Game #16: Big numbers from Cespedes and Reddick power A's past Astros; Jed Lowrie doesn't play fair

Thearon W. Henderson

In what would be a Houston-included blowout for the A's, tonight's game featured four home runs for the A's, ten walks for the A's, redemption for Josh Reddick, and strong words for Jed Lowrie by the Astros' manager, Bo Porter.

Okay, if I were to recap this game in the style in which it was announced, I'd point out the giant "boomstick" corn dog that was the size of a baseball bat and the cheeseburger popper for sale at the Coliseum, which, just no. But it wasn't just all about food tonight. Somewhere sandwiched (get it!?) in between the Dibs and the nachos, a baseball game was played. Despite another multiple-error game, and their 2-3-4 hitters combining for an 0-11 night, and a less-than sharp, but still not bad, start from Sonny Gray, allowing 9 hits, 2 walks, and 3 runs over his 6 innings, the A's rolled the Astros to the tune of 11-3. The win was, in large part, due to Yoenis Cespedes and Josh Reddick (not a typo) and their respective 3 hits, including an home run each. Cespedes, Reddick, Callaspo and Crisp would all homer in the game, while Houston Houston'd, issuing the A's 10 free passes at the plate. Which probably explains the 11 runs on 10 hits. Also, Jed Lowrie ruins the integrity of baseball games, and almost got into a fight with the Houston manager, as the two exchanged strong words after BuntGate 2014, not to be confused with Eric Sogard and BuntGate 2013.

The game was won in the very first inning, as the tale of two teams became clear early. The Astros' Castro doubled off Sonny Gray with two outs in the first, and an error by Lowrie put runners on first and third, putting Gray in a tiny jam. But he would get out of it thanks to the one solid defender on the field this season; Eric Sogard, who refuses to play down to the level of the other defenders and their 16 errors in 16 games.

The A's, on the other hand, batted around and then some, on the unlucky starter Jarred Cosart, who was out of the game before the second out of the first inning was recorded. Coco Crisp walked to open the game, and Jed Lowrie (who made two outs in the first inning, including the controversial one) grounded out. After a wild pitch, Donaldson walked, and Moss walked to load the bases for Cespedes. Cespedes blooped a single to center field, scoring the A's first two runs. Not to be outdone--or forgotten in some bad platoon--Alberto Callaspo drilled a 3-run homer to right field, putting the A's up 5-0. After Jaso walked, Josh Reddick launched his own home run, deep into centerfield, erasing weeks of frustration, putting a smile on his face for the first time all season, and knocking Cosart out of the game. In his post-game interview, Reddick alluded to his timing and hitting suffering from the inconsistent first week of the season, with the cancelled games, batting practice rainouts, and irregular schedule, and I want to believe him. His three hits today back it up. After a Sogard walk and a lineout by Coco, Lowrie tried to bunt his way on base, but a) he's a slow gazelle and b) apparently struggling teams do not like the bunt when you have just dropped 7 runs in the first inning, and are already into their bullpen. Bo Porter said some naughty words to Lowrie, the teams came out and yelled a bit, and Lowrie was almost hit during his next at-bat, but the postering ended there.

Yoenis Cespedes, never one to settle for a bloop hit, cranked a home run in the second inning for the A's 8th run, but all was quiet until the fifth inning, when Gray struggled a bit. Perhaps it was from sitting for close to an hour while the A's ran a cheap merry-go-round in the first. Maybe he just couldn't feel the zone. Whatever the cause, he started the fifth with three straight singles, breaking up the shutout; he allowed another single for the Astros' second run, and a sac fly by Chris Carter for their third. Had Carter hit a grand slam instead of the sac fly, it would have been a different game indeed, but he was kept in the ballpark, and the A's--slightly worried--tacked on two more runs in the very next inning on a home run by Coco Crisp to increase their lead to 10-3. Sonny Gray made it through six innings, throwing over 100 pitches, and we finally got to see Abad for more than a batter. He threw the seventh perfectly, and the A's added an insurance run in their half on a bases-loaded walk by Donaldson, following a Jaso walk, a Reddick single, and a pinch-hitting Gentry walk. Abad also pitched the eighth inning, and Cook cleaned up the ninth, striking out the side in the process.

There's not a lot not to like about today's win; the A's are still winning, even if not yet firing on all cylinders, and they have increased their record to 11-5. They will play Houston again tomorrow afternoon; we'll have all the action right back here!

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