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Game #120: A’s 4, Rangers 5

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The A's lost a game started by Andrew Triggs.

These things happen.

Tyler Ladendorf got his first hit in more than two years today, and everyone should be very happy for him.

Entering tonight's game, Lucas Harrell had a career ERA above nine versus the A's and was pitching with a groin injury. In the first inning, he gave up two soft singles and a walk to the first three batters he faced. No runs would score in the inning. In the second inning, he gave up another single and two more walks before getting removed for his injury. The only run that scored in the inning came on one more walk that forced in a runner. In the third inning, a leadoff double and walk would be squandered. Three innings, eight runners left on base, no hits with runners in scoring position, and a gifted run.

Three consecutive innings of feeling like receiving a delicious ice cream cone only to have the divine scoop of chocolate plummet pathetically to the ground before getting a single lick, followed by no more ice cream for good as the A's managed only a single hit, a Khris Davis double (his second of the game), for the next five innings.

Triggs pitched the game of his career to date. If not for Robinson Chirinos dropping his elbow into a Triggs' offering that strayed too far inside, in all likelihood Triggs would have pitched six scoreless, but instead had to settle for five and two thirds innings pitched and one run allowed. While some of his pitches were left hanging and weren't punished as they should, and while he was aided by his fair share of at 'em balls, Triggs did a remarkable job of keeping a strong and reinforced Rangers' lineup off of the basepaths. He pitched a career high in innings and more than made up for the sad performance of the offense in a performance that was unexpected and direly needed. Due to the constant need to shuttle back and forth between Oakland and Nashville, along with the constant need to place him in emergency, long-relief mop up situations during his limited stints with the ballclub, Triggs has rarely been put in a position to succeed this season, but tonight he shined through and exceeded most everyone's highest hopes.

The Robinson Chirinos hit by pitch wound up being the one major blemish on Triggs' pitching line, as Ryan Dull could not fool the Rangers' offense like Triggs had and immediately allowed the inherited runner to score, tying the game at one apiece before getting out of the sixth inning. Despite not having his A-game, Dull was sent out again for the seventh inning and continued to give up loud contact and would surrender the go ahead run, though the run that scored was primarily aided, not by loud contact, but a flubbed ground ball by Yonder Alonso that turned a potential double play into runners at the corners. The game would enter the top of the ninth inning 2-1 Rangers.

The A's who have the most to gain and to lose would make noise in the ninth. Max Muncy beat out an infield single hit to second base and was replaced by Tyler Ladendorf as a pinch runner. Coco Crisp would have a strong at bat, working the count full, before Ladendorf successfully stole second on what would wind up being a strikeout pitch against Crisp. Then Danny Valencia, who had the lone RBI of the game for the A's with his bases loaded walk in the second, would drive in the second run for the A's with a two out single to right field, pushing the game into extra innings.

Surprisingly, the A's offense wouldn't let up in the tenth inning. Yonder Alonso, who, in addition to his aforementioned fielding mistake (it was officially corrected from an error to a hit, but any person with eyeballs could tell that Alonso should have gotten at least one out on that play) had been spending his evening chasing after repeated offspeed pitches in the dirt and popping out, followed a Brett Eibner walk with a line drive double to right field that would give the A's the lead once again. Ryon Healy would then pile on, doubling the A's lead over the Rangers, and Tyler Ladendorf would get a hit of his own (on a BUNT SINGLE!), before the A's offense reverted back to its natural state and followed up with a weak ground ball and two strikeouts to end the inning.

Unfortunately, the A's forgot that teams that leave eight runners on base in three innings and only score on a bases loaded walk don't deserve ice cream. And don't deserve to win ballgames. Late-inning dramatics be damned.

Since Ryan Madson was used in the eighth and ninth innings, John Axford was brought in to bring this game to an end. After hitting 99 MPH on the radar and striking out leadoff batter Nomar Mazara, it appeared, if only for a faint, fleeting moment, that the A's would actually pull a victory out of this bizarre game.

Axford walked the next three batters to load the bases for Carlos Beltran, who didn't want to wait for Axford to walk him as well and did what he has done for his entire career by tying the game up once again with a single to center field. Axford was then mercifully replaced by Marc Rzepczynski, who was never given an opportunity to do his job as a replacement. Not wanting to give Beltre the satisfaction of delivering the final blow to the A's yet again, with one out in the tenth inning, the A's elected to walk the bases loaded intentionally, narrowing Rzepczynski's margin of error from slim to nonexistent.

The first pitch following the walk didn't break and softly plopped against Rougned Odor and the game was over.

The A's lost a game started by Andrew Triggs.