with a 3.30 ERA.

MLB teams have had to employ cardboard cutouts of fans in lieu of the real thing, as no spectators will be permitted at games during the abbreviated 2020 season as result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Fans have to appreciate that MLB teams like the Mariners are trying to have a little fun in what has been an up-and-down season to say the least.

[BALK TALK: Listen to the latest episode]

A's Chris Bassitt, Austin Allen's quick bond creating success on mound

A's Chris Bassitt, Austin Allen's quick bond creating success on mound

Chris Bassitt’s stellar outing in the A's 3-2 win over the Seattle Mariners on Sunday almost wasn’t. But we’ll let the first inning be just a memory.

“I told myself after the first inning, I’m like ‘All right, you may be a little wild today, but don’t walk guys, make them earn everything,’ and it obviously smoothed itself out,” Bassitt told reporters in the postgame interview. 

Bassitt hit J.P. Crawford in the first with a curveball. After Dylan Moore hit into a fielder's choice and stole second, he came around to score on a single by Daniel Vogelbach.

Bassitt's performance more than smoothed itself out, and he had the help of rookie catcher Austin Allen in the process. In 5 2/3 innings, Bassitt allowed just one earned run, three hits and struck out seven. 

“Austin kind of guided me through the first inning and [got] going from there,” Bassitt said. “After the second inning, I just kind of felt myself out and I was kind of locked in from there on out." 

Allen came to the A's an offseason trade with the San Diego Padres for Jurickson Profar. And while he’s the new guy, Allen was able to form a bond with Bassitt quicker than usual. 

“Me and Austin spent a lot of time together over the last -- I would say two, three weeks just getting to know one another, talking about what I like, what I don’t like,” Bassitt said. “Obviously, a new catcher coming in, he’s got to learn basically me -- he’s got to learn who I am mentally, who I am physically, what I can and can’t do.

"I think we’re still learning each other, but at the same time, I think a lot more ahead of what we should be just because, again -- me and [Sean Murphy] are on the same page, and I think Austin’s done a great job of learning who I am.”

[BALK TALK: Listen to the latest episode]
 

The fifth inning came fast, but before Bassitt was pulled, he wanted to make it count against Mariners rookie outfielder Kyle Lewis, who is hitting .425 with three home runs this season. 

Bassitt glanced over to the bullpen to see A’s reliever T.J. McFarland warming up, knowing Vogelbach was about to come to the plate. He had an internal message for Lewis. 

“All right, if you’re going to hit me, you’re going to hit my best pitch, so uh … here we go,” Bassitt explained. “So yeah, I knew that was my last batter.”

[RELATED: Luzardo to make first big-league start next week]

Bassitt struck Lewis out.

And Bassitt continues to improve.

A’s manager Bob Melvin said Bassitt was fantastic and “seems to get better every time out.”