After a short road trip to Seattle, the Oakland Athletics returned home for a two series homestand beginning with a three game set against the Detroit Tigers. After losing six of their past seven games, Oakland looks to bounce back and make up ground in the AL West. It is time to recap the three game series.
Game 1: Fulmer vs. Manaea
After coming off a rough start against the New York Yankees in which he allowed five earned runs. However, Manaea was able to make great improvements this time around against the strong Tigers lineup.
Manaea started off strong with a one-two-three top of the first. But he got himself into a jam in the second inning by giving up two consecutive hits to start off the inning. He worked out of this by striking out two of the next three batters and the Tigers stranded Victor Martinez and Nick Castellanos to end the inning.
Meanwhile, through the first three innings, Oakland only had one hit; a single by Khris Davis.
The fourth inning saw Manaea allowing three consecutive hits to Justin Upton, Cameron Maybin, and James McCann. The Tigers took a 2-0 lead. This was followed by a shutdown inning from Michael Fulmer.
Although Manaea stayed strong through five innings, he threw a mistake pitch to Castellanos which resulted in a solo home run.
The Athletics offense continued to struggle and they were not able to give Manaea enough run support. In fact, they remained hitless up until the eighth inning when Chris Coghlan hit a two out single. They were unable to score until the ninth inning courtesy of an RBI triple by Jed Lowrie. This was the only run scored by the Athletics during the entire game.
Unfortunately this was not enough for Manaea, who left with a line of 6 IP 9 H 3 ER 4 K. However, this start was a significant improvement from his previous starts. He looks as if he is getting more comfortable on the mound and he is controlling the game slowly as he progresses. He is making less mistakes on the mound; unfortunately, the Athletics offense was unable give him support.
Tigers win 4-1.
Game 2: Boyd vs. Hahn
Detroit called up Matt Boyd to make his first start of the season facing Jesse Hahn. Previously, Boyd had only made one appearance this season, although he made 12 starts last season. Similar to Manaea, Hahn returned to the mound after a rough start against the Yankees.
Oakland was first on the board with a solo home run by Billy Butler. Butler has been struggling the most out of all of the Athletics hitters. It has been painful to watch him out on the field and at bat this season, especially considering the contract he was given prior to last season. However, Butler’s first home run of the season displayed the amount of power he is capable of.
Oakland continued to show their strength at the plate with a deep home run to center field by Danny Valencia. Six of Valencia’s seven home runs have cleared 400 feet. He continues to prove that he can hold his own against other third basemen and continues to ease the pain of not having Josh Donaldson.
The game became very interesting in sixth inning as there were seven runs scored between the two teams. With Miguel Cabrera on first base, Victor Martinez took Hahn’s pitch deep to right center to tie up the game 3-3.
The Athletics quickly responded in the bottom of the sixth as they got five consecutive hits off relief pitcher Warwick Saupold. One of these hits, a Butler single that drove in two runs, gave the Athletics a 5-3 lead. Although Butler was replaced for a pinch runner, he exited the game with a well-deserved standing ovation. He had his best game of the season so hopefully he is able to continue this type of swinging.
A Marcus Semien double and a Jake Smolinksi sacrifice fly added two more runs to the scoreboard to make it 7-3. After a pitching substitution, Coco Crisp drove in the last run of the inning with a single to left that brought in Semien.
Jesse Hahn left the game after putting up a line of 6 IP 5 H 3 ER 5 K. Hahn is being more consistent on the mound and he is slowly solidifying his spot on the starting rotation.
The runs kept coming in even after the sixth inning was over. Jed Lowrie led off the inning with a single. This was followed by a Danny Valencia single that moved over Lowrie. With Khris Davis up, reliever Alex Wilson’s pitch was crushed to left center field. Davis’s 14 home run of the season brought him up to fourth place in home run leaders. He continues to have a great power hitting month and will continue to give pitchers fear while he is at bat.
Jake Smolinksi brought in the final run of the game in the seventh inning with an RBI double. He finished off an impressive performance by the Athletics offense.
Fernando Rodriguez, Mark Rzepcynski, and Zach Neal each pitched scoreless innings to finish off the Tigers.
Athletics win 12-3.
Game 3: Pelfrey vs. Hill
During the rubber game of the series, Mike Pelfrey and Rich Hill performed very well on the mound. However, some fielding mistakes made all the difference this game.
Rich Hill began the game by striking out the side. He continued to show his dominance throughout the game even after he allowed two runs in the second and third inning. He did not allow these runs to ruin his momentum as he finished with a line of 6.1 IP 5 H 2 ER 9 K. He lowered his ERA to 2.25 and continues to make an argument for an All Star roster spot.
However, Pelfrey also had an outstanding performance on the mound as well. He kept the Athletics scoreless through five innings. Oakland was unable to figure out Pelfrey as they only had four baserunners up until the sixth inning.
In the sixth inning, after Stephen Vogt grounded out into a double play, the Athletics began their two out rally. Following a single by Danny Valencia, Khris Davis singled to center field which moved Valencia to third. Yonder Alonso then hit a ground ball to Ian Kinsler; but, Kinsler lifted his head too soon and allowed the ball to slip by him. What could have been the third out of the inning actually turned into a run scored by Valencia. Pelfrey then threw a wild pitch, which ultimately led to a Marcus Semien walk. Following a pitching change, Bob Melvin decided to pinch hit Billy Butler for Chris Coghlan. Billy Butler continued his hot streak by hitting a bloop single to center field which Cameron Maybin should have caught if he did not play it terribly. Butler added two more RBIs to his stats with his hit and was immediately removed for defenses purposes.
Although Rich Hill had a stellar performance, his outing was unfortunately cut short in the middle of an at bat after he felt some discomfort in his leg. After an extended look, he did not appear to be in too much pain, but it was a good idea to remove him for safety precautions.
The Athletics bullpen was able to takeover for Hill by not allowing a run.
Reliever Ryan Madson was inserted in the eighth inning and was able to throw a quality inning by not allowing a base runner. His last appearance included two earned runs and was his worst game so far. However, he was able to return back to form with this performance against J.D. Martinez, Miguel Cabrera, and Victor Martinez.
Oakland was able to add on one more insurance run in the eighth inning courtesy of a Jake Smolinski pop fly. Sean Doolittle was able to close out the game as the Athletics took two out of three against the Tigers.
Athletics win 4-2
The Athletics will face the Minnesota Twins for a three game home series before they head out on an eight game road trip. The Detroit Tigers will wrap up their road trip with a three game series against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
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