Chad Pinder

A's Robbie Grossman continues pinch-hitting brilliance with clutch triple

A's Robbie Grossman continues pinch-hitting brilliance with clutch triple

OAKLAND -- Most major leaguers will tell you that pinch-hitting is the hardest thing to do in baseball. You've been sitting in the dugout the entire game and now, all of a sudden, you're asked to come off the bench cold and take some hacks, usually in a critical situation.

Robbie Grossman doesn't seem awfully bothered by that challenge. The A's outfielder came through with a tiebreaking two-run triple Thursday afternoon -- capping a seven-run seventh inning -- as the A's rallied back from a 6-1 deficit to earn a thrilling 10-6 win over the Angels.

"We're never out of it," Grossman said after the game. "How many times this season has something like that occurred? This team is full of confidence and we never feel like we're out of it."

With two outs and runners on second and third in a 6-6 tie, Grossman entered the game in place of Chad Pinder. The Angels countered with a pitching change, summoning left-hander Adalberto Mejia to turn Grossman, a switch-hitter, around to the right side.

Grossman wasn't phased, jumping on the very first pitch, a 91 mph fastball, and driving it 407 feet to center field, over the head of a leaping Mike Trout.

"Pinch-hitting, you've got to be aggressive early," Grossman explained. "You're sitting on the bench the whole game and you've got to see where you're at on the first pitch. I put a good swing on it and luckily Mr. Trout didn't catch it."

Added A's manager Bob Melvin: "He was ready for it. He was aggressive coming off the bench with guys on base."

This wasn't Grossman's first clutch pinch-hit this season. Earlier this year, he launched a two-run home run in the eighth inning at Toronto to tie the game at two. For the season, Grossman is now 5-for-16 (.313) as a pinch-hitter with a home run, triple, double, four walks, and seven RBI.

"He's done it before," Melvin said. "Once you have some success with it, like he's had for us this year, then you feel good when you go up there. There's a time to be patient, which he's really good at -- leading off innings and so forth and drawing walks -- and there's a time to go up there and be aggressive, and he has a good feel for that, obviously."

Grossman was more humble about his success, explaining that it's all a learning experience.

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"I've been doing this for a while and I've failed a lot," he said. "(The key is) just staying confident. That's all you can do."

With the win, the A's completed a three-game sweep of the Angels and moved to 81-58 on the season, tied with Tampa Bay for the top AL wild-card spot. Oakland now welcomes the league-worst Detroit Tigers to the Coliseum beginning Friday.

A's vs. Yankees lineups: Sheldon Neuse hitting eighth in MLB debut

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A's vs. Yankees lineups: Sheldon Neuse hitting eighth in MLB debut

The A's will try to continue their mastery of the Yankees this weekend as the two clubs meet for the second time in just over a week.

Last week in Oakland, the A's completed a three-game sweep of the Bronx Bombers. Now they'll try their luck at Yankee Stadium.

24-year-old Sheldon Neuse will make his major-league debut after getting called up from Triple-A Las Vegas on Thursday. Neuse will serve as the designated hitter and bat eighth in the order. In 126 Triple-A games this year, he slashed .317/.389/.550 with 27 home runs and 102 RBI.

Robbie Grossman moves down to ninth in the lineup and will handle left field. Chad Pinder gets the start in right, batting fifth. Catcher Josh Phegley moves up to the six spot.

It will be a battle of southpaws on the hill, as veterans Brett Anderson and CC Sabathia square off to open the series. Anderson, 31, is seeking his 11th win of the season, which would match his career-high. He enters with a 4.08 ERA and 1.30 WHIP in 26 starts this year. He has struggled in his career against the Yankees, going 0-6 with a 6.86 ERA in eight starts.

Sabathia, 39, is winding down his final season in MLB. The Vallejo native is 5-8 with a 4.99 ERA and 1.41 WHIP in 19 starts. He has faced the A's a whopping 32 times in his career, going 11-12 with a 4.66 ERA.

[RELATED: A's can solidify championship contention in pivotal series vs. Yankees]

Here are the full lineups for the A's-Yankees game, which will be broadcast on NBC Sports California and the MyTeams app. Coverage begins at 3:30 p.m. PT, with first pitch at 4:05.

Oakland A's (77-56)
Marcus Semien, SS
Matt Chapman, 3B
Matt Olson, 1B
Mark Canha, CF
Chad Pinder, RF
Josh Phegley, C
Jurickson Profar, 2B
Sheldon Neuse, DH
Robbie Grossman, LF

Brett Anderson, LHP (10-9, 4.08 ERA)

New York Yankees (88-47)
DJ LeMahieu, 3B
Aaron Judge, RF
Gleyber Torres, 2B
Didi Gregorius, SS
Gary Sánchez, DH
Luke Voit, 1B
Brett Gardner, CF
Austin Romine, C
Mike Tauchman, LF

CC Sabathia, LHP (5-8, 4.99 ERA)

A's star Matt Chapman hit by pitch in head, leaves game vs. Royals

A's star Matt Chapman hit by pitch in head, leaves game vs. Royals

A's third baseman Matt Chapman briefly stayed in Wednesday's game against the Kansas City Royals after taking a pitch off his left ear, but he eventually exited after lining out in the second inning. 

Royals pitcher Jakob Junis' 90.7-mph sinker knocked Chapman's helmet off his head, and the A's star initially remained in the game. 

Chad Pinder replaced Chapman at third base in the bottom half of the second. 

[RELATED: How Harvey's minor league stint with A's could end soon]

Chapman, 26, is in the midst of his most productive season in his three-year big league career. He made the All-Star Game for the first time, and already has clubbed a career-high 30 home runs and 74 RBI. The 2014 first-round draft pick won the AL Platinum Glove as the league's best defender in 2018, and he led all AL infielders with 18 defensive runs saved (DRS) entering Wednesday. 

If Chapman has concussion symptoms, he first can be placed on the 7-day injured list. A source confirmed to NBC Sports California's Ben Ross on Wednesday that the A's are set to call up third baseman Shelden Neuse, the team's No. 8 prospect. Oakland would need to make a corresponding move to bring him on to the 40-man roster.