Manaea effective, looks to Game 1
Laureano ends slump with HR to win it in 9th
Sean Manaea is a leading contender to start Game 1 of the wildcard series Tuesday, and in his final start of the regular season, the A’s lefthander didn’t really do anything to dissuade any of the team’s decision makers who might be leaning his way.
Manaea more than did his job Wednesday at Dodger Stadium, and Ramón Laureano busted out of his recent funk with a tworun homer off former A’s closer Blake Treinen in the ninth to give Oakland a 64 victory over the NL West winners and move the A’s into the No. 2 spot among postseason seeds, percentage points ahead of the Twins.
Laureano snapped an 0for14 skid with an RBI single in the seventh, then he smacked the first home run off Treinen this year. Laureano said he choked up “like a foot” against Treinen, which might be an exaggeration. “I was just trying to choke up and pray the ball hits the barrel,” he said.
A’s manager Bob Melvin thought the previous atbat was a key for Laureano. “Just looked more balanced and confident, and that’s what one atbat can do,” Melvin said. “We’ve had some guys go
through funks over the course of the season and then come through, and that’s what Ramón did tonight.”
All of the Dodgers’ runs came via homers, including Edwin Rios’ solo shot off Jake Diekman in the eighth, which tied the game and ended Diekman’s seasonlong scoreless streak; he hadn’t given up a run in his first 18 appearances, or, dating back to last season, his previous 22 innings. It was the first extrabase hit Diekman has allowed up all year.
“It was almost a shock, especially with a lefty,” Melvin said of Rios. “A home run from a lefty is something you don’t expect . ... At least he doesn’t have that he has to grind on now and have the pressure of trying to get through a 60game season without giving up a run.”
Manaea allowed three runs in sixplus innings, but he didn’t get some help from his defense in the third. With one out and a runner at first, Justin Turner hit a bouncer to third, and Jake Lamb’s throw to second was nearly at Tommy La Stella’s shoetops. La Stella took the poor feed, then bounced his own throw to first, where Mark Canha couldn’t come up with it.
A good throw by either fielder probably completes the double play. Or had Matt Olson been at first, rather than getting a day off, the double play is a virtual certainty, but Canha was making his first start of the season at the position.
The next batter, Max Muncy, clocked a tworun homer against his former club for the second night in a row, hitting a high fastball to left.
“Shoot, we don’t turn a double play, and that leads to two runs on the Muncy homer,” Melvin said. “Could have been out of that with nothing. He seems to pitch better every time, goes deeper into games, too. Looks real confident out there . ... He’s putting himself in to position to do whatever we need him to do.”
Los Angeles didn’t get another hit until the seventh, when Manaea, squeezed on what looked like strike three one pitch earlier, gave up a homer to Cody Bellinger. All three Dodgers’ homers were by lefthanded hitters off lefty pitchers.
Oakland managed just six hits, and, luckily for the A’s, they were bunched. In the first, the team got backtoback doubles by La Stella and Robbie Grossman against opener Joe Kelly. Marcus Semien followed with a walk, and Lamb moved up Grossman and Semien with a groundout to second, setting up Canha’s sacrifice fly. Bellinger winged it to third, trying to get Semien, but the throw got past Justin Turner and Kelly wasn’t backing up, so Semien came home with the A’s third run.
The A’s went without another hit until the seventh. Canha led off with a walk, then Stephen Piscotty singled to end an 0for11 streak, and Laureano provided his RBI single off Julio Urias. Laureano also made a terrific defensive play in the bottom of the inning, diving into the gap in leftcenter to rob Mookie Betts of a hit.
The A’s Ramón Laureano hits a two run homer in the ninth to break a 44 tie in a 64 win over the Dodgers.