Athletics 9, Diamondbacks 5
Matt Chapman went 3-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored and Jed Lowrie went 2-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored as the Oakland Athletics defeated the host Arizona Diamondbacks, 9-5, Monday evening.
The top of the Athletics batting order went a collective 8-for-20 with seven RBI, eight runs scored, and three walks. That, combined with some Diamondbacks mistakes, forced struggling Diamondbacks starter Madison Bumgarner into another short outing. He allowed six runs, all earned, on seven hits and three walks in 4 2/3 innings. To add insult to injury, he added a throwing error on what should have been an easy pickoff play. That ultimately led to three runs, turning a so-so start into another clunker.
Athletics Take Early Lead over Diamondbacks
The Athletics took a lead over the Diamondbacks in the first inning, as left fielder Mark Canha hit a leadoff double and stole third. This allowed him to score two hitters later on an RBI groundout by Lowrie, the second baseman. In the third, the lead swelled to 3-0. Canha led off with a walk and advanced to second on a single by center fielder Ramon Laureano. Lowrie followed with a double that scored both, although Laureano’s run brought some controversy. Shortly after rounding third, his helmet started to come off. Laureano, while running full speed, tried to put it back on, but it flew off. It hit Diamondbacks catcher Stephen Vogt shortly before Nick Ahmed’s relay throw arrived. Vogt, reeling from the helmet hitting him, missed Ahmed’s throw, allowing Lowrie to advance to third.
Although Laureano crossed the plate before the helmet hit Vogt, the incident is what allowed Lowrie to advance to third. Vogt made that claim to plate umpire David Rackley, but the umpiring crew allowed Lowrie’s advance to third to stand. “My argument was that the helmet hit me right as I was about to catch the ball,” Vogt said after the game. “The explanation I heard was that the helmet needed to hit the ball intentionally for there to be interference.” He continued, “Fortunately, the extra runner didn’t score.” That happened because Bumgarner settled down and retired the next three hitters, leaving Lowrie stranded on third.
Diamondbacks Claw Back, but Rough Fifth Extends Lead
Bumgarner and center fielder Tim Locastro led off the bottom of the third with a pair of walks. They scored on a single by Kole Calhoun and sacrifice fly by first baseman Asdrubal Cabrera, cutting the deficit to 3-2. Unfortunately for the Diamondbacks, the top of the fifth wiped out their efforts. With one out, Laureano drew a walk and advanced to second on a single by Lowrie, up next. As Matt Olson — the next hitter — batted, Bumgarner fooled the trigger-happy Laureano with a pickoff move. Bumgarner stepped off as Laureano broke for third — the beginnings of a rundown. But Bumgarner’s throw to third went behind Escobar, an allegory for how Bumgarner’s recent outings have gone.
The errant throw allowed the runners to advance to second and third with one out instead of having a runner on second with two outs. Olson ultimately flied to left. The throwing error turned what would have been the third out into a sacrifice fly. Chapman came up next and hit a no-doubt home run, scoring Lowrie and giving the Athletics a 6-2 lead.
Another Comeback Attempt Comes up Short
The Diamondbacks loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the fifth. They left the inning empty-handed when Cabrera popped to first on the first pitch and left fielder David Peralta flied to his counterpart. However, they narrowed the deficit in the sixth and seventh. In the sixth, second baseman Josh VanMeter led off with a triple. He scored two batters later on a groundout to short by shortstop Nick Ahmed. In the seventh, a two-out single by Calhoun and double by Cabrera made the score 6-4. A single by left fielder David Peralta brought Cabrera home and made the score 6-5.
That was all they managed for the rest of the game. On top of that, the Athletics plated a run in the eighth off Kevin Ginkel and two more in the ninth off Stefan Crichton.
Bumgarner was frank about his outing after the game. “It (wasn’t) very good,” he explained. “I’ve got to give us a lot better chance than I’ve been doing.” What exactly is wrong can’t fully be pinpointed. It’s “a little bit of everything here and there — just depends on which game you point at. Nothing has been consistent for me. I haven’t been able to get ahead of guys or put guys away. I’m throwing a lot of pitches and getting behind too much. That’s a recipe for a not very good game, like we had tonight and like I’ve had the last three.”
He said that he’s trying everything he can think of to get back on the right track. “We’re trying to do what we can to get things rolling…. I feel like I’m about to get to the other side of the mountain and have a breakthrough, but so far it hasn’t happened. (However), I feel like at any time that things could start clicking.”
The result gave the Athletics and Diamondbacks an identical 4-7 record for the season. Athletics starter Chris Bassitt earned his first win of the season, while Bumgarner took his second loss. The teams play the second and last game of this short series Tuesday afternoon at 12:40 Arizona Time. Jesus Luzardo will start for the Athletics while Zac Gallen, returning from injury, will start his first game of the season for the Diamondbacks.
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Matt Chapman, Jed Lowrie, Madison Bumgarner, Mark Canha, Ramon Laureano, Stephen Vogt, Nick Ahmed, Tim Locastro, Kole Calhoun, Asdrubal Cabrera, Matt Olson, David Peralta, Josh VanMeter, Kevin Ginkel, Stefan Crichton, Chris Bassitt, Jesus Luzardo, Zac Gallen