What juiced ball? Both teams relied on the long ball, with Oakland and Chicago hitting a combined 6 home runs in today’s 4th of July spectacular. Indeed, after a disappointing top of the 9th by Santiago Casilla, it would be Franklin Barreto setting off fireworks with a walk-off home run to snap Oakland’s losing streak after a half dozen games.
Runs Aplenty off Gossett and Big Game James
Neither starting pitcher had it today. James Shields did what we’ve seen him do a lot of, giving up 3 home runs in his 42⁄3 innings, while Daniel Gossett yielded a couple of his own.
The first home run Gossett surrendered was to Melky Cabrera in the 3rd, after Barreto had a shot at a web gem. The rookie shortstop charged up the middle and made an attempt to catch the speedy Adam Engel at first. His throw went wide and pulled Alonso off the bag, though with Engel’s speed, it’s not clear if even a perfect throw would have been enough. While it wasn’t really Barreto’s fault, the runner immediately hurt the A’s - Melky Cabrera hit a 2-out home run and just like that, it was 2-0 White Sox.
Chicago’s other home run was a 3-run blast by Jose Abreu in the 5th. The White Sox led off with a couple quick singles. Gossett got a groundball right back to him and went to second base - Barreto stayed on the base as he threw to first, causing him to take the brunt of Engels’s (clean) slide and throw well wide of the base again. The runner was safe, and Jose Abreu followed up with a laser over the left field wall to make it 5-4 White Sox.
The A’s offense also had dingers. Yonder Alonso seems to be on another hot streak, as he blasted two today - one a wall-scraper, one a legitimate bomb to knock Shields out of the game (immediately after Rick Renteria opted to let him try to get one more out). Matt Joyce had a home run of his own, and Barreto hit an RBI triple to drive in Jaycob Brugman after the latter took an extremely borderline walk (that he did a good job of selling).
The A’s offense did a good job of jumping on James Shields’s mistakes. Unfortunately Gossett coughed most of those runs back up. He seemed to have a pretty bad fastball today - his breaking stuff still looks solid to me and occasionally created some Rich Hill-esque moments where hitters ignored hittable fastballs, but for the most part his offspeed pitches couldn’t compensate for straight, hittable fastballs at 92-93.
After Coulombe, Madson, and Doolittle put together respectable innings (with Doolittle as the standout), Santiago Casilla came in to pitch the 9th with a 1-run lead. And wouldn’t you know it, it was stressful! Sox hitters had a couple of softly hit singles that barely escaped the infield, but singles they were nonetheless. Casilla worked his way to 2 outs, but on an 0-2 pitch (after a couple of dead-center fastballs), he hung a curveball to Melky Cabrera, who put it in the outfield and brought a run home to tie the game, 6-6. A win was going to require a walk-off.
Fortunately, Franklin Barreto was willing to oblige. He battled and put together a great at-bat, taking an extremely close pitch to get to a full count. He finally got his pitch to hit, blasting a high fly ball that just kept carrying and carrying until it made it just over the wall in left field. He and his translator got pie and everyone felt good. 7-6 Oakland.
(gif from user John N. Dillon - that was fast!)
Happy 4th of July, y’all.