The Oakland Athletics and Texas Rangers played a baseball game today. It wasn't televised, because Comcast only shows 144 A's games. It was nationally broadcast for free on Major League Baseball's website, but it was blacked out in Oakland's market so as not to interfere with the local broadcast, which didn't exist. Therefore, everybody in the country was able to watch the game except people in Northern California. Such is life as an A's fan.
There's good news, though! The A's won! 7-1! Not only did they win, they took 3 out of 4 from the Rangers! Brandon McCarthy dominated, and Coco Crisp proved me wrong for a day by driving in four runs on a homer and a triple! That is all very good news.
There's also bad news, though. Yoenis Cespedes hurt himself again. In the 1st inning, while rounding 2nd on Seth Smith's RBI single, Cespedes pulled his left hamstring. He immediately exited the game, and I'd be surprised if he was in the lineup tomorrow. According the Comcast's Casey Pratt:
Melvin said Cespedes injury doesn't appear DL-worthy. Hopes he can pinch hit in NL games.
So there's that. For now, though, we can be happy that the A's rose to the occasion and won a series against the two-time AL Champs. Continue after the jump to read more about the game.
My only knowledge of the game comes from reading the play-by-play, hearing about half of it on the radio, and watching highlights of the scoring plays on MLB's site. However, it wasn't hard to get the gist of it. Brandon McCarthy dominated the Rangers, and Yu Darvish struggled to hit his spots. The Rangers went down 1-2-3 in 6 different innings, and the A's only did so twice. McCarthy struck out 5 and walked none, while Darvish struck out 4 and walked 6. Two different Athletics hit their first home runs of the season. This game was pretty much all A's.
Oakland got to business right away. Jemile Weeks and Cespedes each singled in the 1st, and Seth Smith followed with a solid single to center. When I said that Darvish wasn't hitting his spots, this is what I was talking about: Catcher Mike Napoli was set up inside, and the pitch finished just off the outside corner. Smith took advantage of the mistake to drive in the game's first run, but Cespedes came up lame as he rounded second and limped into third before exiting the game. Let's not talk about that, though. Stay focused. The A's are winning! It's 1-0!
In the 3rd inning, something happened. You should sit down before you read this part. Are you ready? Alright: Coco Crisp hit a homer! With Napoli set up low and away, Darvish left a fastball up and in (basically the exact opposite of what he was trying to do) and Crisp crushed it. It wasn't a Jason Kendall 330-foot special, either; it looked like it landed past the 367-foot marker on the right-center field fence.
Texas scraped together their only run of the game in the top of the 4th, as Josh Hamilton doubled ahead of Adrian Beltre's RBI single. That was it for Texas. McCarthy sat them down 1-2-3 in 5 of his 7 innings, allowing only those two hits and a 3rd inning single to Mitch Moreland.
To make matters worse for the Rangers, Darvish completely fell apart in the bottom of the 4th. With one out, he walked both Brandons (Inge and Moss), and then hit Suzuki with a pitch. After allowing a run on a sac fly to Cliff Pennington, he issued another walk to Weeks. Up strode Coco Crisp, who promptly ended the rally with a popout to the second baseman.
Wait, what? Hold on, that's not right. Sorry, it's just a force of habit. Muscle memory and what not. With Napoli set up low and away, Darvish left a fastball up in the zone and Crisp crushed it off the wall for a bases-clearing triple. If you're keeping track, that's 7 total bases and 4 RBI for Coco. He had 20 total bases and 6 RBI on the season coming into the game. Looks like we're going to see more of Coco in the indefinite future.
Oakland put together rallies in the 5th and 6th, but failed to score. In the 7th, however, Brandon Moss came through with a solo shot off of reliever Tanner Scheppers, whose name is so ridiculous that I don't even know how to make fun of it. It's hard not to get excited about Moss's homer. He was very impressive in the field last night, and if he can hit for power in the Majors then Oakland may finally have a first baseman who they can stick with for more than a week.
After scoreless innings by Grant Balfour and Jerry Blevins, Oakland had wrapped up a 7-1 victory and a series win against their division leaders. They received outstanding pitching performances from three of their starting pitchers, with Jarrod Parker, Bartolo Colon, and McCarthy combining to throw 23 innings and allow only one run. They called up a new first baseman, who has already performed well. They got a breakout performance from a struggling veteran. Last night, they handed Texas its first shutout of the season. Sure, Cespedes already hurt himself again, but let's wait for more information before freaking out about it too much.
More importantly, at the moment when it seemed like Oakland's season had gone completely down the toilet, suddenly things don't seem so bad. No, they're not going to contend, and even reaching 500 will be a struggle. But darn it, they beat Texas! Didn't just beat 'em, they smoked 'em! The Rangers only scored 2 runs in their three losses! Just about everybody on the team performed well, and Oakland was rolling on both sides of the ball! In the middle of a rough season, it's important to enjoy respites like this one, because you never know how long they will last. Today's game was a breath of fresh air after a very gloomy losing streak.
Now if only I could have watched it on TV.
Oakland travels to Arizona tomorrow to play their first of 15 straight interleague games. They will play each team in the NL West in a 3-game series, with the first 2 series coming on the road against the D'Backs and Rockies. Tommy Milone faces Daniel Hudson in the opener, at 6:40pm tomorrow.