OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — With a no-hitter followed by an extra-inning walkoff win, the Oakland Athletics have quickly put their worst road trip in eight years behind them.
Having seen his ballclub already overcome a handful of issues this season, manager Bob Melvin has almost come to expect it.
Stephen Piscotty homered leading off the bottom of the 13th inning, lifting the A’s to a 5-4 victory over the Cincinnati Reds 5-4 on Wednesday night.
“We’ve lost some close games late on the road trip, but they just keep grinding. That’s what they do,” Melvin said. “It seemed like nobody was going to score forever. Typically in games like that you end up trying to homers instead of just getting hits and stringing hits together.
One day after Mike Fiers pitched the 13th no-hitter in franchise history, the A’s got a big lift out of their bullpen and then won it on Piscotty’s winner off Robert Stephenson (2-1). The home run, which was smashed over the out-of-town scoreboard in left field, was reviewed and upheld. It was Oakland’s second walkoff hit this season.
“Felt really good about that swing,” Piscotty said. “It was a line drive and I wasn’t sure that it would get up, but thankfully it did. That was it.”
Piscotty’s game-winning hit came nearly 24 hours after Fiers finished off his masterpiece. Both followed Oakland’s 1-8 road trip that was the franchise’s worst trip of eight games or longer since 2011.
Piscotty also had an RBI single, Jurickson Profar homered for the second consecutive day and Ramon Laureano added three hits for the A’s.
Liam Hendriks (1-0), the seventh pitcher used by Melvin, retired three batters to win.
“It’s nice to have an extremely fresh bullpen after Mike did his deal yesterday,” Oakland starter Brett Anderson said. “That’s definitely needed. You never anticipate playing the amount of innings we did, but they came in and did a tremendous job.”
Stephenson, the Reds’ sixth reliever of the night, took the loss after three scoreless innings from Jared Hughes.
Nick Senzel and José Peraza had two hits apiece for the Reds.
“We had the big inning, and looking back, if we could have gotten one more run then we might have pulled it out,” Cincinnati manager David Bell said. “We needed just one more hit. After that inning, we couldn’t get anything going.”
Cincinnati was limited to three baserunners by Fiers during the no-hitter, but had three consecutive hits and scored four runs in the second after drawing back-to-back walks off Anderson leading off the inning.
After the A’s scored twice in the fifth to tie it, both teams leaned heavily on their bullpens.
TOO MANY FREEBIES
Both starting pitchers had control problems. Cincinnati’s Sonny Gray had a season-high five walks in his first appearance at the Coliseum since 2017. Gray gave up three earned runs and six hits in 4 1/3 innings, leaving after Kendrys Morales’ pinch-hit single in the fifth. Anderson also walked five and allowed four runs in six innings.
“The walks were embarrassing,” Anderson said. “Too many walks and non-competitive pitches.”
BEATING THE SHIFT
A’s first baseman Matt Olson hit 29 home runs in 2018, but had to get creative after the Reds went to a defensive shift and had four players in the outfield for Olson’s at-bat in the fourth. On a 2-1 pitch from Gray, Olson bunted down the third base line to reach safely.
AGAINST THEM, FOR THEM
Profar has homered in consecutive games for the first time since June 5-6, 2018, when he was with Texas. The opponent then? The A’s.
Athletics: Khris Davis left for a pinch-hitter in the fifth inning due to lingering effects of a hip contusion he suffered Sunday in Pittsburgh. Davis was a late scratch Tuesday because of the same issue and is likely to be rested Thursday. … 1B/OF Mark Canha (sprained right wrist) took batting practice and will attempt defensive work later this week. If that goes well, Melvin said Canha could begin a rehab assignment soon. … Top prospect Jesus Luzardo (left shoulder strain) has been playing catch from 120 feet and will begin throwing off flat ground.
Cincinnati RHP Tanner Roark (2-1, 3.82 ERA) will try to win back-to-back starts for the first time this season in the series finale Thursday afternoon. The Reds are 4-1 in Roark’s seven starts. RHP Chris Bassitt (1-0, 2.12) will make his fourth start for the A’s since being called up from the minors April 17.
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