OAKLAND — In a game that included some unusual controversy, a trace of normalcy returned for the A’s pitching staff. That paved the way to a 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Angels that snapped Oakland’s season-high eight-game losing streak.
Sean Manaea pitched into the seventh inning and tied his career high with 115 pitches. It was the kind of stabilizing effort the A’s badly needed as their starters have struggled mightily of late.
Manaea (10-9) gave up five hits and struck out six over six-plus innings, becoming just the fifth Oakland starter in the past nine games to complete more than four innings.
The A’s had just taken a 1-0 lead on Khris Davis’ 39th homer in the bottom of the fourth when tensions escalated. Rookie third baseman Matt Chapman was ejected by home plate umpire Mike Everitt when he began jawing with Angels catcher Juan Graterol as he was digging in to the box to begin his at-bat.
It wasn’t the first signal of tension in the early innings of this game, as Graterol and A’s center fielder Mark Canha exchanged words before and after Graterol went out to the mound in the second to talk to Angels starter Tyler Skaggs.
After that second-inning incident, replays showed Everitt talking to someone in the Angels dugout and the words “stealing a sign” could be heard. It appeared the Angels were accusing the A’s of stealing signs.
Sign-stealing is at the forefront of everyone’s thoughts around the game right now after the revelation of the Boston Red Sox reportedly using electronic technology in stealing signs from the New York Yankees.
At any rate, Chapman began exchanging words with Graterol in the fourth before he even saw a pitch from Angels starter Tyler Skaggs. Everett quickly got between Chapman and Graterol and then the umpire began lecturing Chapman. A few moments later, Everett ejected Chapman. Renato Nunez pinch-hit for him and took over at third base. Aside from that, the game played out in conventional fashion and clocked in at a reasonable 3 hours, 10 minutes. From that standpoint, it was different from the first two games of this three-game set, both Angels wins and both marathon extra-inning games that featured both managers making rapid-fire pitching changes with expanded bullpens at their disposal.
The A’s scored twice in the fifth to increase their lead to 3-0 on Chad Pinder’s RBI single to score Marcus Semien, and a Davis fly ball that got lost in the sun by Justin Upton for a run-scoring error. With Blake Treinen unavaialble, Chris Hatcher closed out the ninth for his first save in the American League.