As they have done on several occasions already this season, the Oakland Athletics will be looking for a successful encore one day after a remarkable performance when they visit the San Francisco Giants on Saturday night in the continuation of their three-game interleague series.
The A’s found themselves five runs behind and down to their final two outs in the series opener before Matt Olson belted a solo home run. Four batters later, Stephen Piscotty smacked his second grand slam of the season, drawing Oakland even at 7-7.
The A’s won it 8-7 in the 10th, improving their record in extra-inning games this season to 4-0.
Afterward, A’s manager Bob Melvin credited “mental fortitude.”
“We’ve seen so many times us come back to win. We have all those walk-offs at home,” he noted to reporters. “But to do it on the road when it didn’t look too good going into the (ninth) inning. They got their closer in the game with a five-run lead and he’s got good stuff.”
“It’s mental fortitude and continuing to grind on the at-bats and hope something goes right,” Melvin said.
Already this season, the A’s have recorded three walk-off wins, two of which have come on grand slams. Piscotty had the most recent of the two, beating Texas last Tuesday, and he now has four slams in his career.
The series got off to a rocky start for the A’s even before they fell behind Giants ace Johnny Cueto 6-0 in the fourth inning. They were forced to scratch their scheduled starter, right-hander Frankie Montas, because of tightness in his upper back.
Lefty Jesus Luzardo, who was scheduled to pitch Saturday for the A’s, was moved up a day, as was left-hander Sean Manaea (0-2, 9.00), who will pitch the second game of the series.
The 28-year-old has started four games in his career against the Giants, going 2-1 with a 2.53 ERA. He won his only previous start in San Francisco.
The Giants will counter with right-hander Kevin Gausman (0-1, 4.05), a former American Leaguer who has had his fair share of success against the A’s.
The first-year Giant is coming off his best of three starts this season, having limited the Los Angeles Dodgers to one run and three hits in 6 1/3 innings in a 6-2 loss last Saturday.
Gausman did not get a decision for his effort.
The 29-year-old has fashioned a fine 2.77 ERA in four career starts against the A’s, although he’s been rewarded with just a 1-2 record.
Gausman has to hope he gets the level of offensive support the Giants gave Cueto in the series opener. San Francisco out-hit Oakland 13-8, with Wilmer Flores going 4-for-5, while Evan Longoria and Mauricio Dubon had two hits apiece.
Longoria, Hunter Pence and Mike Yastrzemski all homered for the Giants.
Giants manager Gabe Kapler had a chat with his guys after the game.
“The processing happens tonight,” he explained to the media shortly thereafter. “We talk about it and figure out ways to get better for tomorrow and things we could have done differently, and look at it in a how-can-we-raise-the-bar perspective.”
–Field Level Media