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Game #72: Lawrie Livin' Large and Helps A's Win

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Brett Lawrie was instrumental in the Athletics 3-2 win over the Angels to take the series with win #31 of the year. Going 2-3 with a double and RBI, Lawrie also provided a test-case for Manager Challenge reviews as he was called out attempting to steal third base. His excellent defense makes him my Player of the Game.

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

A strong and steady offense, highlighted by base hits from almost every starter, as well as 7 and 1/3 solid innings by for Scott Kazmir led to a 3-2 win over the Angels.  The day started off nicely with first pitches thrown out by the fathers of Stephen Vogt, Marcus Semien, and Mark Canha.  A crowd of more than 29,000 was on hand at this Bay Area beauty of a Father's Day game.

Starting pitcher Scott Kazmir had a tough first inning that he eventually ended in battle with Albert Pujols.  Giving up hits to Calhoun and Trout, Kazmir pushed Pujols to fly out to the center field warning track.  After that first inning Kazmir settled in to throw 7 and 1/3 innings, striking out a batter in each of the 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th innings.    Kazmir gave up 6 hits but all were scattered throughout the innings.  Kazmir was helped with a fantastic, all-out, foul territory catch that had Lawrie tumble over the bullpen mound.  Erick Aybar tagged and barely made it from first to second as Lawrie threw to second from a seated position on the mound.

By contrast, Garrett Richards was knocked around a bit by A's bats.  Sam Fuld scored on a Billy Burns RBI in the 3rd to put the A's up 1-0.  In the 6th, Vogt singled, then hustled to take an extra base when Zobrist hit a rolling single to center field.  Seeing Vogt hustle, over slide the bag, then roll over to hug it like a life saving device was priceless.  Best of all, you could tell Mike Trout was angry at himself for thinking that Vogt wouldn't run.  (Love seeing Mike Trout duped!)  Lawrie followed with an RBI single to send Vogt across the plate and Ike Davis picked up the second RBI by knocking in Zobrist with a hard shot off the upper center field wall at the 388 sign.  In the 7th and 8th the A's had great shots to left and center field for their last six outs of the game including a shot from Semien that reached the track in center field and was close to heading out.

The Angels posed a threat only in the 8th and 9th innings when Tyler Clippard came into the game.  After getting Trout to pop up to left field for the second out of the inning and with a base on balls runner at first, Clippard proceeded to serve-up a 2-run dinger to Albert Pujols.  He then gave up a hit to David Freese but came back to strikeout Erick Aybar.

In the 9th, Johnny Giavotella had everyone holding their breath as he literally had Sam Fuld's back against the wall for the last out.  The non-verbal display of relief was tangible from Clippard and Vogt as they hugged it out and began breathing again after this big 3-2 win on 7 hits and one ground ball fielding error by Ike Davis in the 9th.

Lawrie was truly livin' large and he is definitely my player of the game.  His diving catch in the 4th was stunning.  His attempted steal of third, though he left a pinch too early that allowed for Richards to throw to Freese and get him out on a controversial play fired up the fans and stumped the umps.  While we were unable to see a camera angle that they had in the New York replay room, the umpires contend that Freese did, indeed, tag Lawrie out.  Mind you, the challenge that led to this ruling came from Melvin.  Lawrie was first called safe and then out by over sliding the bag as he lost contact with it and Freese allegedly tagged him.  Freese clearly did NOT get him out and the umpire was incorrect.  Unfortunately, the reviewing umpire must review the entire play on a challenge and ruled that the original call of safe was ALSO incorrect.  Double whammy for Lawrie but a tremendous play.  We will all have to look for the footage of that original tag.

The A's now have an off day tomorrow and much-needed rest for many will be welcomed no doubt.  Tyler Clippard has thrown a lot of pitches the last couple of days and can definitely use it.  AN's next game thread will be Tuesday at 5:05 as the A's face the Rangers in Arlington.  The A's then return to face Kansas City at O.co on Thursday the 26th.  Go A's, and happy Father's Day.