BY DANIEL GLUSKOTER
Matt Chapman’s two run eighth inning home run came at a perfect time to break out of a 1-27 slump, giving the A’s a 5-3 come from behind win over the Milwaukee Brewers in a battle of playoff contenders at the Oakland Coliseum Thursday afternoon. The win keeps Oakland 1/2 game back of Tampa Bay in the battle for the second American League Wild Card spot.
Chad Pinder’s third inning home run got the A’s on the board, but it was Chapman’s blast off of fellow All-Star Josh Hader, his 24th of the year, that gave Oakland the three game series against last seasons NL Central champs after the Brewers had built a 3-1 lead an inning earlier.
In just his fourth start for the green and gold, recent acquisition Homer Bailey settled down after a shaky start to pitch six solid innings for the A’s, allowing two earned runs while striking out five. Jake Diekman, acquired from Kansas City on Sunday, wasn’t quite as impressive after coming on in the seventh. Diekman loaded the bases with nobody out, then nearly worked his way out of it before uncorking a two out wild pitch that put Milwaukee up by two.
Mark Canha had another productive game for Oakland, reaching base in all four plate appearances on three hits and a walk while stealing a pair of bases. After the Athletics added an insurance run on a sacrifice fly by Jurickson Profar, Liam Hendriks came on to pitch a perfect ninth inning for his tenth save of the year.
After a rare scheduled Friday off day, the A’s first since October 1980, the St. Louis Cardinals come into town for a brief two game series. Mike Fiers (9-3, 3.54) takes the mound against Dakota Hudson (10-5, 3.88) in the opener on Saturday evening at 6:07pm.
Chapman’s blast was his his 11th go-ahead home run of the season, tying him with the Angels Mike Trout for the second most in the American League. It was also his 24th of the year, tying his career high set in 2018.
Right-hander Tanner Roark, acquired from Cincinnati just prior to yesterday’s trade deadline, is likely to make his Oakland debut Sunday afternoon against the Cards.
Right fielder Stephen Piscotty, out since June 29th, is close to returning and might be back in time to face his former team this weekend. Piscotty played his first three seasons with St. Louis before getting traded to the A’s prior to the 2018 season.