OAKLAND — The Cubs spent three days in Oakland showing off a main reason why they sport the major leagues’ best record.
Their starting pitchers allowed just three runs over 22 1/3 innings, as Chicago polished off a three-game sweep with a 3-1 victory over the A’s Sunday at the Coliseum. Kyle Hendricks (11-7) held the A’s to one run over 7 1/3 innings in the finale, and flame-throwing Aroldis Chapman closed it out in the ninth by striking out Khris Davis, representing the tying run, on a 104 mile-per-hour fastball.
The weekend was a lovefest for the large congregation of Cubs fans in attendance. They gave Hendricks a long standing ovation as he walked off the mound in the eighth, and stood again when Chapman strolled to the mound to begin the bottom of the ninth. With two outs, Stephen Vogt singled on another fastball that registered 104, but Davis went down looking to send it.
Sean Manaea did his part to keep it close on the mound for the A’s, throwing six-plus innings and giving up just a pair of solo homers. But Oakland couldn’t get anything going. They scored just three runs total over 27 innings in the series. The Cubs entered Sunday with the best starters’ ERA in the majors at 2.98.
Starting pitching report
Manaea (3-7) turned in a solid afternoon with six-plus innings of two-run ball. Two mistakes made the difference in this one. Kris Bryant jumped on the first pitch in the sixth and homered to left to break a scoreless tie. Then Jorge Soler went deep to lead off the seventh on a full-count pitch, his second home run of this series, to make it 2-0. Manaea struck out four, walked two and did well to avoid bigger trouble earlier in the game, though good fortune smiled on him some. He struck out Wilson Contreras and Javier Baez to strand runners on the corners in the second. Then he found himself in a bases-loaded, no-out situation in the third. After Anthony Rizzo bounced into a force-out at home, Ben Zobrist hit a liner right at first baseman Yonder Alonso, who caught it, stepped on first for a double play, and Manaea headed back to the dugout unscored upon.
Liam Hendriks did a terrific job in the eighth, entering with the bases loaded and no outs and retiring three consecutive hitters to keep it a 3-0 game. Then all eyes were on Chapman in the ninth, as he registered his third save since joining the Cubs in a trade from the Yankees. Chris Smith, called up by the A’s on Sunday morning, made his first major league appearance since 2010 and delivered a scoreless top of the ninth.
At the plate
Marcus Semien’s solo homer in the eighth was the only offensive highlight for the A’s. It was homer NO. 23 for the shortstop.
In the field
Neither team committed an error.
A crowd of 23,450 showed up, and those clad in blue once again had plenty to cheer about.
The Orioles arrive for their only visit to the Coliseum, holding a one-game lead over the Blue Jays for first place in the American League East. Monday’s opener pits Kendall Graveman (7-7, 4.46) against Kevin Gausman (3-8, 4.08). Zach Neal (1-1, 5.25) matches up with lefty Wade Miley (0-1, 7.20) on Tuesday at 7:05. The A’s have yet to announce a starter for Wednesday’s 7:05 game or Thursday’s 12:35 finale. The O’s will throw Yovani Gallardo (4-3, 5.47) and Chris Tillman (14-4, 3.50) respectively.