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OAKLAND Michael Grabner Jersey , Calif. — Two teams that began heading in opposite directions at just about the time they saw each other last month hook up again when the San Diego Padres and Oakland Athletics open a two-game interleague series Tuesday night.
The Padres were within arm’s length of .500 at 34-40, having won nine of 15, when the A’s ventured into San Diego and used a ninth-inning, two-out, two-strike, game-tying home run from Stephen Piscotty off relief ace Brad Hand to trigger a two-game sweep, winning 4-2 and 12-4.
The Padres now head north well out of contention in the National League West, having lost 11 of 14.
The A’s, meanwhile, have won 12 of 15 to surge well above .500 at 46-39 and into contention in the American League wild-card race.
Oakland has made much of its recent run without standout third baseman Matt Chapman, who has taken time off to allow pain in his right hand to subside.
Two cortisone shots later, Chapman had a pain-free hitting session Sunday and was sent to Class A for an injury-rehab game Monday.
It’s possible he could be reinstated from the disabled list during this series.
“He hit a few off the back wall in center field, so that tells me enough,” A’s manager Bob Melvin observed Sunday. “Getting him back in the lineup will be a nice little kick for us.”
The A’s need no such boost in their pitching. They have allowed two or fewer runs in four of their last five games.
Right-hander Chris Bassitt (1-3, 2.82 ERA) will look to extend that impressive run while at the same time taste his first career success in interleague play.
The 29-year-old began the A’s recent pitching showcase with six innings of two-hit, scoreless ball in a 3-0 win at Detroit last Wednesday.
He has never faced the Padres in his career, and has lost both interleague starts despite a 2.45 ERA.
One intriguing potential matchup in the series is A’s closer Blake Treinen against Padres slugger Eric Hosmer, a pairing that carried a bit of history into a game-ending showdown in the A’s earlier 4-2 win in San Diego.
Then a member of the Kansas City Royals, Hosmer bombed a two-run, go-ahead homer off Treinen in the eighth inning of their first career head-to-head last August.
Treinen then extracted a measure of revenge in the June 19 rematch in San Diego, closing out the 10-inning game by striking out Hosmer as he represented the potential tying run.
Bassitt will be opposed by left-hander Clayton Richard (7-7, 4.29), who had a four-game winning streak stopped in a 5-2 loss at Texas last Wednesday.
He retains a good interleague record (9-5, 3.50) despite not having beaten an American League opponent since 2015.
You have to go back three years before that to find his last appearance against the A’s in Oakland, but it was a memorable one. He shut out a playoff-bound A’s team for 7 2/3 innings in 2012, allowing five hits in a 2-1 win.
He has faced the A’s three times in his career, twice as a starter, and gone 1-1 with a 3.21 ERA.
One A’s hitter that Richard will have to deal with is the aforementioned Piscotty, who played last season for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Piscotty has dominated the head-to-heads, going 3-for-4 with a home run and a flyout to deep center field in the only non-hit of the matchup.
A’s catcher Jonathan Lucroy, another former National Leaguer, also has a successful history against Richard, going 7-for-18 (.389) with two doubles and a homer.
Gorkys Hernandez is hitting for power, grinding through long at-bats and moving baserunners with timely bunts – and his teammates are taking notice.
Hernandez drew a go-ahead, bases-loaded walk in the eighth inning after his earlier solo home run Miles Wood Jersey , and the San Francisco Giants beat the Colorado Rockies 3-2 on Tuesday night.
”We’re going to be talking about him for a while,” Giants starter Derek Holland said of Hernandez. ”He’s been doing outstanding this year, he’s been a huge part of this team.”
Tom Murphy doubled to start the ninth for the Rockies on a hit that sliding Hernandez couldn’t secure in center field, and the ball kicked back toward the infield. San Francisco left third base uncovered, but despite base coach Stu Cole wildly gesturing, Murphy never looked up and stopped at second. DJ LeMahieu wound up grounding into a game-ending double play that was confirmed on replay.
”There’s a lot of chaos going on at that point. Rarely do you see that type of situation occur where you have three guys covering second base,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. ”Pitcher, third baseman, first baseman end up going over there.”
Tony Watson (2-2) recorded the final out of the eighth before Sam Dyson closed out Colorado for his third save.
The Giants loaded the bases in the eighth against Adam Ottavino (3-1), whose scoreless streak ended at 15 innings with his first run allowed since May 8 at home against the Angels.
Andrew McCutchen had a go-ahead sacrifice fly in the seventh inning before the Rockies tied it at 2 on Ian Desmond’s two-out double in the eighth off Mark Melancon.
Austin Slater and pinch-hitter Hunter Pence had consecutive singles to start the seventh before advancing on a sacrifice bunt by Hernandez, who homered to tie it in the third. Rockies starter Chad Bettis intentionally walked Buster Posey to load the bases for McCutchen, and Ottavino relieved and gave up the go-ahead run. Slater just beat center fielder Gerardo Parra’s throw to the plate.
Bettis gave up two runs and six hits in a 6 1/3 innings, struck out four and walked four.
He had allowed five or more runs in his previous five starts but hadn’t lost, a streak that is tied for the longest in major league history with Rube Walberg from June 1-18, 1932. All of Bettis’ decisions have come away from Coors Field.
Desmond hit a one-out solo homer in the second to put Colorado ahead before Hernandez tied it.
Four of Hernandez’s 10 home runs have come against the Rockies. His previous career high was three, and he didn’t hit any last year.
”It feels great, last year having nothing (homers) to this year having 10,” he said.
Following the Giants’ first day off since June 7, Brandon Crawford had three hits and scored the deciding run on the walk by Hernandez after a one-out single and steal of second.
San Francisco improved to 6-2 on its current homestand.
”We’ve been playing better,” manager Bruce Bochy said. ”Hopefully we can build on this, and we’re going to have to.”
Holland matched his season high with eight strikeouts while pitching a season-long 6 2/3 innings. Looking to win back-to-back outings for the first time in 2018, the lefty settled for a no-decision. He allowed six hits, the one earned run and walked two.
Three intentional walks by Colorado pitchers were the team’s most since three on June 24, 2016, against Arizona.
Rockies: LHP Mike Dunn (upper back strain) and RHP Scott Oberg (back strain) each responded well from rehab outings with Class A Modesto – both pitchers struck out two with a walk in a scoreless inning – and were set to play catch Tuesday. ”They’re healthy,” Black said. ”I think they’ve checked off a couple boxes health-wise. We have some decisions to make.”
Giants: RHP Jeff Samardzija was tagged for five runs in the first inning and six in all of his rehab start for Triple-A Sacramento at Albuquerque as he works back from tightness in his pitching shoulder. Samardzija allowed seven hits in four innings with six strikeouts, two walks and a pair of home runs. … RHP Johnny Cueto (right elbow sprain) is set to pitch for Sacramento on Friday, throwing up to 70 pitches. … 3B Evan Longoria is underway with his initial rehab work following surgery for a fractured left hand. There is still no timeline change from the initial indication of six to eight weeks, Bochy said.
Rockies: LHP Kyle Freeland (7-6, 3.55 ERA) makes his 10th road start out of 16 2018 outings and is 2-0 with a 3.00 ERA in two appearances against the Giants this year.
Giants: LHP Madison Bumgarner (1-2, 3.20) makes his fifth start of 2018 needing one strikeout for No. 1,500 of his career – and playing in his 239th career game would become the fourth-fastest lefty to accomplish the feat in the live-ball era, according to STATS.
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