Manaea ef­fec­tive, looks to Game 1

Lau­re­ano ends slump with HR to win it in 9th

San Francisco Chronicle Late Edition - - Sporting Green - By Susan Slusser

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.

Harry How / Getty Im­ages

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.

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