One team that has been there, done that and another that will be trying something new make a quick turnaround Wednesday afternoon when the Oakland Athletics and visiting Arizona Diamondbacks complete a three-game series.
Oakland used the experience of a seventh extra-inning ballgame already this season to grind out a 9-8, 12-inning victory over Arizona on Tuesday night, getting three stellar innings of relief from Austin Pruitt and a walk-off infield hit by Esteury Ruiz.
The Diamondbacks went beyond nine innings for the first time this season, and they are still looking for their first extra-inning hit. Making every pitch with the potential go-ahead run in scoring position, Pruitt retired nine of the 10 batters he faced, allowing just an intentional walk in the 11th.
Both teams used 18 players — 12 position players and six pitchers — giving both managers potential bullpen issues with a series win at stake on Wednesday.
Having watched his team improve to 3-4 in extra innings, A’s manager Mark Kotsay said, “It feels like every win when you talk about using the whole team. Tonight was the same. Several guys had good nights. Pruitt stands out. Coming in and throwing three innings and holding the Diamondbacks to zero runs is pretty remarkable.”
One thing Kotsay will have to avoid in the series finale is a repeat of the Athletics’ last walk-off win at night that was followed by a day game. That occurred last Friday and Saturday against the Texas Rangers, when the A’s had nothing left in the tank after a 9-7, 10-inning win and got shut out the next day, 5-0.
Meanwhile, Tuesday’s defeat was the seventh of the season for the Arizona bullpen, although — other than Ryan Noda’s grand slam off Kyle Nelson that followed a key error by third baseman Evan Longoria — it was hard to blame the five relievers.
Scott McGough took the loss, his fourth of the season, but it was hardly his fault. The last two hits off him, including Ruiz’s game-winner, were of the infield variety and easily could have turned into outs and sent the game into a 13th inning.
“I think the bullpen’s gonna be fine,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “We’ve got some guys that are throwing the ball well. I just think that the guys that aren’t need to start to figure some things out.”
Having won 5-2 on Monday night and seeking a second consecutive series win, Arizona will send right-hander Ryne Nelson (1-2, 6.20 ERA) to the hill to oppose Oakland righty Luis Medina (0-2, 8.18).
Neither has ever faced his Wednesday opponent.
Nelson pitched a team win — he didn’t get a decision — for just the second time this season when he went 4 2/3 innings, allowing four runs, as Arizona beat the San Francisco Giants 7-5 on Friday.
Medina will be making his third major league start in hopes he can improve as much between his second and third as he did between his first and second.
After serving up eight runs (seven earned) in five innings during an 11-3 loss to the Los Angeles Angels in his debut, the 24-year-old limited the Rangers to three runs over six innings in a 4-0 home loss on Thursday. He walked three and gave up two homers against the Angels, then walked nobody and got bashed for just one homer against the Rangers.
–Field Level Media
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