Today's game got off to an inauspicious start. First, the team announced that Jarrod Parker would start today instead of Wednesday, reversing an earlier decision that would have allowed him to pitch on more rest. Then, the news came down that Brandon McCarthy would be the one who needed the rest, as he was pushed back to Saturday's start. Of course, with McCarthy, it's the shoulder again and he will throw a side session on Thursday to see if he can go Saturday. Later, Cespedes was a late scratch due to a wrist issue he felt during batting practice. As of writing, it has not been announced what Cespedes' status will be going forward. Here's hoping the demigod has a quick and miraculous recovery.
As far as this game is concerned, the Blue Jays made 3 errors, which should really disqualify them from winning. Kelly Johnson hit a 3rd inning 2-run HR off of Jarrod Parker to score Arencibia, and that would be all they managed off of him. Despite walking 5 Jays, Parker battled through 7 innings, allowing 4 hits, stranding 6 baserunners, and striking out 3. Ricky Romero pretty much matched him: he also walked 5, but struck out 7 and allowed 5 hits in 6 innings, and also served up a 2-run homerun, this time to Josh Reddick in the 5th.
The teams matched zeros until the 9th, when Eric Thames led off the inning with a triple. After a groundout to Weeks for one out, and a bonehead popped-up bunt by Omar Vizquel for the 2nd, it looked like the A's might get out of it. Then, Grant Balfour hung a curveball to Kelly Johnson that he promptly lined over Weeks' head for an RBI single. Jays lead 3-2.
BUT WAIT. IT WASN'T OVER!
Michael Taylor led off the bottom of the 9th with a double that was about 0.1" fair. After a Weeks sacrifice bunt, Taylor ALMOST had a chance to score on a wild pitch by Cordero. It was a good thing he didn't though, as Mathis made a tremendous play behind him to fire the ball home to Cordero, which would have nailed Taylor by 10 feet. That turned out to be big (for now), as Pennington came through with an RBI single to tie it. With Josh Reddick batting, then Pennington stole 2nd and Reddick was intentionally walked after Cordero went 3-0 on him. Gomes then came to bat, and Mathis this time let one go by for a passed ball, sending Pennington to 3rd and Reddick to 2nd. The Jays did the logical thing, then, and walked Gomes to load the bases for Brandon Inge.
What follows must be somewhat of a fairytale for Inge. He lined the 2nd pitch he saw from Cordero into the BBQ terrace for the 6th walkoff Grand Slam in Oakland history. Running towards homeplate for the obligatory walkoff beatdown, Inge slammed his helmet in excitement. To cap it off, during the postgame interview with Glen and Ray, Inge got the also-customary shaving cream towel-to-the-face courtesy of Josh Reddick. Inge also seemed choked up as he spoke.
Some notes of my own:
- While it worked out today, please, Bob 2.0, don't bat Brandon Inge 5th again. After today, when you do that, a fluffy bunny rabbit loses his fur.
- If McCarthy is already feeling discomfort in his shoulder, I'd rather just shut him down now and let him recover completely before throwing again. He'll be better off in the long run, even if it means we see some Graham Godfrey for 3-4 starts.
- While Cespedes and McCarthy are bad news on the injury front, Brett Anderson will pitch a simulated inning tomorrow and Dallas Braden threw for the first time in a month today. Progress!
- Balfour has the yips. Maybe he's injured and too proud to say something. Who knows, but he isn't the same guy who pumped strikes last year. Naturally, he also got the win tonight. Baseball is weird.
Finally, on another happy note, it was good to have Ken Korach back in the radio booth. While Johnny Doskow was a capable fill-in, there is no replacement for the dulcet tones of Mr. Korach massaging my ears as he calls the action.
Join baseballgirl tomorrow for the businessman's special, a 12:35PM start. Tyson Ross will take the hill for the A's, trying to reverse the sting of two poor starts on the road (pro tip: keep the ball down, Tyson!!). He will be opposed by Brandon Morrow.