Blake Treinen was arguably the best reliever in baseball last season. This season has been a different story entirely.
The 2018 All-Star has seen more struggles through the first half of this season than he did all of last. And in his return from the injured list Wednesday, Treinen (L, 2-3, 4.29 ERA) suffered his third loss, after just two in 68 appearances last year, surrendering back-to-back walks and a game-winning single off the bat of Mitch Garver.
What began as a ninth-straight quality start from Mike Fiers (ND, 8-3, 3.87 ERA) ended with the A’s (47-40) falling, 4-3, to the Twins (54-31) in 12 innings.
Manager Bob Melvin didn’t plan on using Trienen but knew he would if he had to:
“I told him, look, I would like to and I said if we get into a twelve inning game or an extra inning game I am going to have to use you and that exactly where we were so, it wasn’t ideal but unfortunately it came to that.”
After a run was scored, Brian Schlitter came in to relive Trienen with just one out and walked the next batter to load the bases. Matt Chapman with the biggest play of the game reached up for a chopper and ran to third base to get the force and made the throw to Olson who caught it on the bounce for a jaw dropping double-play to end the inning down just one run.
Matt Chapman explained his best chance at turning a double play was to step on third and make the throw to first:
“I didn’t necessarily want to bounce it but it kinda just had to get rid of it so fast that I just didn’t get the best grip on it. I trust Oly (Matt Olson), I can pretty much throw anything over there and he will pretty much grab it. … I felt like that was our best chance.”
The A’s were close to a come back in the bottom of the 12th when Chapman led off the inning after his double-play at third. He was safe at first base on an error by second baseman. Jurikson Profar stepped up to the plate after he pinch-ran for Davis in the tenth and hit the ball in the gap of third base and short stop. Chapman made it to third and Profar was called out at second.
Bob Melvin broke down the play:
“He was safe originally, I think he came off the bag after the original tag. He was trying to be aggressive and put us in scoring position, give us a chance to win the game and he did, originally he just came off the bag with his hand after that. “
The A’s were only able to score three runs in the four hour and forty minute game but their three run second inning wasn’t enough to hold off the first place AL Central team. The Twins slowly came back scoring a run in the sixth, seventh and eighth inning to tie it 3-3 and extend the game into extra innings.
Matt Chapman on the series so far and how the team has been doing against a first place team:
“We had other opportunities to to win the game too but that is a good baseball team and they were able to put that homer to tie it and they found a way to win that game. We had good pitchers on our side and they had good pitchers on their sad, it was just a good game. Tip your hat to those guys who were able to hang in there and fight for that game, that is why they are in first place.”
All three A’s runs came in the second after leadoff hitter Khris Davis reached first base on a throwing error. Mark Canha walked and Laureano hit a home run (14) to right-center. The 3-0 lead lasted until the sixth when the Twins finally found their momentum after being shut out by Fiers.
Fiers was able to shut out the Twins up until the sixth inning and didn’t allow a single hit until the fifth when he just needed one more out to end the inning with six-scoreless innings, a common theme in this seasons starting pitchers routine. He gave up one run off five hits through six solid innings before being relieved by Petit in the top of the seventh.
Melvin said of his starter:
“Again, just a great mix of pitches, elevating side to side with his cutter and change up. Earned a really good outing from him, just the game gets into the sixth or seventh outing for us we usually win those game we just didn’t tonight.”
A wild pitch from Fiers in the sixth and three base hits allowed the Twins to score a run when down 3-1. The seventh inning was a disaster for the A’s defense. Fiers gave up a line drive to right center to Arraez and was relieved by Petit after that. Adrianza hit a base hit off Petit to put runners on first and second with one out from Sano who popped out foul to Chapman.
Schoop stepped up the plate and hit into a double-play but it was the complete opposite of a double play for the A’s, in fact, not a single out was made on the play.
Schoop grounded to Semien who turned two for the double play but Barreto made two errors on the play. He missed the tag at second and made a bad throw to first to allow Arraez to score. Adrianza was originally called out on the tag at second but the Twins challenged the play claiming Barreto was off the bag and after review, the Twins were right. Adrianza was safe at second and was put on third due to the throw.
Buxton stepped up to the plate with runners on the corners and tried to do a suicide squeeze but missed for a strike and Phegley chased Adrianza into a pickle down third base line for the second out. Buxton ended up striking out to end the inning with the A’s up 3-2.
All-Star shortstop Palanco hit a solo home run to right in the eighth with two outs off Soria to tie the game 3-3.
The American League Reliever of the Month of June, Liam Hendriks, came in to pitch in the ninth and gave up a base hit but was able to keep Arraez on first and end the inning with two strikeouts and put an end to the Twins one run inning rally.
The bottom of the tenth inning got a little interesting. A pair of walks to Chapman and Olson and a fielders choice out at second left runners on the corners. Canha grounded to third baseman Miguel Sano and Matt Chapman sent it home but was called out at the plate. After being under review, the call stood giving the A’s two outs with men on first and second but were unable to end the game.
Chapman didn’t know if the video was conclusive enough to over turn, especially when it was going to end the game but commented on the huge play:
“I felt like it was really close, I know the throw beat me but we he was going to make that tag, it was kind of similar to that play where I snuck my foot in that other time. It is one of those plays where it is just bang, bang could go either way … we would have loved to have that go our way it would have been huge but that’s just the way it goes.”
Melvin doesn’t know what was wrong with the review he challenged when Chapman was running home and called out at the plate:
“I don’t know, he looked safe to me. I went in and looked at the replay too it looked like he was safe so I don’t know if they have different angels their or more angles but he looked like he beat it.
The Twins had the same situation in the top of the eleventh. Trivino walked Cron and Arraez hit a base hit to right-field to put Cron on third with runners on the corners. Adrianza up to the plate with two outs and a full-count and struck out.
A lot of plays were under review and both teams battled all-around.
Tanner Anderson (0-3, 7.13 ERA) will face Jose Berrios (8-4, 2.89 ERA) will square off in a 4th of July series finale rubber match.
Matt Olson recorded his fourth bunt of the season (his way of beating the shift. … The Twins have hit 161 homers this season, tying the all-time pre-All-Star game record set by the Yankees last season.