The Oakland A’s (37-26) swept the Arizona Diamondbacks (20-43) in a two-game inter-league series behind stellar pitching throughout both contests.
Game One: Oakland A’s: 5, Arizona: 2
The A’s used a five-run rally to keep the D-backs away as they took game one behind a solid outing from Chris Bassitt on the mound.
Already down 1-0 in the bottom of the fourth, Jed Lowrie led off with a single and advanced to second on a Matt Olson walk. Mitch Moreland laced a single to right field to load the bases for Oakland with no outs. Oakland tied the game 1-1 with a walk from Sean Murphy, and Chad Pinder came on to pinch hit for Seth Brown as he slashed a ball to left field to propel the A’s ahead 2-1. Not content with a slim lead, Oakland poured on as Matt Chapman singled in another run. With the bases loaded and one out, Elvis Andrus drew a walk that extended the lead to 4-1. A groundout from Mark Canha gave the Athletics their fifth run of the contest.
Bassitt clamped down on Arizona as he retired the next six batters in the contest. But he faltered in the top of the seventh as two singles and a sac fly shrunk the lead to 5-2.
Yusmeiro Petit started the eighth on the mound for Oakland and pitched a one-two-three inning. In the top of the ninth Lou Trivino surrendered one hit en route to the save as the A’s hung on 5-2.
With four runs surrendered against Seattle at the start of June, Bassitt rebounded nicely against Arizona on Tuesday.
Overall, Bassitt pitched remarkable last month and carried this momentum over to June. With a 3-0 record, 2.52 ERA, and 0.73 WHIP in May, Bassitt continues to make a solid case for himself to be an All-Star come July or possible Cy Young if he maintains his level of success.
Game Two: Oakland A’s: 4, Arizona: 0
A three-run inning provided enough offense for Oakland to sweep Arizona in the conclusion of a two-game series as the A’s won 4-0 Wednesday afternoon.
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After avoiding trouble in the top of the second where Sean Manaea had runners on the corners and two outs, the A’s bats rallied in the bottom of the inning.
With a groundout to start the inning followed by a walk and another groundout, the A’s were not poised for a potential rally. A walk provided more of an opportunity, then the big hit came off the bat of Canha as a two-run triple gave Oakland the lead. With a sharp single from Lowrie, the A’s pushed their lead to 3-0.
With the lead in the top of the third, Manaea cut through the D-backs order as he retired the next nine batters he faced.
In the top of the sixth, the D-backs got a leadoff walk and a single that spelled early trouble for the A’s, but Manaea rebounded by retiring the next three batters to quell the potential threat. This was his final inning as the top of the seventh saw Petit pitch in another relief appearance where he used five pitches to retire three batters.
It was not until the bottom of the seventh that another run was scored as the A’s hit two singles with one out to put runners on the corners. Olson hit a sac fly that pushed in Oakland’s fourth run of the contest.
This proved enough as Trivino, who pitched the eighth, and Jake Diekman, who pitched the ninth, shut down the Arizona offense to win 4-0.
Stingy pitching for Oakland as Arizona only collected seven hits across the two games with five walks, but struck out 11 times.
With a 6-1 record where they outscored their opponents 43-19, the Oakland A’s staff has a 2.71 ERA in the month of June.
With the next seven games against sub .500 teams and the Houston Astros who are two games back, the A’s must continue these trends in order to maintain their division lead.
Oakland hosts the Kansas City Royals in a four-game weekend series that begins Thursday night with the first pitch scheduled for 6:40 pm PDT.