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Game #35: Pomeranz, Otero, Johnson save day, A's finally win!

So it took the entire day, an untested starting pitcher who managed 5 scoreless innings, a brilliant 3 innings of relief from a pitcher who had already pitched earlier in the day in another game, an a save by our much-maligned closer, and merely two runs from the low-output offense, but the A's blanked the Mariners for a win in the second game of the doubleheader to finally, finally win a baseball game. Relief abounds.

Thearon W. Henderson

In order to understand the sheer frustration, mild panic, and just complete annoyance that was riding on the shoulders of Drew Pomeranz before this game started, one really has to understand how bad the first game of the doubleheader truly was. I put up a cursory recap in the 30 minutes we had in-between games, but now that the ship has stopped taking in water, I feel infinitely more qualified to break down today's games as a whole.

The A's don't often get to Felix Hernandez, but they did today. They hit him hard; racking up eleven hits and chasing him out of the game in the seventh after grabbing the lead, yet they could neither put up more than four runs, and of course they didn't win the game. Every inning and just about every player had its own level of unacceptable, and as it was put so eloquently in the game thread, the first game was a team-effort of suck. That description of "suck", incidentally, had I said it out loud, would have been enough to get me kicked out of today's A's game, which is about the only story more ridiculous than the first game itself. I mean, what?

I don't want to live in a world where I can't say "suck". Won't someone please think of the children!?

Since that is now the word of the day, and this is my recap, let's look at some things that sucked about the first game.

Things that sucked in the first game:

  • Coco Crisp getting a lead-off hit, and promptly being picked off first base, in front of two more A's hits and a deep fly ball
  • The A's recording 3 hits in the first inning, and a ball to the wall, and not scoring one run off Felix Hernandez
  • A's pitching walking 7
  • Coco Crisp getting hurt crashing into a wall
  • Yoenis Cespedes striking out with a runner at third and one out
  • Luke Gregerson giving up the tying run after the A's finally rallied to score more than one run, which seemed very difficult for them, and was unlikely to be repeated
  • Josh Donaldson striking out on three pitches in the ninth with the winning run on second
  • Ryan Cook leaving the game with "forearm tightness" which is super-secret code for "Tommy John", and if you think I'm crazy or alarmist, see the other two cases already this year
  • Daric Barton, batting .145, butchering a ball at first that would have given the A's another chance to bat for the win, instead of leading to the go-ahead and insurance runs for the Mariners
  • Two pitches, two outs by Reddick and Barton when the A's desperately needed a runner off the guy that should never have been allowed to shoot an arrow
  • Shooting that damn arrow as Seattle won three in a row in the A's house

Winning the second game

But luckily for you, and me, as your recapper, Drew Pomeranz has ice water in his veins, and against all odds, threw himself into the pitcher's duel with gusto, pitching 5 amazing innings. All he did was allow 2 hits and no runs or walks, while striking out five. I would like to see this again, please. It's not like the team got behind him with an offensive breakout or anything. Craig Gentry singled with two outs in the third, and took off running when Jed Lowrie happened to single at the same time. He scored from first for the A's first run, and Cespedes homered in the fourth for the insurance run, and all of the offense for both teams. That's right, Pomeranz threw 5 scoreless, Otero, who was on the mound during the first game loss, made up for everything by tossing three scoreless innings to get to the eighth (allowing just one hit), and Jim Johnson got an honest-to-goodness save without allowing a base-runner. Redemption doesn't come any sweeter than that.

Despite this last week, these still are your first-place Oakland Athletics, and it gets no easier for them at home, where after a home off-day tomorrow, they welcome in the Washington Nationals and their excellent pitching. Tommy Milone will be pitching to avoid a Pomeranz replacement on Friday night, and I'll be at the game, so I expect a two-game winning streak!

Take the day tomorrow and recoup, everyone! We'll see you back here with all of the weekend action!