OAKLAND -- It had been more than a year since Sean Manaea set foot on the Coliseum mound. Sunday afternoon, he reminded A's fans what they had been missing.
Manaea tossed seven dominant innings against the Detroit Tigers, allowing just one run on two hits with a career-high-tying 10 strikeouts, leading the A's to a 3-1 win.
"It's amazing," the left-hander said. "I've been thinking about this for a while and to go out there and throw seven innings like that was huge. It was just something I was really looking forward to and I'm glad I was able to pitch well."
Manaea, 27, has been terrific in each of his first two starts since returning from a shoulder injury that caused him to miss a full year. Last Sunday at Yankee Stadium, he pitched five shutout innings, allowing just one hit with five strikeouts. However, Manaea ran out of gas toward the end of that outing. This time he was able to last two more innings.
"I was still a little tired toward the end, but I think I had a little bit more endurance than I did in the start at Yankee Stadium," Manaea said.
Added A's manager Bob Melvin: "Velo(city) looked like it was dropping a little bit and then picked back up at the end. He mixed his pitches a little bit better today and gave us seven innings. I was planning on maybe six, trying to increase the pitch count a little bit, but he was able to give us seven, so that's huge."
Manaea's velocity started out in the low 90s, even touching 93 mph on a couple of occasions. While it decreased in the later innings, he was still able to induce numerous swings and misses, including all 10 of his strikeouts.
"Velo is what it is," Manaea said. "I'm trying to throw hard again, but if it's not there, I think it's more about the conviction that I have with my pitches. I got a couple of swings and misses with 89, and if that's what it takes, then that's what I've got."
Melvin was encouraged by the early fastball velocity but also noted that Manaea can still be effective throwing 89 or 90 mph.
"For most guys, (velocity) is important," Melvin said. "For him, it's not as much just because he's so deceptive and he comes from an arm angle that guys aren't used to seeing. His changeup is a huge swing-and-miss pitch, so a lot of times (batters) are in front of the changeup and they're behind the fastball. Whatever his velo is, it seems to play a little bit better just because you're not used to seeing that."
After these two starts, it seems clear that Manaea has earned a spot in the starting rotation for the rest of the season. For now, he's just happy to be back on the field helping his team make a playoff push.
"September baseball is a lot of fun," Manaea smiled. "Every game is huge. This is what we live for. This is what we play for."