OAKLAND [url=http://www.officialcapitals.com/authentic-adidas-braden-holtby-jersey]Braden Holtby Jersey[/url] , Calif. — Two teams that began heading in opposite directions at just about the time they saw each other last month hook up again when the San Diego Padres and Oakland Athletics open a two-game interleague series Tuesday night.
The Padres were within arm’s length of .500 at 34-40, having won nine of 15, when the A’s ventured into San Diego and used a ninth-inning, two-out, two-strike, game-tying home run from Stephen Piscotty off relief ace Brad Hand to trigger a two-game sweep, winning 4-2 and 12-4.
The Padres now head north well out of contention in the National League West, having lost 11 of 14.
The A’s, meanwhile, have won 12 of 15 to surge well above .500 at 46-39 and into contention in the American League wild-card race.
Oakland has made much of its recent run without standout third baseman Matt Chapman, who has taken time off to allow pain in his right hand to subside.
Two cortisone shots later, Chapman had a pain-free hitting session Sunday and was sent to Class A for an injury-rehab game Monday.
It’s possible he could be reinstated from the disabled list during this series.
“He hit a few off the back wall in center field, so that tells me enough,” A’s manager Bob Melvin observed Sunday. “Getting him back in the lineup will be a nice little kick for us.”
The A’s need no such boost in their pitching. They have allowed two or fewer runs in four of their last five games.
Right-hander Chris Bassitt (1-3, 2.82 ERA) will look to extend that impressive run while at the same time taste his first career success in interleague play.
The 29-year-old began the A’s recent pitching showcase with six innings of two-hit [url=http://www.officialcapitals.com/authentic-adidas-christian-djoos-jersey]Youth Christian Djoos Jersey[/url] , scoreless ball in a 3-0 win at Detroit last Wednesday.
He has never faced the Padres in his career, and has lost both interleague starts despite a 2.45 ERA.
One intriguing potential matchup in the series is A’s closer Blake Treinen against Padres slugger Eric Hosmer, a pairing that carried a bit of history into a game-ending showdown in the A’s earlier 4-2 win in San Diego.
Then a member of the Kansas City Royals, Hosmer bombed a two-run, go-ahead homer off Treinen in the eighth inning of their first career head-to-head last August.
Treinen then extracted a measure of revenge in the June 19 rematch in San Diego, closing out the 10-inning game by striking out Hosmer as he represented the potential tying run.
Bassitt will be opposed by left-hander Clayton Richard (7-7, 4.29), who had a four-game winning streak stopped in a 5-2 loss at Texas last Wednesday.
He retains a good interleague record (9-5, 3.50) despite not having beaten an American League opponent since 2015.
You have to go back three years before that to find his last appearance against the A’s in Oakland, but it was a memorable one. He shut out a playoff-bound A’s team for 7 2/3 innings in 2012, allowing five hits in a 2-1 win.
He has faced the A’s three times in his career, twice as a starter, and gone 1-1 with a 3.21 ERA.
One A’s hitter that Richard will have to deal with is the aforementioned Piscotty, who played last season for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Piscotty has dominated the head-to-heads, going 3-for-4 with a home run and a flyout to deep center field in the only non-hit of the matchup.
A’s catcher Jonathan Lucroy [url=http://www.officialcapitals.com/authentic-adidas-devante-smith-pelly-jersey]Womens Devante Smith-Pelly Jersey[/url] , another former National Leaguer, also has a successful history against Richard, going 7-for-18 (.389) with two doubles and a homer.
Matt Kemp wasn’t supposed to last long in his return to Los Angeles. He was tabbed as trade bait after arriving from Atlanta in exchange for a salary dump by the Dodgers.
The 33-year-old slugger has made himself at home again in a hurry.
Kemp got three hits and drove in four runs, including a go-ahead homer leading off the eighth inning that rallied the Dodgers past the Colorado Rockies 6-4 on Sunday to prevent a sweep and end a three-game skid.
Kemp is on track to earn his third All-Star nod and first since 2012. He’s the second-leading vote-getter, ahead of Washington’s Bryce Harper, among NL outfielders.
”That’s what the All-Star Game is, having a good first half,” Kemp said. ”My real focus is trying to get to the playoffs and win a championship, something I’ve never done.”
Kemp was 1 for 6 in the first two games of the series, which the Dodgers lost by identical scores of 3-1. He has been solid in his last 14 games against Colorado, batting .438 with 11 RBIs.
”He showed in spring training he was in shape and was hitting from the start,” Dodgers starter Ross Stripling said.
Kemp sent his 14th homer of the season over the center-field wall off Adam Ottavino (4-2) to put Los Angeles ahead 5-4. It was the Dodgers’ first homer of July after they hit a major league-leading and franchise-record 55 in June.
One out later, Yasiel Puig doubled. Joc Pederson followed and reached on an infield single to second that DJ LeMahieu dived to stop. Puig made a heads-up baserunning play when he scored an insurance run after taking an extra base on Pederson’s hit.
Puig took advantage of LeMahieu’s soft throw from his knees to first baseman Ian Desmond.
”DJ slipped,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. ”If DJ wanted to do it over again he would probably give a firmer throw to Desmond to get it back in.”
Puig hopped back and forth before taking off for the plate, sliding belly first. He got up and swung his arms in wild celebration with the Dodgers ahead 6-4.
”I do my crazy move and score [url=http://www.officialcapitals.com/authentic-adidas-evgeny-kuznetsov-jersey]http://www.officialcapitals.com/authentic-adidas-evgeny-kuznetsov-jersey[/url] ,” Puig said. ”I said in my mind, `He’s not going to throw me out, I’m going home.’ Not too many players who score from third base in that situation.”
Kemp agreed, saying, ”Everyone is living right.”
Kemp drove in the Dodgers’ first three runs with an RBI groundout in the first, a double in the third and a single in the fifth.
Daniel Hudson (3-2) went one inning. Kenley Jansen pitched a perfect ninth for his 22nd save.
Nolan Arenado hit his team-leading 21st homer and had an RBI grounder, helping the Rockies take a 4-2 lead in the fifth.
Rockies starter Chad Bettis was pulled after three innings because of fluid underneath a callus on his right middle finger. The right-hander allowed two runs and three hits, struck out two and walked two in his shortest outing of the season.
”It is really painful,” Bettis said. ”It is kind of something that is a little bit of a mental block trying to battle through that pain. I felt like it got to the point where I really needed to say something.”
Stripling gave up four runs and a season-high nine hits in six innings. The right-hander struck out seven and walked one.
Rockies: RHP Bryan Shaw (right calf strain) will throw a bullpen session on Monday and simulated game on Wednesday. He is working on mechanics with his delivery and more consistent pitch locations.
Rockies: LHP Kyle Freeland (7-6, 3.29 ERA) makes his second straight start against the Giants on Monday in the home opener of a three-game set. He is 3-1 with a 2.91 ERA at Coors Field in his career against them.
Dodgers: LHP Alex Wood (4-5, 4.00) starts on Monday in the opener of a three-game series against the Pirates. In eight games (seven starts) against them, Wood is 2-2 with a 2.86 ERA.
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