If a hit falls in the 7th and there’s no one on AN around to write about it, does it make a sound? Apparently the answer is “yes” — it sounds like “COCO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
Continuing a resurgence that has Crisp partying like it’s 2013, the A’s veteran and leader broke a 1-1 tie with a bases loaded, two out single up the middle before running down the game’s final out with the tying runs on base.
Ricky Nolasco blanked the A’s through 6 innings and Kendall Graveman was nearly as good, surrendering only a single run on a 4th inning fielder’s choice. Oakland knocked out Nolasco, though, in the 7th in a rally started by Danny Valencia’s leadoff double. Valencia then unwisely tried to take 3B on Khris Davis’ bouncer to SS and was called out at 3B despite a wide throw by Eduardo Nuñez. Instant replay to the rescue: upon review, Valencia was ruled safe. Stephen Vogt’s single to LF tied the game 1-1 and sent Nolasco to the showers.
After Marcus Semien struck out, pinch hitter Billy Butler’s soft single to LF loaded the bases, setting up another bizarre play as Jake Smolinski, pinch hitting for Billy Burns, dribbled the first pitch back towards the mound. Reliever Taylor Rogers fumbled the ball, but apparently did so in a way that caused the ball to roll to the plate where the Twins got the force at home after all. That turned out to be only a momentary blip for the A’s as Crisp followed with his two-run single. Coco leads the American League in batting with runners in scoring position, one reason he has a gaudy 37 RBI out of the leadoff spot.
Graveman got into trouble in the bottom of the 7th, with a two-out walk and subsequent single putting the tying runs on base. All that did, as it turned out, was to give Ryan Dull a forum to pitch his way into the record books. Dull induced a bouncer to SS off the bat of Nuñez and in the process set a big league record stranding 36 out of 36 runners to begin a season.
The bottom of the 9th also had a tad bit more drama than the A’s would have liked, as Ryan Madson retired the first two but then allowed a triple to Eddie Rosario and walked pinch hitter Robbie Grossman on a close 3-2 pitch. Danny Santana then lined one to CF ... “Coco coming on...still coming....and he makes the catch!”
Weather permitting, the A’s will test their 4-0 record against the Twins this year on the back of lefty Sean Manaea, opposed at 5:10pm by fellow southpaw, and former Athletic, Tommy Milone.
Happy 4th of July everyone!