Athletics

Instant Replay: A's use Davis homer vs Astros to snap five-game skid

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AP

Instant Replay: A's use Davis homer vs Astros to snap five-game skid

BOX SCORE

HOUSTON – The clean game that manager Bob Melvin had been seeking from his team finally came Saturday night.

Andrew Triggs was excellent in rebounding from his rough previous start, and home runs from Jed Lowrie and Khris Davis powered the A’s 2-1 victory over the Astros. That snapped Oakland’s five-game losing streak, along with a 10-game losing streak against Houston.

A night after committing three errors, the A’s played mistake-free defense and got a couple of highlight-reel plays in support of Triggs (4-1), who blanked the Astros over a career-high seven innings and set a new career high with nine strikeouts.

Lowrie, facing the team with which he’s spent two separate stints, launched a homer off the facing of the second deck in right field in the fourth to break a scoreless tie. Davis padded the lead in the eighth with his signature opposite-field prowess, clearing the wall in right for his third homer of the series and 10th of the season, tying the Yankees’ Aaron Judge for the American League lead.

But it all started with Triggs, who won his first three starts but gave up six runs against Seattle last weekend. He ate up seven innings and turned it over to his bullpen.

Jose Altuve homered off Sean Doolittle in the eighth to cut the A’s lead to 2-1, but Santiago Casilla closed it out in the ninth for his fourth save.

Starting pitching report

Triggs retired 10 in a row to finish his outing, but the key to the early part of his night was stranding runners. He wiggled out of a one-out jam with men on second and third in the first inning, striking out Carlos Correa and Carlos Beltran. He stranded runners on first and second in the third, then got another big strikeout to end the fourth with a man on third. Before Saturday, Triggs hadn’t recorded an out in the seventh inning of a game he’d started in the majors.

Bullpen report

Casilla gave up Beltran’s infield single to lead off the ninth. But after a replay reversal negated an A’s double play, Casilla ended it by getting Brian McCann to hit into a 4-6-3 double play.

At the plate

Two big swings of the bat were all it took for the A’s to notch their first win in five games of this three-city road trip. Lowrie, who came in hitting .375 over his previous eight games, hit a towering shot to right off Joe Musgrove (1-2) for his second homer of the season. Then Davis did his thing, blasting a shot to the opposite field for his 10th homer of April. He had just nine homers in 83 career April games entering this season.

In the field

There was no shortage of highlight plays turned in defensively. Jaff Decker, starting in right field, made a perfect throw from near the warning track to nail Carlos Beltran trying to tag up on a fly ball in the fourth. The next inning, former Athletic Josh Reddick fired a strike to home to nail Chad Pinder trying to score from second on Lowrie’s single. But the A’s got Reddick right back when first baseman Yonder Alonso made a leaping grab on Reddick’s liner headed for right field.

Attendance

The announced crowd was 32,147.

Up next

The A’s face a tough task in Sunday’s series finale, going against lefty Dallas Keuchel (4-0, 1.22). He’s the first pitcher in Astros history to go seven-plus innings and allow two or fewer runs in each of his first five starts. Jesse Hahn (1-1, 2.08) takes the ball for Oakland. First pitch is 11:10 a.m.

A's fall out of AL West contention thanks to walk-off loss to Mariners

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AP

A's fall out of AL West contention thanks to walk-off loss to Mariners

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SEATTLE -- Pinch-hitter Chris Herrmann's two-run homer in the 11th inning gave the Seattle Mariners a 10-8 win over Oakland on Tuesday night, clinching the AL West for Houston and leaving the Athletics with a wild-card matchup against the New York Yankees.

Seattle overcame an 8-5 eighth-inning deficit and dropped the A's 2 1/2 games behind the Yankees for home-field advantage in the Oct. 3 winner-take-all matchup. Oakland had been 68-0 when leading after seven innings.

Denard Span hit a two-run double off Fernando Rodney in the eighth.

Blake Treinen was one strike from closing out his 38th save in the ninth, but Nelson Cruz punched a two-out single, Ryon Healy reached when third baseman Matt Chapman bobbled his grounder for an error and Kyle Seager hit an RBI single. Treinen had allowed just one hit in his previous 13 appearances.

Ben Gamel walked with one out in the 11th against Emilio Pagan (3-1), and Herrmann batted for Andrew Romine and sent an 0-1 fastball out to deep right-center field.

Alex Colome (7-5) pitched the 11th for the victory.

A day after clinching no worse than a wild-card berth, Oakland took a 6-3 lead in the first two innings off Mike Leake. Nick Martini had a two-run triple and Matt Joyce a two-run single off Leake, and Marcus Semien added his 14th home run leading off the fifth inning. But the A's went scoreless after Matt Olson's RBI double in the sixth inning.

HELLO AGAIN

Edwin Diaz, the major league leader in saves, pitched the 10th for Seattle. Diaz had not pitched since Sept. 17, when he collected his 56th save.

PLAYOFF PLANS

Oakland manager Bob Melvin said the priority in the coming days will be making sure the A's regulars get a chance at some rest so they are fresh when the postseason begins. Melvin indicated getting his guys rest would take priority over trying to chase down the Yankees in an attempt to have the wild(equals)card game at home and not in New York. The A's gave Khris Davis and Stephen Piscotty the night off on Tuesday.

"There is definitely a balance to this but I think the depth of our team allows us to be confident with who we give a day off to, whether it's in the lineup or in the bullpen," Melvin said. "But it is important at this point if time in the season that once we get to the postseason that guys are fresh. It's just as much of a mental grind as it is a physical grind too. One of the strengths of our team is we use all our guys."

The one guy that may not get any rest is Matt Olson, who has a chance at playing in 162 games. Melvin said he probably won't start Olson at least one game against the Angels this weekend but will do what he can to make sure Olson reaches his goal of playing in every regular season game.

As for pitching, Melvin said the staff hasn't figured out who would pitch this weekend against the Angels, let alone in a wild card game.

"We're leaving everything open," Melvin said.

UP NEXT

Athletics: RHP Edwin Jackson (6-3) makes his 17th start since joining the A's on June 25. Jackson has a 3.18 ERA in his 16 starts, the fourth lowest in the American League during that stretch.

Mariners: RHP Felix Hernandez (8-13) makes what is likely his last start of the season. Hernandez will finish the year with a career-worst ERA (currently 5.46) and the 13 losses are one shy of his career-high.

A's locked into AL Wild Card Game vs. Yankees after loss to Mariners

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AP

A's locked into AL Wild Card Game vs. Yankees after loss to Mariners

Seattle Mariners catcher Chris Herrmann walked off the A's on Tuesday with a two-run homer, and locked Oakland into its playoff seeding in the process. 

The loss, coupled with the Houston Astros' win against the Blue Jays, eliminated the A's from contention in the American League West. As a result, Oakland will play the New York Yankees in the wild card game on Oct. 3. The winner will advance to play the Boston Red Sox in the American League Division Series.

So the A's know who they will play, but they don't know where they will play. Oakland trails the Bronx Bombers by 2.5 games for home-field advantage in the play-in game, and New York's magic number is down to two.

The Yankees will have five chances to clinch, while the A's only have four games remaining. As Ben Ross wrote earlier this week, New York holds the tiebreaker, but home-field isn't a shoo-in for advancement. Since the introduction of the wild card game in 2012, AL road teams are exactly .500 (3-3).