Matt Olson was stunning at the plate today. Two homeruns on the day with one tying it up in the bottom of the 9th. A’s fans, there’s no other way to say it. The A’s gave this game away. It was the pitching. All pitching. The A’s lost this in extra innings, Treinen getting the loss, going down in the 11th. Final score 9-11. Win #59 on the year is still illusive. Post-game to follow.
It wasn’t the offense. The offense was tremendous! It wasn’t Mike Scioscia’s managing, though he did “all things Scioscia” (double steal in the 4th, for example). It was the pitching. Chris Smith, given today’s performance, may NEVER win a major league game. Smith went 3 and 1⁄3 innings and gave up 7 hits and 7 runs along with 3 walks. Of those hits, 3 were home runs. One question: Why is Mengden not getting playing time? Uh...youth movement? Ok, I’m done. Except to say that Mike Scioscia set a new American League record by using a total of 12 pitchers in this game, the most ever for the AL.
The best way to summarize this game is by my “one word” summaries recorded throughout the game. For the defense: 1st) Suprising; 2nd) Lit-Up; 3rd) Teammates; 4th) Painful; 5th) Bullpen? 6th) Albert; 7th) Aussie; 8th) Solid; 9th) Really? 10th) Yawn; 11th) Seriously? You can compare this with my one-word summaries for offense: 1st) Dominated; 2nd) Fan-Tails; 3rd) Comeback; 4th) Hitting; 5th) Let-down; 6th) Wasted; 7th) Owned; 8th) Grit; 9th) Hooya! 10) Shocker! 11) Fading.
Ok, let’s start with offense:
The first inning was energizing. Semien singled to lead off the day. Joyce walked and then Lowrie hit a short flare to left to load the basses. Khris Davis doubled to pick up 3 runs batted in. My goodness. No outs and 3-0. Now THAT is the way to start it! And, despite double K’s and a fly out in second, the third scored another run as Matt Olson picked up HR number 13 to put the Athletics ahead 4-3. Yes, 4-3. In the second Chris Smith gave up two hits and then a three-run homer by Luis Valbuena. This was followed by a homerun by Maldanado, the first of two.
The Angels had a strong fourth inning. Maldanado started with a one out, two-run homerun. Brandon Phillips, new from the Braves organization, singled and was followed by Mike Trout walking. Mike Scioscia pulled the predictable yet it worked, a double steal to advance Phillips and Trout to 3rd and 2nd respectively. While Upton gave Anaheim fans hope with his double in the 3rd, Phillips went down swinging on a slider for the second out. Pujols was on fire today and singled and picked up an RBI to make it an score of 8-5 Anaheim.
The fourth saw only one run by the Athletics, though it should have been more. Maxwell began with a leadoff hit and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Chapman singled to put two runners on. Semien then beat out a throw to first and picked up an RBI on a fielder’s choice. And that was it for run manufacturing in the 4th. A’s 6, Angels 8.
In the 5th, Lowrie led off with a base hit followed by Khris Davis who singled to left. Matt Olson then made it three in a row with a base hit but Ryon Healy ended that excitement with a 6-4-3 double play, though he picked up a consolation RBI. Two outs and Maxwell walked but was followed by a strikeout to end the inning by Matt Chapman. This made it A’s 7, Angels 9 thanks to Simmons’ double and Cron’s RBI single in the top of the 5th.
It wasn’t until the bottom of the 9th when the crowds roared at the Coliseum. While it began with Matt Joyce grounding to second for a putout at first, Lowrie followed with a base hit. Davis followed with a strikeout but Matt Olson, part of the Matt-Pack, saved the 9th with a two-run homer to tie it up.
Nothing happened until the 11th when, in the top of the 11th, Treinen dished a 99mph fastball to upton who walked. Eric Young Jr., in for Albert Pujols, was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second. And then Calhoun, 2-4 on the day, came up to save the day for the Angels with a two RBI double. Angels 11, Ahtletics 9.
The Athletics could do little in the 11th though they tried. Joyce singled and Lowrie walked. The problem, a 4-6-3 double play by Khris Davis with one out led to the end of this Labor Day battle.
On a final note, you will see this web-gem tonight on all the networks: A behind-the-back Brandon Phillips double play. Welcome to the American League, Kid!