Billy Burns delivered a walk-off single with two outs in the ninth inning to give the A's a 3-2 victory over the Angels in Friday night's series opener at the Coliseum.
The winning hit off right-hander Fernando Salas plated Marcus Semien, who drew a two-out walk and advanced to third on Jake Smolinski's base hit. A's closer Ryan Madsonearned the win, despite allowing a game-tying sac fly in the ninth. For a moment, however, it looked like he had earned the save in a 2-1 Oakland win.
It appeared the game had ended after Smolinski was ruled to have made a diving catch in right field on a Daniel Nava liner before doubling off Todd Cunningham at first base. But the Angels challenged the call, and replays showed that Smolinski trapped it. Cunningham was awarded third base, putting runners on the corner for Johnny Giavotella, who tied the game with a sac fly.
"Initially, I thought that I caught the ball, so I went over to Burnsy, and I said, 'What did it look like to you?'" Smolinski said. "He said he didn't think I got it. I knew once he said that that I probably didn't get it. And as soon as I saw the video, it wasn't really that close. It just felt like it went in."
Lost in the ninth-inning drama was the best start of the season by Kendall Graveman, who settled on a no-decision after stringing together seven innings of one-run ball.
"The real hero tonight was Kendall Graveman," Burns said. "He was awesome tonight. I just happened to be the last hitter."
Graveman, who had completed no more than 6 1/3 innings in his previous 12 starts, held the Angels to just three hits, including a game-tying solo home run off the bat of Kole Calhoun in the third. But the A's regained the lead in the fourth on Khris Davis' 16th homer, a one-out solo shot against right-hander Matt Shoemaker.
Shoemaker gave the Angels six innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on six hits and one walk with seven strikeouts.
"I think Matt was grinding a little bit more. He got into some deeper counts tonight than he had during his stretch," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of Shoemaker's club-record 49 strikeouts without a walk, which ended in his last start. "You can't ask for more than he gave you. He went six, and one of the runs was unearned."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED No-doubles 'D' burns Angels: With Semien on first in the ninth, the Angels' outfield went into its no-doubles defense to prevent a deep hit from winning the game. Smolinski's liner fell in front of Calhoun, who may have had a play with normal positioning, putting runners on the corners for Burns. Scioscia said both the situation and that Smolinski had flied out to deep right in the seventh inning, played into his decision. More >
Graveman dazzles: Graveman has continually struggled to pitch deep into games this season, magnifying the significance of his impressive seven-inning outing. Only once in his previous seven starts had he even managed to get through six innings, going no more than 4 1/3 in three of his last four. The right-hander induced 13 ground-ball outs, compared to three in the air, and walked only one with four strikeouts, retiring his final 13 batters in a row.
"Best we've seen him yet," A's manager Bob Melvin said, "and I think he found out if he throws his sinker in the zone, as long as it's down, he can get a lot of ground balls. And he got a lot of ground balls, and that's vintage Kendall." More >
Calhoun gets to Graveman: Calhoun was the lone Angels hitter to solve Graveman, golfing a curveball over the right-center-field wall for a solo homer in the third inning. It was their last hit until the eighth, when Andrelton Simmons opened the inning with a double.
"He threw the ball well," Calhoun said of Graveman. "He had a good sinker-and-cutter combo. He kept the ball down and kept us off base and off balance."
Davis goes deep: Davis continues to show off the kind of power that made him so attractive to the A's, who acquired his services from the Brewers in February. Davis' 16 home runs are tied for ninth in the American League, and he's batting .360 with nine RBIs over his last seven games.
WHAT'S NEXT Angels:Tim Lincecum makes his season debut for the Angels on Saturday at the Coliseum, marking his return from hip surgery. The right-hander was 7-4 with a 4.13 ERA in 15 starts before a left hip injury ended his 2015 season with the Giants in June. The 1:05 p.m. PT matchup is available free on MLB.TV.
A's: Rookie right-hander Andrew Triggs gets the call as the A's and Angels will meet again Saturday for the second game of this three-game series at the Coliseum. It will be the first career big league start for Triggs, who has an 8.00 ERA in 10 relief appearances for the A's this season. The 1:05 p.m. PT matchup is available free on MLB.TV.