Athletics

Instant Replay: A's walk off on Tigers with Healy's two-run homer

Instant Replay: A's walk off on Tigers with Healy's two-run homer

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND — All the ill-timed mistakes the A’s made Sunday simply set the stage for another dramatic comeback victory.

Ryon Healy hit a towering two-run homer in the ninth and the A’s beat the Detroit Tigers 8-6, getting the best of closer Francisco Rodriguez for the second time in less than 24 hours.

Oakland trailed by a run entering the bottom of the ninth. But Rajai Davis drew a leadoff walk and Jed Lowrie’s double to left-center tied the game. After Khris Davis lined out, Healy hit a 1-0 pitch to left that appeared it might never come down. It finally did, on the other side of the left field wall, and the A’s stormed the field to celebrate, just as they did in Saturday night’s ninth-inning victory.

It was the second walk-off hit of Healy’s career. He also won a game last July 23 with a homer against Tampa Bay. As Healy rounded third and saw his teammates waiting for him at home plate, he flung his helmet high in the air and headed for home.

After a 2-7 road trip, the A’s rallied twice to take this three-game series and begin this six-game homestand on a high note.

Starting pitching report

When the A’s staked Sonny Gray to a 4-1 lead after four innings, it seemed he might be on his way to his first victory since July 26. But he never made it out of the fifth as the Tigers came right back with three runs to tie it. The Tigers got their first run in the third when Nicholas Castellanos’ check-swing double down the right-field line scored Dixon Machado. Gray was victimized by more tough luck in the fifth, as Machado’s infield dribbler went for a single and Andrew Romine reached on Yonder Alonso’s fielding error to help set the table for Detroit.

But Gray couldn’t shut the door in an inning that saw him throw 36 pitches. With two outs, Miguel Cabrera lined a run-scoring single, then Victor Martinez ended an 11-pitch battle by singling against the shift to left field to score another run and make it 4-3. That was it for Gray, who left after 4 2/3 innings and 98 pitches. Just one of his four runs was earned.

Bullpen report

Ryan Dull’s wild pitch in the fifth allowed the tying run to score, then he gave up James McCann’s two-run homer that gave Detroit a 6-5 lead. But the A’s also got big performances from rookie Bobby Wahl, who threw two scoreless innings, and Santiago Casilla, who held Detroit off the board in the ninth.

At the plate

After delivering Saturday night’s walk-off hit, Adam Rosales got things going for the A’s on Sunday with a run-scoring double in the third. Rajai Davis scored him with his own double and Oakland led 2-1. That lead grew to 4-1 in the fourth when Yonder Alonso continued his torrid pace with a two-run homer to right field. In six games in May, Alonso has hit five homers and has driven in 10 runs. Just 31 games into the season, he’s already tied his career-high of nine home runs that he set in 2012 with the Padres. Trevor Plouffe’s RBI single in the fifth gave the A’s a 5-4 lead after Detroit had tied it.

In the field

The A’s chalked up two more errors in this one, giving them a major league-high 30 for the season. Those miscues have also led to 24 unearned runs, which also tops the majors. Rosales’ throwing error in the second didn’t hurt, but Alonso booted a grounder in the fifth that aided the Tigers’ three-run rally.

Attendance

The announced crowd was 23,227.

Up next

The A’s meet the Los Angeles Angels for the third time in the season’s first six weeks. Monday — Kendall Graveman (2-2, 3.95) vs. Ricky Nolasco (2-2, 4.68), 7:05 p.m. Tuesday — Jharel Cotton (3-3, 4.64) vs. Alex Meyer (0-1, 9.39), 7:05 p.m. Wednesday — Andrew Triggs (4-2, 2.34) vs. Jesse Chavez (2-4, 4.46), 12:35 p.m. All three games will air on NBC Sports California.

Here are three questions facing A's as 2019 season opens Vs. Mariners

Here are three questions facing A's as 2019 season opens Vs. Mariners

The A's and Mariners are officially just hours away from opening the MLB season in Japan. For those die-hard fans (and insomniacs) who plan to stay up all night to watch the game, here are four questions to keep an eye on:

Who bats third?

Jed Lowrie's departure leaves a huge hole in the middle of the A's lineup. Oakland has a few candidates to fill that void, including newly-acquired second baseman Jurickson Profar. However, Stephen Piscotty and Matt Olson are probably the best options at this point.

With the A's facing left-hander Marco Gonzales in the season opener, expect to see the right-handed hitting Piscotty batting third. If he performs well, it could be his job to lose, though Olson figures to get some opportunities against right-handed pitchers, at least early in the year.

Who starts at catcher?

The A's also lost their starting catcher from last season as Jonathan Lucroy signed with the rival Angels. With Chris Herrmann injured, the starting job will go to either Nick Hundley or Josh Phegley, both of whom performed well in spring training.

Hundley figures to have the edge to start the season due to his better offensive numbers over the years. The 35-year-old has a career OPS of .706, compared to Phegley's .635.

Is Mike Fiers ready to be a number one starter?  

Fiers gets the honor of starting on Opening Day. The 33-year-old is coming off the best season of his career, going 12-8 with a 3.56 ERA between Detroit and Oakland in 2018. He was rewarded with a two-year, $14.1 million contract this offseason.

Throughout his career, Fiers has primarily been a fourth or fifth starter. This year he finally has his chance to be an ace. The right-hander certainly has the right mindset to handle any added pressure, but the A's would like to see him get off to a good start.

A's players talk crushing sushi, baseballs in Japan for Opening Series

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USATSI

A's players talk crushing sushi, baseballs in Japan for Opening Series

What does a professional baseball team do when traveling to Japan?

It’s pretty simple for the Oakland A's, who are currently there to open up the 2019 regular season against the Seattle Mariners on March 20 and 21.

-Eat sushi
-Play baseball
-Eat more sushi

The A’s have already played two exhibition games against teams from Japan, and the Japanese crowds are loving the Green and Gold.

A “Let’s go Oakland!” chant even broke out in the middle of a game.

If you feel so inclined to cheer on the A's during their two regular season games in Japan, there will be a watch party (not so) bright and early for first pitch at 2:35 a.m. PT