Murphy’s 3-run homer helps Athletics split DH with Tigers

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
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OAKLAND, Calif. – Sean Murphy clobbered a baseball and sent it directly through the window of a suite in center field, an impressive drive the Oakland Athletics hope will provide some much-needed momentum to start the second half.

Crazy thing, manager Mark Kotsay even had a suite in that very area – “I might have had the one next to it,” he noted – while a player for the A’s back in 2006.

Murphy’s three-run homer highlighted Oakland’s five-run sixth inning that broke up a scoreless game, and the A’s beat the Detroit Tigers 5-0 on Thursday to split a doubleheader.

“That was a pretty good shot,” Murphy said with a smile after a drive that was projected at 447 feet.

In the first game, Jeimer Candelario homered and Robbie Grossman doubled twice and drove in three runs against his former team as Detroit won 7-2.

Murphy connected for his 10th homer – his second straight season in double digits – off Garrett Hill (1-2), a rookie making his third major league start.

Stephen Vogt added a sacrifice fly and Tony Kemp an RBI single in the fifth for the A’s, who started an eight-game homestand Thursday to begin the second half.

“Splitting a doubleheader’s good – you don’t want to lose both,” Murphy said. “That was a good team win. Everybody contributed.”

Frankie Montas started the second game, returning from missing two turns with inflammation in his pitching shoulder. He went three innings before Domingo Acevedo (2-2) worked the sixth for the win. He was the third of six Oakland pitchers in a four-hit gem that took 2 hours, 45 minutes.

It was the sixth shutout of the season for the A’s.

Montas said he was pain-free and felt great. He had been forced out of his last outing July 3 at Seattle and wasn’t expected to work deep into the game.

“Just want to make sure he’s good and healthy,” Kotsay said.

In the opener, Candelario connected leading off the seventh to help back Tarik Skubal (7-8), who struck out nine and didn’t allow an earned run over six impressive innings while pitching back home in the East Bay.

He is back on track after losing five straight starts from June 12 to July 3, utilizing his steady slider.

“My slider’s my best pitch and I kind of just didn’t have a great feel for it. It kind of wasn’t doing what I want it to do,” Skubal said. “I was able to get it back to the movement I like, and I think that’s why my results have been a little bit different than prior.”

Grossman’s two-run double in the third put Detroit ahead, then he doubled again two innings later as the Tigers added an unearned run after second baseman Sheldon Neuse‘s fielding error. Jonathan Schoop provided insurance runs with an eighth-inning double and a sacrifice fly in the ninth. Riley Greene added an RBI single in the ninth.

Tigers reliever Alex Lange gave up a home run to Seth Brown in the seventh. Stephen Piscotty had a sacrifice fly for Oakland.

A’s lefty Zach Logue (3-5) allowed three runs on five hits over six innings, struck out four and walked one. He’s yet to win back-to-back starts or decisions in 2022. He was called up before the game from Triple-A Las Vegas for his fifth stint of the season with Oakland and will return to the minors.

“I’m just trying to be where my feet are,” he said.

Detroit played its seventh doubleheader this season – second most in the majors behind Cleveland’s eight – and still has two more scheduled. This one was necessitated by the lockout-delayed start to the season.

The A’s went 5-2 against the Tigers to take the season series for a fifth straight year. This matchup came after a previous doubleheader between the clubs on May 10 in Detroit during which the A’s were the home game for opener. This marked another quick trip West for the Tigers after playing in the Bay Area with a two-game series at San Francisco from June 28-29.

“It’s a weird thing to come for one day, but we knew this in April,” manager A.J. Hinch said. “When the lockout ended, we knew we’d have a quick trip. We’ll go home, regroup with a day off and then get (ready for) Minnesota.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Tigers: RHP Matt Manning, on the 60-day injured list retroactive to April 17 with right shoulder inflammation, is scheduled for a minor league rehab appearance Friday. … RHP Beau Brieske went on the 15-day injured list with soreness in his right forearm that Hinch called a muscle strain. Brieske tried playing catch after the All-Star break and experienced discomfort. … RHP Jose Cisnero returned from the bereavement list.

Athletics: RHP Dany Jimenez, who went on the 15-day injured list June 21 with a strained pitching shoulder, threw a 30-pitch bullpen Tuesday. He could face hitters as soon as Tuesday. … Rookie INF Jonah Bride (shoulder) will continue his rehab assignment Friday with Class A Stockton at Fresno. “Jonah’s doing great,” Kotsay said.

ROSTER MOVES

The Tigers recalled INF Zack Short and INF/OF Kody Clemens from Triple-A Toledo and placed RHP Will Vest on the paternity list after he welcomed a baby boy. Vest is expected back Saturday.

UP NEXT

Following Friday’s off day, RHP Michael Pineda (2-5, 5.22 ERA) will pitch Saturday for the Tigers back home against the Twins.

LHP Cole Irvin (4-7, 3.21) will take the mound Friday night for the A’s in the opener of a weekend series at home with the Rangers.

Yankees star Judge hits 62nd homer to break Maris’ AL record

New York Yankees v Texas Rangers - Game Two
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ARLINGTON, Texas – Aaron Judge hit his 62nd home run of the season Tuesday night, breaking Roger Maris’ American League record and setting what some fans consider baseball’s “clean” standard.

The 30-year-old Yankees slugger drove a 1-1 slider from Texas right-hander Jesus Tinoco into the first couple of rows of seats in left field when leading off the second game of New York’s day-night doubleheader.

Maris’ 61 for the Yankees in 1961 had been exceeded six times previously, but all were tainted by the stench of steroids. Mark McGwire hit 70 for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1998 and 65 the following year. Barry Bonds hit an MLB-record 73 for the San Francisco Giants in 2001, and the Chicago Cubs’ Sammy Sosa had 66, 65 and 63 during a four-season span starting in 1998.

McGwire admitted using banned steroids, while Bonds and Sosa denied knowingly using performing-enhancing drugs. Major League Baseball started testing with penalties for PEDs in 2004, and some fans – perhaps many – until now have considered Maris as holder of the legitimate record.

A Ruthian figure with a smile as outsized as his body, the 6-foot-7 Judge has rocked the major leagues with a series of deep drives that hearken to the sepia tone movie reels of his legendary pinstriped predecessors.

“He should be revered for being the actual single-season home run champ,” Roger Maris Jr. said Wednesday night after his father’s mark was matched by Judge. “I think baseball needs to look at the records and I think baseball should do something.”

Judge had homered only once in the past 13 games, and that was when he hit No. 61 last Wednesday in Toronto. The doubleheader nightcap in Texas was his 55th game in row played since Aug. 5.

After a single in five at-bats in the first game Tuesday, Judge was 3 for 17 with five walks and a hit by pitch since moving past the 60 home runs Babe Ruth hit in 1927, which had stood as the major league record for 34 years. Maris hit his 61st off Boston’s Tracy Stallard at old Yankee Stadium on Oct. 1, 1961.

Judge has a chance to become the first AL Triple Crown winner since Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera in 2012. He leads the AL with 131 RBIs and began the day trailing Minnesota’s Luis Arraez, who was hitting .315.

The home run in his first at-bat put him back to .311, where he had started the day before dropping a point in the opener.

Judge’s accomplishment will cause endless debate.

“To me, the holder of the record for home runs in a season is Roger Maris,” author George Will said earlier this month. “There’s no hint of suspicion that we’re seeing better baseball than better chemistry in the case of Judge. He’s clean. He’s not doing something that forces other players to jeopardize their health.”