Instant Replay: Semien drives in three in A's win over Brewers


Instant Replay: Semien drives in three in A's win over Brewers


OAKLAND — The A’s finally broke through offensively Tuesday, and they found an opponent that was all too willing to help their cause.

The Milwaukee Brewers didn’t play their sharpest game defensively, aiding the A’s 5-3 victory in the opener of a two-game series at the Coliseum.

Oakland scored as many runs Tuesday as it had in its previous four games combined. Marcus Semien had three hits and drove in three runs as the A’s won for just the fifth time in 17 games in June.

Semien, who entered the night in a 0-for-15 rut, came up clutch twice with two outs, singling in the tying run in the sixth and tripling in two more runs during a go-ahead rally in the seventh. But Milwaukee chipped in with an error from shortstop Jonathan Villar that helped the seventh-inning rally. Semien’s triple was a looper to left-center that should have only scored one, but the ball somehow got by both Ryan Braun and Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Semien wound up with a two-run triple.

Earlier that inning, Nieuwenhuis had Stephen Vogt’s deep drive to right-center pop out of his glove for a triple, though it was a difficult play. The Brewers stunted one of their own rallies in the seventh when Martin Maldonado was doubled off second on a baserunning error.

Regardless, the A’s are looking to pocket some victories any way they can, and Semien’s night at the plate, combined with some nice bullpen work in relief of Sonny Gray helped the A’s win just their third game out of eight on this nine-game homestand.

Starting pitching report:
It didn’t get him a victory, but Gray’s solid outing was nonetheless a step in the right direction for the A’s ace. He went six innings and gave up two runs on seven hits, walked one and struck out seven, which tied his season high. He found particular success with a curve that had Brewers hitters lunging for all night. It was a 2-2 game when he left at 100 pitches following the sixth, so Gray is still looking for his first victory since April 22, a span of eight starts.

Bullpen report:
Ryan Dull continues to shine, perhaps emerging as the A’s top All-Star candidate. He entered in the eighth in place of John Axford, with a runner on second, no outs and Oakland ahead 5-3. Dull retired three straight batters and stranded the runner at third, making him now 30-for-30 in stranding inherited runners in 2016. Ryan Madson nailed down the save.

At the plate:
When Vogt’s slow roller to short scored Max Muncy in the fifth, it snapped a 19-inning scoreless streak for the A’s. Even more indicative of their recent offensive struggles, that rally snapped a 13-inning streak in which Oakland hadn’t advanced a runner as far as third base.

In the sixth, a passed ball moved Khris Davis into scoring position, and Marcus Semien eventually drove him in with a two-out single to right that tied it 2-2. Semien would come through again in the seventh with his two-run triple as the A’s extended their lead to 5-2, which almost felt lopsided considering the A’s recent struggles.

In the field:
One of Gray’s runs was unearned due to his own throwing error on a pickoff to first in the sixth. That helped Milwaukee command a 2-1 lead at the time.

The announced turnout was 14,810.

Up next:
Random factoid for the day — Daniel Mengden (0-2, 2.25) is making his third career start Wednesday, and all will be in afternoon games. He’ll oppose Junior Guerra (3-1, 3.81) in a 12:35 p.m. matchup that will close this nine-game homestand.

CC Sabathia hosts 52 Oakland Boys & Girls Club kids at A's-Yankees game

CC Sabathia hosts 52 Oakland Boys & Girls Club kids at A's-Yankees game

OAKLAND -- New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia welcomed 52 kids from the Boys & Girls Club of Oakland to the Coliseum on Tuesday night for the A's-Yankees game.

The Vallejo native is winding down his 19th and final season in the majors. The 39-year-old has been hosting Boys & Girls Club kids on the road at each of his final stops in the American League.

"It's been a lot of fun to get in front of these kids," Sabathia told NBC Sports California. "With me growing up in Vallejo and being a Boys & Girls Club kid, knowing what those kids are going through, I think it will be a lot of fun to be able to get in front of them and have a conversation."

Sabathia was part of the Continentals of Omega Boys & Girls Club in Vallejo from the first grade through the eighth grade. Now he relishes the opportunity to give back to today's youngsters.

"I just wanted to do something special for the kids," Sabathia said. "I grew up a Boys & Girls Club kid. My first experience at a baseball game was with the Boys & Girls Club. Hopefully, we can have that for some of these kids around the country."

Sabathia has a career record of 251-160 with a 3.73 ERA and 1.26 WHIP. He won the 2007 Cy Young Award, is six-time All-Star and has a strong case to reach the Baseball Hall of Fame.

[RELATED: Why Bailey's splitter is so critical to his success]

Though he now lives in New Jersey, Sabathia's family still resides in the Bay Area and he says he will always consider the East Bay home.

"It's always fun to be able to come here," he smiled. "I come here a lot, whether it's Oracle Arena to watch the Warriors, being here to watch the Raiders, or playing here against the A's. It's my home stadium."

A's Homer Bailey relies on splitter in shutting down mighty Yankees

A's Homer Bailey relies on splitter in shutting down mighty Yankees

OAKLAND -- When Homer Bailey dominated the Giants his last time out, it was certainly impressive, but it came with the caveat of facing a weak lineup. There was no such caveat Tuesday night.

Bailey shut down the league-leading New York Yankees for 5 2/3 innings, allowing just one run with eight strikeouts, as the A's took the series opener, 6-2. Most notably, seven of Bailey's eight strikeouts came on his splitter.

"I thought he was great," said A's manager Bob Melvin. "He had a really good split again tonight. It keeps you off balance. He can go up top with his heater and the breaking ball is just enough. It was another night where he had a really good split. It pairs off his fastball really well."

Bailey, 33, utilized the split early and often, throwing it on 32 of his 108 pitches. The right-hander made the powerful Bronx Bombers look silly, chasing pitches well out of the zone.

"It was (working well)," Bailey said. "I think just kind of understanding how I need to throw it -- the pressure points and the speeds -- it's just something that's been working really well for me and it's complemented by the other pitches."

Bailey's splitter was effective his last start against the Giants as well, resulting in three strikeouts, two groundouts, and a flyout, without a single hit.

"It looks pretty nasty," said A's first baseman Matt Olson, who went 2-for-3 with his 26th home run of the season. "The guys I've talked to say it's pretty good. It looks like a true tumble splitter, which is definitely a tough pitch to hit. Not many people have the true split. He was obviously on tonight."

When Bailey's splitter is on, it also makes his other pitches more effective. He fooled several Yankees hitters with his fastball because it comes out of the same arm slot as the split.

Said Melvin: "It allows him to pitch up and down. He can elevate with his fastball and the split kind of comes out of the same plane. Then he can throw his slider and sinker and kind of go side to side just enough. When he's throwing strikes and getting ahead and he has that pitch, as we've seen since he's been here, he can be a tough customer."

[RELATED: Melvin, A's unafraid to use rookie pitcher Puk in big spot]

The A's have now won five of Bailey's seven starts since acquiring him from the Reds. His last two outings were probably his best and should go a long way toward keeping him in the starting rotation for the rest of the season.