When the season began, you would have cringed when you learned that Travis Blackley was getting the start. You would have held your breath each time Chris Carter took even a routine throw at 1B. You would have expected the lineup to fail 1-9, probably aggravating you in the process by taking way too many strikes.
Welcome to today's game, which thankfully was the exception and not the rule. Wei-Yin Chen set an obscure major league record when he recorded 12 strikeouts in just 5.2 IP: It's the most strikeouts ever in the major leagues by a Taiwanese-born pitcher.
Meanwhile, not such a great day for the Aussie-born pitcher thanks in large part to a bunt. Omar Quintanilla led off the bottom of the 3rd by dragging a bunt to the right of the mound and Blackley dove, smothering the ball and attempting to give it CPR, but unable to make an actual play on it. What he did manage to do, however, was to tweak his neck.
Blackley stayed in the game and with one out made a pickoff throw that Chris Carter neglected to catch -- off his glove and down the RF line for a two-base error. It was one of two E3s charged to Carter on throws he clanked. Adam Jones doubled home the game's first run and then Matt Wieters launched a 3-run HR to make it a 4-run 3rd.
The 5th run off Blackley? That came in the 5th on a DP ball that each member who touched the ball managed to mess up. With two on and nobody out, Wieters bounced it to Brandon Inge who could have taken it to the bag to start a 5-3 DP. Instead he elected to throw to 2B, and it wasn't the greatest feed either. Jemile Weeks pulled down the high throw, but didn't clear himself very well as Adam Jones bore down on him. Weeks' relay to 1B was a bit high. Carter stretched for it and...clank. Off his glove, run scores, E3. It was that kind of day for the A's.
At the plate? The A's seemed intrigued by the notion of "What if the lineup had '9 Daric Bartons'?" A ton of called strikes taken, a few balls as well, leading to 4 BBs and 14 Ks, of which I believe 15 were looking. Oakland did have one real shot, and that was in the 6th when they scored on a Yoenis Cespedes base hit and then loaded the bases with two out in a 5-1 game. Darren O'Day, the sidewinding right-hander was in and Derek Norris was due up. In a move that was, to put it charitably, puzzling, Bob Melvin elected not to "take his shot" pinch hitting with Brandon Moss and to let Norris bat. Norris wound up popping up to 3B and in the 7th, adding insult to injury, Moss pinch hit for Jonny Gomes in a far less crucial situation -- now 6-1 thanks to a Quintanilla HR, and with only one runner on -- against O'Day...and lined a single to CF.
Similar to the opening game at home against Texas, and getaway day in Toronto, the A's rarely lose these days but when they do, they put all their week's suck into one game. Ahead: David Price and James Shields, as the A's return home to face the Rays. Ruh-roh.