PHOENIX –- The A’s found a way to overcome their many failures with runners on base Sunday.
Just keep hitting.
That M.O. finally paid off with a 7-4 victory in 11 innings over the Arizona Diamondbacks, which helped the A’s break even on their six-game road trip.
They lashed out 18 hits total but needed to work overtime thanks to the 14 base runners they left stranded. Marcus Semien came through with a two-run go-ahead single in the top of the 11th, and Pat Venditte notched his first major league victory with two scoreless innings of relief.
Turns out the switch-pitching Venditte is also a switch hitter, as he took a called third strike while batting left-handed against A.J. Schugel in his first career plate appearance.
It was the kind of game that could have ended badly for the A’s for so many reasons. From their 4-for-18 performance with runners in scoring position, to the comical mishap on the bases involving pitcher Jesse Chavez that stymied a scoring rally, to the blown save in the ninth from Drew Pomeranz, who was so dominant the night before.
Instead the A’s won with a two-out rally in the 11th off former Athletic Brad Ziegler.
Starting pitching report
Chavez made things tough on himself in the second with a throwing error, then went on to allow a pair of run-scoring singles. After the A’s tied it with two in the third, Chavez went out looking for a shutdown inning but instead gave up David Peralta’s line-drive homer to right. He went five innings and gave up three runs (one earned) on eight hits, striking out six and walking one.
Fernando Rodriguez pitched a scoreless seventh for his second strong outing in as many days. Then Sean Doolittle took over for the eighth and set the Diamondbacks down in order with two strikeouts, his sharpest form yet in three appearances since coming off the disabled list. That set the table for Pomeranz, who wasn’t able to nail down his second save of the series. The Diamondbacks erased a 4-3 deficit in the ninth, a rally started by Ender Inciarte’s line single up the middle after he and Pomeranz jawed at each other over several pitches high and tight.
At the plate
The A’s had the answer in the early innings each time Arizona scored, tying the game with a two-run second and another run in the fourth to make it 3-3. Stephen Vogt, following a three-RBI game Saturday, launched a solo homer to right to account for the fourth-inning run.
Mark Canha delivered an RBI double in the seventh that put the A’s ahead 4-3, but it’s noteworthy that Coco Crisp played a role in that rally too. He led off the seventh with a pinch-hit single, then turned on the jets to score from first on Canha’s double. Crisp has rarely made an impact in this injury-plagued season, and when he crossed home plate in the seventh it accounted for just his seventh run scored in 30 games played this year.
The A’s also had their share of missed opportunities offensively, including a bases-loaded one-out situation in the 10th.
In the field
Both teams played some forgettable defense early on. Chavez’s two-out throwing error in the second, on a comebacker off the bat of Diamondbacks pitcher Allen Webster, extended the inning and led to run-scoring singles from Ender Inciarte and Chris Owings for a 2-0 Arizona lead. Then a throwing error from Diamondbacks third baseman Jake Lamb allowed Billy Burns to score Oakland’s first run in the third. Josh Reddick followed with an RBI triple to right, a deep but catchable ball on which Yasmany Tomas took a bad route and let it fall behind him.
The announced turnout was 29,576.
The Angels visit the Coliseum for a three-game series starting Monday. Felix Doubront (1-1, 3.70) returns to the mound and opposes lefty Hector Santiago (7-8, 3.13) in the 7:05 p.m. opener. Tuesday – Chris Bassitt (1-6, 2.82) vs. Matt Shoemaker (6-9, 4.48), 7:05 p.m. Wednesday – Sonny Gray (12-6, 2.13) vs. Andrew Heaney (5-2, 3.11), 12:35 p.m. All three games will air on CSN California.