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.

A's Matt Chapman undergoes shoulder surgery, will swing again in six weeks

chapmanusatsi.jpg
USATSI

A's Matt Chapman undergoes shoulder surgery, will swing again in six weeks

Matt Chapman had his second surgery of the offseason on Friday and underwent a successful procedure on his left shoulder, the A's announced. 

The Gold Glove-winning third baseman will begin physical therapy next week, and is expected to be able to swing a bat in six weeks, according to Dr. William Workman, who performed the surgery. Six weeks from the surgery is Jan. 25, 2019, or about two weeks before the start of spring training. 

Chapman recently felt discomfort in his shoulder during off-season workouts, according to the A's. In October, Chapman underwent surgery on his left thumb, and was expected to make a full recovery. 

Chapman emerged as one of the most important A's last season, and arguably the best defender in baseball. He led all of MLB with 29 defensive runs saved, and was voted the winner of the AL Platinum Glove. 

The A's need his glove -- and his bat -- healthy for spring training, no matter how the rest of the offseason shakes out. 

A's in no hurry to sign starting pitchers as MLB free agency progresses

asbraintrustap.jpg
AP

A's in no hurry to sign starting pitchers as MLB free agency progresses

Right at the beginning of this offseason, A's executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane identified starting pitching as the club's top priority. General manager David Forst and manager Bob Melvin both echoed that sentiment.

So why has the team yet to add a single starting pitcher?

"I don't think there's a need to be knee-jerk right now because some of these guys will still be on the board till the end," Melvin said at the 2018 MLB Winter Meetings this week in Las Vegas. "Our guys have been pretty good about identifying the right fits here. So it doesn't look great right now as far as our rotation, but I think our guys have a pretty good handle on it."

Added Forst: "We have sort of targeted conversations, free agents and trades, and kind of go at our own pace. I don't know that any external forces are going to change that."

[RELATED: Sources: A's, Kelley's reps have 'positive dialogue']

The A's did meet with several agents at the winter meetings, and they remain interested in a handful of starters, including Edwin Jackson, Trevor Cahill and Brett Anderson from last year's squad.

But while some teams feel a sense of urgency to wheel and deal at the winter neetings, Oakland preferred to take a more cautious approach.

"There are certainly good things about being [at the winter meetings], but we also want to get out, look at what we've done in the light of day and make sure it's the right thing," Forst explained.

Said Beane: "Things don't always get done [at the winter meetings], but a lot of groundwork is laid and a lot of things happen right after."

That explanation might not satisfy fans, but the strategy has worked for Oakland in the past. Last year, the A's waited until March to sign Trevor Cahill and Brett Anderson. They didn't add Edwin Jackson until June.

Even if other teams go out and spend big money on starting pitchers, Oakland won't let that affect its negotiations.

"We kind of set our price," Forst said. "We know what we can do within the confines of our payroll and try to stay on that."

[RELATED: Former A's top pick goes No. 1 overall in Rule 5 Draft]

As for the current roster, the A's actually do already have five or six viable starters. Everyone in the organization agrees top prospect Jesús Luzardo is ready to pitch at the big-league level. Add Daniel Mengden, Frankie Montas, Chris Bassitt and Paul Blackburn, and you have a starting five.

The A's also recently acquired 25-year-old right-hander Tanner Anderson from the Pirates, and they expect him to compete for a rotation slot. 22-year-old righty Grant Holmes is another possibility.

Of course, some of Oakland's best pitchers are injured, though prospect A.J. Puk and Jharel Cotton should be able to return midway through the season.

"We feel really good about the depth we have," Melvin said. "Now, granted, a lot of these guys are hurt right now, and you never really know how you're going to respond. But there's a whole host of guys who are going to be back (between) spring training (and) the end of the year that we're really excited about."

That's not to say the A's will fail to add a few more starters to the mix, either through free agency or trade. It just might not happen as soon as fans would like.

But remember, it's a long offseason.