Break out the gin, Athletics Nation. Oakland folded early in this game, showing little heart on the diamond as they allowed a strong St. Louis club to score runs in spades. Not a lot went right for the A's in today's 7-1 loss, and it felt like they were drawing dead by about the 6th inning.
The afternoon started out promising, as a full house packed the Coliseum for Coco Lean Bobbletorso Day. A pair of aces took the mound, with Jarrod Parker facing Adam Wainwright, and it looked like we would be treated to a classic pitcher's duel. Both starters were dealing through the first three innings.
Oakland's visions of victory were flushed down the toilet in the 4th inning, however, when Parker went down with a hamstring injury. With two outs, he threw a pitch to Allen Craig and crumpled straight to the ground, clutching his right leg. He raised back up to his feet, but Oakland made the smart decision by calling Parker's bluff and going all-in with their bullpen for the rest of the game. That's just the luck of the draw, folks; better to be cautious in June than to gamble with Parker's long-term health.
Jesse Chavez entered the game hoping to provide a bridge from Parker to the set-up relievers, but he was unable to hold 'em. Chavez flopped today, and the pitcher's duel quickly turned into a river of runs for St. Louis. The Cardinals put a deuce on the board in the 5th thanks to some small-ball, and Oakland's long-man was sent to the showers after putting the first two batters on in the 6th. He was a bit wild overall, and he looked like a fish next to a St. Louis lineup full of sharks.
With Chavez unsuited to retire hitters today, Bob Melvin turned to clubhouse joker Jerry Blevins to mop things up. Unfortunately, Blevins pitched like he was blind, and Matt Holliday greeted him with an RBI single to center. On the very next pitch, rookie Matt Adams smoked a three-run jack to right which landed somewhere between Omaha and Texas. Adams made quite a splash today; he would later double down by adding a second homer in the 8th inning.
It was not a good bet that Oakland would fight their way back into this game, especially against a stud pitcher like Wainwright. They did manage to spoil the shutout in the 8th on back-to-back hits by Joshes Donaldson and Reddick, but they couldn't come up with anything to trump the Cardinals' starter. They also drew a pair of free passes late in the game, which is quite an accomplishment against the pitcher who has been the king of avoiding walks this year. In the end, though, they just couldn't see Wainwright's pitches well enough, and the chips didn't fall their way.
When your top starter leaves early with an injury in a game against a Cy Young frontrunner and the second-best team in baseball, you just have to accept that the deck was stacked against you today and that you can't win 'em all. Pour yourself some rummy, throw on your favorite Queen album to celebrate Pride weekend, and check back tomorrow for the rubber game. Six runs won it last night, and seven were enough today; let's hope that the A's can come up with a crazy eight tomorrow to clinch this series.
Oh, and muck Fatt Holliday.