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Grossman's misplay sinks A's in 9th

Mengden struggles in 'follower' role; Chapman's hustle run all for naught
@MartinJGallegos
June 6, 2019

ANAHEIM -- Lou Trivino was charged with another loss on Wednesday in what has been a rough couple of weeks for him, but this one doesn’t fall on him. Trivino appeared to induce an inning-ending fly ball against Dustin Garneau with two outs that would have sent the game into

ANAHEIM -- Lou Trivino was charged with another loss on Wednesday in what has been a rough couple of weeks for him, but this one doesn’t fall on him.

Trivino appeared to induce an inning-ending fly ball against Dustin Garneau with two outs that would have sent the game into extras, but a bad read by left fielder Robbie Grossman led to him racing back to the warning track before he was unable to make the catch. The ball bounced into the bleachers, allowing Brian Goodwin to score from second base after a two-out single and stolen base earlier in the ninth, and the Angels walked it off on a ground-rule double for a 10-9 victory.

“I think the ball just kind of drifted over at an angle that he didn’t expect it to,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “He had to go a long way. We weren’t playing deep, had to play for a single there, potentially. I think it kind of fooled him, but it would have been a good catch if he made it.”

Box score

Grossman said he was expecting the ball to carry more towards the corner, which is why he was racing to his right before trying to break back at the last second.

“I didn’t make the catch and I should have made the catch,” Grossman said. “It kind of spun me around and that was it.”

The way the night began, it was hard to fathom the A’s finding themselves in such a scenario. Oakland built up an early 7-1 lead through the first three innings, only to watch Daniel Mengden fail to hold it. Mengden followed opener Joakim Soria, who surrendered a leadoff homer to Tommy La Stella in the first. It’s a role Mengden seemed to conquer in 2018 when he posted a 1.83 ERA in the five games he pitched following an opener, but his second time doing it in 2019 did not go nearly as well.

Mengden allowed four runs in the third, including a two-run homer to Mike Trout after a mistake 2-2 curveball sailed over the wall in left-center field, and he was pulled in the fourth with one out and two runners on. Yusmeiro Petit came on with a two-run lead, and he surrendered a three-run blast to Shohei Ohtani that put the Angels ahead by one run. Two of the runs on the Ohtani homer were charged to Mengden, as he allowed six earned runs over 2 1/3 innings, the most he’s ever allowed as a follower.

“It’s a little tougher,” Mengden said of the follower role. “I’ve only done it a handful of times, so still trying to get used to it. But I still have to execute whenever I enter the game, and I just didn’t do that tonight.”

After a scoreless 1-2-3 second inning, Mengden often fell behind in the count in the second and third, which led to his early departure.

“I was just all over the place,” Mengden said. “Wasn’t really comfortable out there. I didn’t execute, fell behind and got banged around.”

A combined 14 runs were scored from the second through fourth innings before the offensive outburst subsided, but the A’s continued to fight back and took the lead in the eighth with two runs, including the go-ahead run on heads-up baserunning by Matt Chapman, as he hustled home from third on a wild pitch by Angels reliver Hansel Robles. Chapman’s mad dash to take the lead was short-lived, however, as Liam Hendriks pitched his way into a bases-loaded jam in the bottom half before Ryan Buchter came on and issued a game-tying walk to Ohtani.

The walk came after Melvin instructed Hendriks to intentionally walk Trout to get to Ohtani.

“I wasn’t going to let him beat me in that situation,” Melvin said. “There’s always some thought. Ohtani’s not the easiest guy in the world to go after. But going into the game, the guy you don’t want to beat you is Trout. It’s a tough decision, but [I] felt like that was our best chance.”

Five-star catch

Grossman’s misplay to end the game overshadowed a sensational play he made just one inning prior.

With one out and a runner on first in the eighth, Grossman hustled over to left center, covering 73 feet in 4.3 seconds, and made a superb diving catch that only had a catch probability of 15 percent, according to Statcast, to rob Luis Rengifo.

Martin Gallegos covers the A's for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @MartinJGallegos.