Oakland Athletics Recap 5/29: Doolittle Closes The Door, But Hill Injured

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May 29, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Rich Hill (18) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kenny Karst-USA TODAY Sports
May 29, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Rich Hill (18) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kenny Karst-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Oakland Athletics took the three-game series against the Detroit Tigers, winning today by a score of 4-2.

96. 2. 63. Final. 4

The Oakland Athletics continued their win column streak today as they beat the Detroit Tigers, 4-2. Rich Hill was as excellent and as All-Star-like as ever, allowing only two runs and striking out nine while pitching 6 1/3 innings. Mike Pelfrey got saddled with the loss though he allowed no earned runs (but did allow three total thanks to an error by Ian Kinsler and a wild pitch).

The A’s bullpen was solid today. Each pitcher out of the bullpen today put up zeroes and struck out one, earning either a hold or a save. Ryan Dull pitched 2/3 innings, and Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle each pitched one. This followed a stellar performance by Rich Hill, who allowed only two runs and walked only three.

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Unfortunately, Hill was forced out of the game in the seventh inning with what Bob Melvin termed a “mild groin strain.” Melvin is not sure whether or not Hill may start his next game, or if they may skip him. Hill had thrown 104 pitches before being lifted in favor of Dull. Hill appeared to want to tell Melvin he wanted to stay, but Melvin decided to play it safe with the A’s bullpen. This proved a wise decision, as Doolittle notched his first save since April 20. Most impressively, he needed only eight pitches to do so.

Melvin’s matchup playing proved excellent on the offensive side as well. In the sixth inning, with the bases loaded and left-hander Justin Wilson on the mound, Melvin again chose Billy Butler to pinch hit for left-handed batter Chris Coghlan. Where Butler had failed on Friday against Wilson, today he succeeded, swatting a single to right field and scoring two runners, giving the A’s the lead. It appears that Butler is starting a little bit of a hitting streak following yesterday’s home run. Hopefully this means that Butler is settling into his role as a situational hitter. With today’s win, the A’s are looking upwards as they attempt to get out of the AL West cellar.

Next: A's Recap 5/27

The A’s will play tomorrow on Memorial Day at home against the Minnesota Twins. Both starters look to win their second games as Kendall Graveman (1-6, 5.36 ERA) takes the hill against Ervin Santana (1-3, 4.17). First pitch is at 4:05 PM PST.

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