Ho hum, another day, another DRAMATIC win for the A's. After the A's offense staked starting pitcher Jesse Chavez to a 4-0 lead starting the sixth inning, things looked pretty rosy for our green and gold heroes. But Chavez and his replacement, Dan Otero, gave it all back and then some in one of the worst innings all year for the A's, and down 5-4, the A's faithful started to get a little nervous. Nah, who are we kidding! We knew the A's would tie the game in the eighth with a little help from the Marlins, and explode for four runs in the ninth to take the save away from Sean Doolittle, allowing him to win the Oscar for the best performance ever in a non-save ninth inning.
It's hard to pick out just one hero in tonight's game. The A's banged out 16 hits in the contest, en route to nine runs; Callaspo, Cespedes, Moss, Lowrie, and Vogt (as an injury replacement!) all had two hits, and Reddick racked up three. Meanwhile, after the disastrous sixth inning, Cook, Gregerson and Doolittle through the seventh, eighth and ninth, gave the A's a chance to stay in the game, and eventually tie and win.
The A's started tonight with two early runs off
Gwen Stefani Disco Lady DeSclafani as a regular single and two infield singles (the last one literally off DeSclafani's body) by Callaspo, Cespedes and Moss loaded the bases with one out to start the game. Josh Donaldson--who might have hit three home runs in his later at-bats today had it been any other ballpark than the cavernous Miami--grounded out for the A's first run, and a Jed Lowrie single brought in the second.
Staked to a 2-0 lead, Jesse Chavez breezed through the first, kind of like this. With one out, he hit a batter, and with two outs, he allowed a hit and a walk to load the bases. But he would get out of the inning, and we would play on, A's leading 2-0. The second inning was uneventful for either team, but Yoenis Cespedes would add to his growing list of impressive feats as he tries to win an All-Star bid. With two outs, Chavez walked back-to-back hitters and allowed a single to left. Everyone had written the play off as a run scored, but as soon as Cespedes picked up the ball, the electricity started to crackle from everyone who has been watching baseball--and Cespedes' arm--this year (league leading TENTH OUTFIELD ASSIST!)
Giancarlo Stanton: I'm fast, I'm fast, I'm scoring, here I come. I obviously never watch SportsCenter.
Cespedes: (launches rockets perfectly placed to Derek Norris, calming watching Stanton head home before whipping the glove at him with the ball inside, tagging him out).
Marlins: Why even both replaying? He's out and everyone knows it.
baseballgirl: Here's a visual aid of the play:
The A's rode the momentum to two more runs in the fourth against
Flynn Rider Brian Flynn, replacing the obviously injured Gwen Stefani Disco Lady DeSclafani as Lowrie, Norris, and Reddick loaded the bases with singles to start the inning, bringing up...Jesse Chavez. It must be said. I hate National League baseball. I get the arguments; how managers have to work extra hard to incorporate bench players, and double-switches, and rubbish, but it's just nonsense, really. (Obviously, I have been watching a lot of futbol; picture the rant in a brilliant English accent.) Seriously, whose stupid idea is it to bring a perfectly promising inning to a screeching halt by having a pitcher pick up a bat and try to destroy a rally? I would have had Chavez take all of the pitches, reasoning that a strikeout is probably the best of a lot of lousy options there. Any contact is a double play or a force at home which results in having your pitcher on the bases, a bunt is a sure out, maybe two, and he's not going to get a hit, so I was fine with the strikeout, even if it he did swing at a couple of pitches. Coco Crisp would bid for a hit up the middle, but would settle for an RBI ground out for the A's third run in the promising inning cut short by nonsensical National League baseball.
Something awful happened to Derek Norris starting the bottom of the fourth and he left the game (it must have been awful, dude plays through getting hit in the noggin by baseball bats on a regular basis). Vogt won the replacement job, and did not disappoint.
The A's would tack on another run in the fifth as Cespedes walked and Donaldson tripled (a home run in any other park). Lowrie would strand Donaldson at third with one out, but it's not like the A's would need another run, right? Oh. The A's would decide to let Chavez bat in the sixth inning, and hoo boy, would that be a mistake. Not the at-bat, but the fact he was still in the game for the sixth. Let me sum up: Single, wild pitch, single, single, run, single, run, helloooo Otero!, double, run, ground-out, run, single, run, ground-out, ground-out. End scene.
Bryan replaced Brian in the seventh for the Marlins, and the A's--likely shell-shocked from the 1.2 seconds it took to go from a 4-0 lead to a 5-4 deficit--rolled over meekly. Ryan Cook allowed a lead-off single in the seventh, but erased it with a double-play and got out of the inning with the A's only down by a single run. The scoreboard will show Stephen Vogt with a two-out single and Josh Reddick with a game-tying, gigantic RBI triple, and you know what? I'm going to give it to him. Yes, the Marlins tried to make a play on Reddick's single and failed, but I'm giving Reddick the game-tying RBI single. Way to go!
Game tied? Advantage = A's. Luke Gregerson pitched around a one-out double to get out of the eighth with no damage, and the A's bats went crazy. WENT CRAZY. They pretty much said, "We can do that, also" and did. Crisp and Callaspo singled to start the inning and Cespedes, not to be outdone in his ALL STAR BID, singled, as well. Hard. To right-fielder Stanton. Who was playing relatively shallow. "No, no! Don't run!" we all yelled, to no avail, as Mike Gallego sent Coco to the plate. With no outs. And Moss and Donaldson due to follow. WITH NO ONE OUT! It was insanity. Coco was called out, but in a very unlikely, not-at-all like things that happen to Oakland with the leaking plumbing and the Sunday night baseball snubs, the call was overturned by the width of a cleat and the A's had the lead. I thought he was safe, but I definitely did not think it was irrefutable evidence. Plus, it was such a bad call to send him. The A's, with the 6-5 lead, seemed determined to prove the umpiring crew correct. After Moss was intentionally walked, Donaldson hit a sac fly to increase the score to 7-5. (Picture Doolittle in the bullpen, "Whee! I won't need it, but I have an insurance run!") Lowrie flew out for the second out, and interestingly enough, Gallego held that runner at third. With two outs. What criteria are we looking for, exactly, in our runners going home? Vogt singled in the A's eighth run (Doolittle: Whee! I have two insurance runs that I don't need, but it sure helps the A's run differential and my save count!), and Reddick singled in the ninth run. (Doolittle: Dammit!)
Doolittle, in a non-save opportunity, struck out the first batter on three called strikes, the second batter on seven pitches, and the third on a three-pitch line-out. Yeah, he's that good. And so are the A's, as they take the first game, despite adversity, and runs, and visiting teams, and not being at home, and plane flights, and...it's just rubbish, really. The A's are legit. And oh, did I mention the grand slam that finally beat the Angels to send them back to 4.5 games? There was that. Fairy dust for Derek Norris' health, and let's go Oak-land tomorrow; they play the Marlins at 1:05 our time. Enjoy your Friday night, and this damn amazing baseball team. Seriously, especially you youngsters. Once in a lifetime, trust me.