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Game #58: Hahn Holds Strong, A’s Win 4-1

Jesse looked shaky but made it work, giving up only 1 unearned run through 6. Meanwhile, the A’s offense scored 4 runs without the aid of a home run.

Toronto Blue Jays v Oakland Athletics Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

This was a really good, normal game of baseball. No late-inning implosions or multi-error innings: just a solid game where the A’s out-pitched and out-clutched their opponents.

Jesse Hahn, The Fool

No, not in a bad way. Not really, at least. I mean no insult to Jesse Hahn. It’s just that watching him pitch tonight reminded me of a card from the tarot, specifically The Fool.

For those not familiar, here is a good description of The Fool:

"Traditionally [the Fool] represents ... the somehow mysteriously structured chaos which seems to lie at the root of existence.... In most decks ... he is generally left unnumbered, or counted a zero. He is the cosmic cipher, the unmarshalable, archetypal square peg, the existential everyman, nonpartisan, nonaligned and 'wild,' as the poker term has it ... all over the place, at home everywhere and nowhere. The divine bum." (p.121)

From The Devil's Picturebook (as quoted in Thomas Moore's The Style of Connectedness)

The Fool is blissfully ignorant. The Fool is always where he needs to be. The fool drunkenly stumbles through a minefield unharmed. The fool is Jesse Hahn.

Jesse Hahn pitched 6 innings against an intimidating Blue Jays lineup - a lineup that happened to enter the game having gone 0 for their last 32 with runners in scoring position. Lucky Jesse. In those 6 innings, Jesse Hahn gave up 7 hits and struck out only 2. Yet Jesse Hahn gave up 0 earned runs.

The Blue Jays got right down to business, smacking three well-hit balls (one for an out, two for singles) within the first 7 pitches of the game. But Hahn was able to induce a double play by Kendrys Morales to escape the jam.

After a smooth 2nd inning featuring a nice play at third base by Ryon Healy, Hahn frollicked in and out of more trouble in the 3rd. He gave up a single and a loud out, but was backed up by a tremendously astute Yonder Alonso who was able to save Hahn’s bacon with a throw home to catch Ryan Goins.

The 4th began with a Healy throwing error. Then Lowrie missed a scoop on an extremely sharply hit groundball, flinging the ball straight into the air and ensuring enough time for both runners to be safe. It was a tough play, but probably makeable for a great defensive second baseman. The A’s got yet another opportunity on the next batter with a tailor-made groundball, and initially the runner was ruled out at first. However, the play was overturned on review and the runner was ruled safe. Troy Tulowitzki singled to tie the game 1-1 after the A’s defense wasted 4 potential outs. Jesse Hahn hit the next batter on the leg to load the bases and things looked ready to fall apart completely, but thankfully, the third time is the charm. The A’s got yet another double play opportunity and pulled it off cleanly this time to escape the inning with a tie - and even this one was dicey, as Rosie kept his foot on second base for about .01s before stepping off and throwing.

In the 5th, Kevin Pillar got greedy and tried to pull a Rajai, pushing for second on a fairly standard groundball. Pinder was stationed in right field and made an absolutely perfect throw, spinning and one-hopping the ball to the bag for the tag. Donaldson chased a curve for Hahn’s second strikeout of both the inning and game.

Hahn’s final inning, the 6th, featured more nice defense from Pinder, this time on a nice catch near the foul line. Jesse Hahn completely lost command of his fastball for a minute, walking Smoak and falling behind Tulowitzki 3-0. But once again, he somehow made it work, getting Tulowitzki to fly out to deep left center field. Canha caught the ball about two feet in front of the wall and that was that.

Jesse Hahn did not have a particularly great night. He was consistently missing his spots, causing Stephen Vogt to have to flail to catch the ball. He was giving up well-hit singles and loud outs all night long. He would miss outside and fall behind 2-0, then lay a pitch down broadway that resulted in an out. Whatever he did, it worked.


Daniel Coulombe gave up a 4-pitch walk to pinch hitter Darwin Barney to start the 7th inning. But then he got a couple of strikeouts before yielding the mound to Ryan Madson for the final out against leadoff hitter Kevin Pillar. Madson stayed in for the 8th and gave up a leadoff walk to Josh Donaldson, but then got three straight outs including a couple of strikeouts.

Santiago Casilla came in for the 9th and the loin girding began. Tulo hit a leadoff single through the hole. After a loooong at-bat by old frenemy Chris Coghlan, he hit a groundout to advance the runner to second. Then Casilla gathered his wits and struck out the next two batters to end the game.

So How’d We Score Those 4 Runs?

Yeah, yeah, I’m getting to it.

The first run came in the 1st inning. Rajai went fishing for a changeup off the outside corner, the type of pitch that had him batting .196 going into the game, but this time was able to flip it into left field. I thought to myself, “Nice single!” and next thing I know Rajai is sliding into second with a hustle double. After a Chad Pinder strikeout, Lowrie knocked a curveball into right field. Then with runners on the corners, Khris Davis popped out near the line in right field and Rajai continued his aggressiveness, sprinting for home on the shallow-ish flyout. Jose Bautista used his cannon arm to completely airmail the throw, giving Rajai plenty of room to make it 1-0.

Another run came in the 5th. Vogt took a 4-pitch walk with one out. Canha ripped the first pitch he saw into the let field corner. Ezequiel Carrera in left field bobbled the ball just enough to make third base coach Chip Hale send Stephen Vogt home, but the Jays executed a perfect relay and nabbed Vogt at the plate with Canha settling at third. But fortunately the A’s were able to make some magic happen with RISP and Rosie hit a ball off the glove of Tulowitzki, driving in Canha to put the A’s back up 2-1.

Their final 2 runs knocked Toronto starter Marco Estrada out of the game. In the 6th, Jed Lowrie did the same thing he did back in the 1st and flipped a curveball into right field. Khris Davis followed up by absolutely blasting a high fastball to center field, arcing over even agile Kevin Pillar’s head. Lowrie played the ball well and chugged around third and across the plate before Pillar could get the ball back in, and the A’s were up 3-1 on Davis’s double. After an ugly Alonso strikeout (what felt like his 9th of the night), Healy went after a high fastball of his own and tricked Ezequiel Carrera into missing on a foolish-looking dive. Khris Davis was replaced at second by Healy and the A’s were up 4-1.

Other than some defensive wonkiness in the 4th, this was a good game by the A’s. They did what they needed to suppress the tough Blue Jays offense, and we saw some nice plays by Yonder Alonso and Chad Pinder. The A’s play for the sweep (their first of the season!) tomorrow at 12:35.