Oh the south side of Chicago
Is the baddest part of town
And if you go down there
you better just beware
of a man named --
Hector Santiago? Oy. Santiago and the White Sox faced an A's team today that Bob Melvin admitted was probably fatigued, playing for the 17th day in a row. Tomorrow's day off will be a welcome one indeed.
The A's did draw first blood, courtesy of a Coco Crisp solo HR in the top of the 3rd. However, A.J. Griffin was hit-and-miss today, showing meh stuff early on, then at times getting into a good groove, then at times leaving a lot of pitches up and looking very hittable.
In the bottom of the 3rd, Tyler Flowers crushed a belt-high fastball that had it hit a fan, would have left the fan looking "like a jigsaw puzzle with a couple o' pieces gone." Is it my selective memory, or do the A's have undue difficulty with opposing teams' bad-hitting catchers? I'll have to ask Taylor Teagarden.
The bottom of the 4th was no kinder, featuring an Adam Dunn double, Paul Konerko single (0-2 pitch), a long Conor Gillaspie sacrifice fly and an RBI double by Gordon Beckham. That gave the White Sox a 3-1 lead that they never quite relinquished.
Santiago lasted 6.1 IP, allowing just 4 hits: the Crisp HR, a pair of singles by Yoenis Cespedes, and a Reddick single. Reddick walked in the 7th to hasten Santiago's departure and John Jaso, pinch-hitting, singled to CF off of reliever Matt Lindstrom. Rosales bounced into a fielder's choice, leaving runners at 1B and 3B for Crisp. On came Matt Thornton to lob a pickoff throw to 1B that ticked off of Paul Konerko's glove and rolled into foul territory as Reddick trotted home with the A's 2nd run. Coco popped up to end the inning.
In the bottom of the 7th, a tired Bob Melvin may have drifted off because he seemed not to notice that Beckham, leading off the inning, smoked one to left-center field run down by Crisp with a leaping catch, and that Flowers followed by launching Griffin's first pitch high, deep, and just foul down the LF line. Griffin was "done," running on fumes, even though he retired Flowers and then Alejandro De Aza to end the inning.
Why Griffin was sent out to start the 8th inning is a mystery. He had been playing with fire much of the day, and the A's bullpen is rested with a day off tomorrow. Perhaps it was the allure of today being the 2nd anniversary of Bob Geren's firing, but Melvin made what I would consider to be a very poor move -- or non-move -- letting Griffin continue on into the 8th.
Griffin retired Alexei Ramirez, but Alex Rios made a Geren out of Melvin by drilling a HR to left-center field to give the White Sox an insurance run. That 4-2 lead became the final score, as the A's drop the last 2 in Chicago to settle for a 4-3 road trip and a 13-4 stretch between days off.
With the Blue Jays unable to hold an early 4-0 lead over Texas, with its come-from-behind 6-4 win the Rangers recapture 1st place in the AL West by a 1/2 game. Texas has played 3 fewer games than the A's have, and will make up one of them tomorrow against Cleveland while the A's sleep and recharge their collective batteries. The New York Yankees come calling on Tuesday.
Programming note: Be sure to check back around 5pm for my analysis of the intentional walk!