For the first time in 16 games, Yuba City High product Max Stassi powered one into the empty bleachers at Angel Stadium with a two-run shot to left-center Wednesday against Arizona, cutting a once 4-0 deficit in half.
It’s his first home run since Aug. 6.
Stassi, a 2009 Yuba City graduate, finished 3-for-4 with a home run, a double, a single, run scored and a couple RBI.
He has scored nine runs, tallied five homers and provided 15 RBI for the Angels, which came in at 20-29 and six games out of the final wildcard spot with 10 to play. Wednesday’s final was unavailable by press time.
Stassi and the Angels wrap up the set with the D-backs beginning at 1:10 p.m. Thursday. It’s a regional broadcast that is also available on MLB network.
Oakland ends road trip with 3-1 win over Colorado
Finally, a happy flight. There’s a good chance the Oakland A’s will descend out of blue skies – finally – upon return to the Bay Area. It will be a welcome sight after the arduous road trip they’ve endured that had them in Seattle’s unhealthy air and into Denver’s thin air, in-and-out of three different time zones to play four games in under 72 hours.
They can breathe again. And a scrappy 3-1 win over the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday afternoon should provide a bit of satisfaction after the all that trouble.
Next up, a well-earned day off for the A’s, who have played 16 games in 13 days. They finished the stretch 9-7.
“This was a big win for us, probably as big as any we’ve had this year,” manager Bob Melvin said. “It’s just a big swing with the games left in the season.”
Where does this win put the A’s with 10 games remaining in the regular season? Their magic number to clinch the American League West for the first time since 2013 is five. The magic number to clinch a playoff spot is four. In other words, the A’s could clinch a postseason berth during the Bay Bridge series in Oakland this weekend.
“I’d just like to clinch. I don’t care if it’s on the road or at home,” A’s closer Liam Hendriks said. “Unfortunately there won’t be fans there, so that’s a bit of a downer for the city of Oakland. But, it is what it is. I’m not going to count my chickens before they roost.
“We have to take care of business ourselves.”
Mike Fiers went down to business, finding ways to generate soft contact consistently on a fastball that averaged 87 mph. He was generating a fair amount of swings and misses and allowed one run on a Raimel Tapia single in the third inning.
Rockies hitters broke 100 mph exit velocities off Fiers just three times, twice for hits. Other than that, with thin air that can carry any ball over the fences, Fiers kept the Rockies within the park. As the Rockies’ hitters slapped some singles and found their way onto the base paths, Fiers bobbed and weaved through the traffic and managed to strike out four of them, two on his fastball and two on his changeup.
“To keep those guys in the ballpark, the few of the hits he gave up were scratch hits,” Melvin said. For as taxing it may be to pitch at Coors Field, Fiers got a little help from a Gold Glove play by Matt Olson at first base, who – with a runner on second – inched into the infield after Tapia’s bunt attempt. He scooped up Tapia’s ground ball to follow and rifled it within a half-second to Jake Lamb to get Tony Wolters running for third base, potentially saving a key run.
An offense clearly fatigued rubbed together a few runs against Rockies starter German Marquez. Tony Kemp practically manufactured a run on his own in the second inning. He drew a leadoff walk, and on an errant pickoff throw hustled to second, then to third on a wild pitch. On a ground ball, he miraculously evaded the first baseman’s tag at home after a game of pickle on a throw that was well ahead of Kemp.
SF Giants jump out on Seattle Mariners
The San Francisco Giants jumped out to an 8-run lead on Seattle Wednesday, and was leading the Mariners, 8-3 at last check.
San Francisco (23-24) came as the eighth seed and a first-round playoff date with the top-seeded Dodgers if the postseason began today.
SF concludes the series with Seattle at 1:10 p.m. Thursday.