After last night's hard-fought, low-scoring, nail-biting game, complete with a bizarre call that luckily did not factor into the decision (a win for the A's), Tommy Milone took the mound this afternoon, unbeaten in his last ten starts. The A's were probably looking for a fun holiday laugher in front of their sun-drenched fans in the beautiful California July summer day; maybe a game with lots of A's home runs. What they got was a scoreless, nail-biting, tense affair with a heart-stopping injury moment as Milone went up against Marcus Stroman, a Blue Jays prospect that certainly lived up to his hype in this one. While Milone pitched six fabulous innings, allowing just four hits and an intentional walk against six strikeouts, Stroman threw his career high 115 pitches in his seven scoreless innings, allowing just three hits, three walks, and striking out seven Athletics. Neither pitcher would factor into the decision; it would take 12 innings for the A's to walk it off.
Milone worked out of a jam in the very first inning, stranding two Blue Jays runners before the A's even picked up the sticks. Coco Crisp led off the game for the A's with a walk, and stole second with two outs, but was ultimately stranded.
The A's best scoring chance of the game came in the third inning, as Jed Lowrie worked a leadoff walk (!) and after Punto struck out, Crisp singled to put two runners on. Jaso struck out for the second out, but Yoenis Cespedes hit a blooper to Melky Cabrera in left field that looked for all the world like it would score the run from second, but Melky snagged it just before it hit the ground. They would also waste a bloop double, today's signature hit, apparently, from Josh Donaldson in the fourth.
Milone breezed through the second, third and fourth, but would run into trouble again in the fifth, thanks to the defense behind him. Tolleson, leading off the inning, popped up to deep second base/short center field, and although Punto went out and Crisp came in, the ball found the grass, bouncing its way to a lead-off double. But because Milone has been nothing if not awesome and reliable in the rotation, he induced a ground out to third, a ground out to second, and a strikeout to end the inning with a flourish.
As if that wasn't a pretty enough way to end the fifth, Milone ended the sixth the same way after another fielding mistake put another Blue Jays runner on base. The inning started with a lead-off single, and after two fly outs, Lowrie ranged to his right on a ground out, but couldn't complete the play. With two runners on base in the scoreless game, Milone struck out someone named B. Glenn to end the inning, and complete his scoreless outing with an extra flourish.
Milone was replaced by Eric O'Flaherty, making his A's debut and his first appearance of the season. He pitched a scoreless inning, allowing just a single. Stephen Vogt led off the A's half of the seventh inning with a single, and Bob Melvin elected to pinch-run Craig Gentry in an attempt at an extra base. Gentry ran on a 1-1 count to Norris, but Norris popped up instead of taking the pitch. This decision started to look questionable right around the tenth inning, well after Brandon Moss had left the game with an injury. The A's would not score in the inning.
Luke Gregerson was tasked with the eighth, in the everyone-gets-an-inning bullpen carrousel. He allowed a one-out single, but Donaldson started a fantastic double-play from the seat of his pants, with a very accurate throw, to get out of the inning. The Blue Jays challenged, and in the fastest review of all time, the call was upheld.
With one out in the eighth, Nate Freiman pinch-hit for Jaso and hit a bloop double to right field. The Blue Jays elected to walk Cespedes and it paid off for them, as Moss grounded into a double play, his legs giving way as he exited the box, collapsing in a heap, and scaring everyone. He's been diagnosed with an ankle sprain and was replaced by Alberto Callaspo, leaving Eric Sogard as the only position player left on the bench.
Sean Doolittle handled the ninth, allowing a single and no more. Donaldson worked a 3-1 count in the bottom of the ninth, but popped up. Norris walked with two outs, but Lowrie struck out to end the inning.
Fernando Abad was called on to pitch the tenth inning, and after giving up a leadoff single, got a pop up for the first out, and an amazing turn of a double play from Punto to Lowrie ended the inning. The A's would not reward him with the win either, despite a lead-off walk by Coco.
The next pitcher up was Ryan Cook, who pitched the eleventh. He walked a batter with one out, but the game would stay scoreless, giving the A's another chance in the eleventh, and Callaspo's first at-bat of the game, confirming that it was probably a good call to keep the DH, instead of drop it with Moss' injury.
Dan Otero, the second-to-last pitcher in the bullpen (and we know who was left), pitched a scoreless twelfth inning, and the A's finally ended the game after a Norris walk and a botched bunt by Lowrie brought up Nick Punto. Who hit a game-winning double. And an error allowed the run to score easily; he was running anyway. Whatever. A's win!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Go enjoy your night!!!!