Oakland starter Daniel Mengden was stellar on the mound Friday night against the Orioles. But he needed a little more juice, lasting just five innings while yielding just three hits and settling for a no decision in the Athletics‘ 6-4 victory at the Oakland Coliseum.
The A’s (16-16) wanted to begin May’s home schedule on a good note, and did so behind Mengden (ND, 2-34.30 ERA), back-to-back first-inning homers from Khris Davis and Matt Olson and some clutch late-inning at-bats.
While the Orioles (8-24), who continue to search for positives, battled back with a three-run sixth, a trio of errors and some shoddy relief work was their undoing.
Davis, who drove in three on his homer to open the A’s scoring, said:
“You just always want to score first as a team and I am glad I could come through in that situation. … It’s my job to get timely hitting and get runners in.”
Mengden was eligible for the much-deserved win but reliever Yusmeiro Petit‘s entrance in the sixth inning served as anything but relief. Petit surrendered three earned runs on five hits while getting just one out. The starter said that he would have like to have been on the mound in the sixth:
“I knew we had a plan going in but you never want to get pulled out in that type of situation. One swing of the bat can change things and I always want to be out there but that’s how it plays out sometimes.”
Manager Bob Melvin said, after the game, that, hindsight being 20/20, it may have been the better play to send Mengden, having thrown just 84 pitches, back to the mound. But, in the end, he got the result his team needed.
Davis was a highlight reel early on, hitting a monster three-run shot in his first at-bat to dead center after Matt Joyce walked and shortstop Marcus Semien reached based on an error committed by Baltimore second baseman Jace Peterson.
Davis and Olson (4) hit back-to-back homers in the first inning, putting four on the board right from the start. It was an answer to a solo shot by Orioles center fielder Adam Jones in the top-half of the inning. Olson may have started something for himself, going 2-for-4 and making his presence felt at the plate.
In addition to the homer, his first since April 16, Olson added a double high off the left-field wall and another caught at the wall. He said:
“He just left a changeup over the plate and I got the trajectory that I liked on their mistakes. I hit both balls pretty well so I got too just keep building on it.”
Mengden settled down and favored a comfortable 4-1 lead throughout his performance but when Petit entered the game that all but went away.
The Orioles would tag on three runs in the sixth to tie the game at 4-4 on consecutive singles from Jones, Manny Machado, Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo each singled in consecutive at bats against Petit.
Reliever Lou Trivino (W, 2-0, 0.93 ERA) entered and earned the win plus limited the damage by forcing Peterson into a inning-ending double play. The rookie worked a scoreless seventh, as well.
The A’s came right back in the bottom of the sixth to take the lead and never looked back after Jed Lowrie continued his torrid start to 2018 with a single to right scoring Jonathan Lucroy, who doubled to center off of Baltimore reliever Brad Brach (L, 0-2, 5.84 ERA), to take a deciding 5-4 lead.
The Orioles attempted to tie the game on several occasions after the sixth but stout defensive efforts from the Oakland outfield kept the O’s at bay. The brightest star was hung on a seventh inning-ending catch by Joyce, who bounced off the MLB Network sign on near the left-field foul pole.
Overall, after Petit made things interesting mid-way through the ballgame, Trivino and Ryan Dull both pitched fantastic out of the bullpen combining for four strikeouts, one hit in 2-2/3 innings pitched to help the A’s beat a team sitting in the cellar of the American League.
Lucroy would tag on another insurance run in the eighth, after doubling again Semien singling him in to add an a cushion and make it 6-4.
In the ninth, closer Blake Treinen (S, 4, 1.20 ERA) came in facing the bottom of the Orioles lineup and wasted no time in retiring the side and picking up his fourth save of the season.
Right-hander Trevor Cahill (1-1, 3.00 ERA) gets the ball Saturday having struck out 19 batters in 18 innings of work this season. Cahill is 3-1 lifetime against the Orioles with a 2.42 ERA.The Orioles will counter with righty Kevin Gausman (2-2, 4.15 ERA) who has never won in the Coliseum.
Adam Jones consistently got on base throughout the game reaching base safely three times yet it wasn’t enough to win. … Entering Friday night’s game, the Baltimore Orioles had the worst American League record and were 2-8 in its last 10 games played. … The A’s are now 2-4 in Friday games this season. … A’s Skipper Bob Melvin presented Sean Manaea with his Pitcher of the Month award prior to the game. Manaea won the award for the month of April, going 4-1 with a 1.00 ERA.