Tonight's game started out promisingly enough, that's for sure. The crowd, which was estimated at around 30,000 before the game started, turned out to be a sellout from the walk-up tickets. Full house? Summer night? Division rivals? Big game? Check, check, and check. Tommy Milone literally didn't throw a ball in his first inning of work, resulting in two quick outs, and a smashed single that hopped off the wall in left field. Cespedes barehanded the ball and hurled it to second base, where Sogard tagged out Kinsler, trying to stretch the hit to two bases. In the bottom of the inning, two two-out walks to Lowrie and Cespedes both scored on a deep double by Moss to give the A's the early 2-0 lead. A's fans everywhere were thrilled with the first inning, seeing the team back on the scoreboard early with some flashy defense.
And then, it all went so terribly wrong.
Despite putting runners all over the bases for the first half of the game, the A's would only score one more run, even with the gift of 7 walks. The A's put two more runners on in the second inning with two walks, and would have runners at first and third with one out in the third. Needless to say, no runs would score. In the first half, there was no player I would rather see at the plate than Josh Donaldson. I visibly cringed when I saw him up with a runner at third and one out. He just can't seem to break out of his funk; he hit into the tailor-made double-play to end the inning and kill the rally.
Meanwhile, Tommy Milone was throwing batting practice to the Rangers. After Beltre literally cued the ball through the hole in the infield defense for a base hit to lead off the second, something Donaldson should really copy, Milone hand-picked a 2-0 pitch for Nelson Cruz to hit out to tie the game. You know it's going to be a bad pitch when I'm screaming at Cruz a full 10 seconds before he actually hit the home run.
The Rangers would add two more in the third inning, and a double, homerun, and surprise bunt in the fourth would chase Milone from the game. Otero would give up two more runs, thanks in part to a Lowrie error in the seventh. The A's stopped hitting and the train of baserunners after the fifth inning, and quietly disappeared into the Oakland night, along with their lead, which is shrinking rapidly.
This team needs a kick start in every way, and it better come soon. They should apologize to the big crowd who came out to support them, excited about A's baseball. Truth be told, there hasn't been much to cheer about since the All Star Break. But tomorrow is another day, the A's are still in first place, and Parker will face off against Garza tomorrow afternoon. We'll see you right here at 1:05 for all the action.