Chapman’s first MLB hit lifts A’s to comeback win
Sean Manaea saw his five-start winning streak come to an end. But a late rally, capped by a go-ahead single from Matt Chapman — playing in his second big league game — was enough for the A’s (29-38) to overcome another blast (23) from Rookie of the Year shoo-in Aaron Judge and the Yankees (38-27).
Chapman called his first two days in the bigs a “roller coaster of emotions”:
“I don’t know if 48 hours can go any faster, but feel long.”
Manaea (ND, 6-3, 4.01 ERA) was handed an early lead when the Oakland offense batted around in the second.
Yankee starter Luis Severino (ND, 5-2, 2.99 ERA) walked the first two batters in the inning, and following a Ryon Healy strikeout — after he missed a hanging slider on 1-1 — Stephen Vogt crushed a double off the top of the seven foot-high wall in right-center.
Chapman had his first hit taken off the board when a 72-second review ended with an overturn. Instead of an infield single, Chapman was forced to settle with his first RBI and a ground-out.
Oakland was on the wrong end of all three replay decisions Friday, including a challenge of their own in the fifth. Manager Bob Melvin said he doesn’t get the replay system anymore:
“Replay, as it’s done all year, took a hit away from him. But his next one a little more impactful.”
The next three A’s each singled to set up the heart of the Oakland order, but Jed Lowrie‘s screaming one-hopper found its way directly into the glove of Chris Carter at first, stranding a pair of runners.
Manaea had been 3-0 with four or more runs of support this season, but the Yankees got right to work.
Two infield singles, from Ronald Torreyes and Rob Refsnyder, set the table. And after nickle and diming its way into a prime scoring opportunity, New York cashed in. Manaea left on 0-1 changeup up, and it leaked to the outer half to the game’s 6-foot-8 home run leader, and Judge pounded it into the seats in right.
Making his season debut, Mason Williams tied things up in the fifth on a single to right scoring Torreyes. As was the case against Judge in the third, Manaea got Carter to swing over top of a changeup in the sixth. And like he did to Judge, the Oakland hurler tried to back up the pitch, again letting it leak over the plate. And, like Judge did three innings prior, Carter crushed it, this one off the batter’s eye in center field for a solo homer (8).
“They are a really, really good overall team. You’ve definitely got to make good pitches, especially when they’ve got guys on base. … I left a couple pitches up and they costed me.”
“He battled. … Maybe not his best fastball command today, but he used his other pitches effectively enough to keep us in the game.”
After dancing clear of further danger to finish the six, he allowed eight hits and five runs while striking out seven and walking two.
New York another run in the seventh on a Starlin Castro singleup the middle. Melvin took the ball from Josh Smith, handing it to Daniel Coulombe (W, 1-1, 1.99 ERA), who had not allowed in 5-2/3 innings over his last nine appearances. He matched his longest outing in that stretch, tossing 1-1/3 innings and posting yet another zero.
After getting one more back on Chad Pinder‘s sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh, a one-out walk of Yonder Alonso was followed by a Healy ground-rule double. The Yankees and manager Joe Girardi chose to walk Vogt, setting up Chapman, who struck out in a bases-loaded situation in the ninth Thursday:
“I was ready to go up there and get the job done, I wanted to be the guy. … Going down 0-2 wasn’t exactly how you envision that at-bat going … maybe getting some experience yesterday I was able to slow it down a little bit more and just go in there and battle.”
Chapman went down below the zone to hook an 0-2 curveball from Jonathan Holder (L, 1-1, 3.49 ERA) down the left-field line scoring Alonso and Healy.
The skipper said:
“Hasn’t seen the pitcher before. Hasn’t seen the pitch he hit, waited long enough to see it. A lot of courage in that at-bat. Certainly, for a first big league hit, pretty impactful.”
Chapman agreed, sayong that having his single taken away by replay made his first big league hit become something much “sweeter”:
“It was exciting. Everything seems to happen pretty fast for your first time. It was exciting looking into the dugout and seeing my teammates fired up. … Hearing the fans, it was a pretty cool experience.”
Manaea, who went through something similar breaking into the majors one season ago, said:
“From my perspective, it looks like he’s — it’s like any other baseball game, he doesn’t look like he’s getting caught up in the moment.”
Choosing to work around Judge, who finished 2-for-3 with a triple and three RBIs, walking the slugger with one down in the ninth, Santiago Casilla (S, 11, 4.07 ERA) closed things out. By striking out Matt Holliday and Castro — finishing the frame with three strikeouts and a walk — he assure Chapman’s role as the hero.
The Athletics and Yankees face off for a third time in a Saturday matinee. Masahiro Tanaka (5-6, 6.07 ERA) and Jesse Hahn (2-4, 3.56 ERA) will get the starting assignments with the A’s looking to seal a season series victory over the “Bronx Bombers.”.
Before the game, the A’s will honor former Oakland and New York great, Hall of Famer Jim “Catfish” Hunter with a ceremony dedicating the Oakland Coliseum C Gate in his name. Several of Hunter’s teammates from the Championship A’s teams of the 1970’s will be in attendance at the 9:30 a.m. event.
Marcus Semien (right wrist) took batting practice before the game. Manager Bob Melvin expects the shortstop to begin a minor league rehab assignment as soon as next week, and is on track for a major league return in early July. … Melvin said there has been nothing new regarding the progression of starter Andrew Triggs (left hip). He added that “this is going to be a while.”