Oakland has one of the better bullpens in baseball, and the Twins do not, so when this game went into extra innings no sensible gambler would have bet against an A’s win. It came courtesy of all-world DH Khris Davis on his 45th dong of the season.
Going into this start, Jose Berrios had an ERA of 4.10 in his last 30 games, 4.86 in his last 15, and 5.04 in his last seven. He’s clearly been fading lately (and hopefully isn’t feeling sore anywhere). Berrios finished strong tonight, yet his control problems continue to haunt; one plunked and two walked batters all scored.
His final inning involved some managerial shenanigans. With the Twins leading 6-4, Berrios walked Stephen Piscotty then got the next two A’s looking. Bob Melvin made a move to bring in struggling lefty hitter Matt Joyce. Paul Monitor countered with struggling lefty pitcher Gabriel Moya. Melvin immediately subbed better-hitting righty Matt Canha for Joyce, and Canha homered to tie the game.
The hitting team gets the last substitution in these situations, and once a reliever comes in, he has to face at least one batter. Still, it’s not hard to think Molitor got out-managed here, and Melvin wanted the better hitter all along. Eh, it happens. Oakland’s bullpen did its thing, Minnesota didn’t score again, and Davis tagged Matt Magill for the Gatorade.
It wasted a Big Inning for Twins batters. They hadn’t managed to get anything going against A’s “primary pitcher” Chris Bassit, who hounded them with five strikeouts in his four innings. But they teed off against Lou Trevino with four straight hits to open the sixth, including a Robbie Grossman two-run dong. Super-duper reliever Shawn Kelley made it five straight on an Ehire Adrianza double. After Willians Astudillo and Gregorio Petit were retired on short fly balls that couldn’t score Max Kepler from third, Melvin intentionally walked Joe Mauer to load the bases, and Jorge Polanco unloaded them with a double.
It was the 14th walk-off loss for Minnesota this season; the team record is 15 in 1964. Taylor Rogers extended his streak of consecutive scoreless innings to 23.1; that’s seventh-longest in team history. Robot Roll Call:
Comment Of The Game goes to the whole gang for this late one, but especially the folks who stayed longest. You know who you are.
In team-related news, Miguel Sano did not make the trip; he’s having his knee re-examined. In non-team related news, both Lourdes Gurriel of Toronto and his brother Yuri Gurriel in Houston had multi-homer games tonight. Apparently no two brothers have ever done that on the same day before. So that’s cool!