Call it whatever you want, but the A’s have it. That little flair for the dramatic that has led to an astounding 13 walk off victories this season. With the exception of 1 pitch this was a pretty well played game by the Athletics. That 1 pitch of course was the 3-2 fastball that Jeff Mathis took out to left center field to shockingly tie the game at 4 against Ryan Cook. Coming into the game the story of the day was twofold, the Major League debut of Dan Straily and the departure of catcher Kurt Suzuki, by the end it was the same old story as Coco Crisp hit a sacrifice fly to drive in Jemile Weeks after his lead off triple.
The A’s jumped out to an early 2nd inning lead on a Brandon Inge RBI single in the 2nd inning, and Jonny Gomes added to it with a solo home run in the 3rd. Chris Carter later added his own power display to take back the one run Straily allowed in the 4th inning. The game remained fairly quiet until the 9th though when Ryan Cook gave up a couple singles with 2 outs and then the fateful Mathis dinger.
Then the second game of the night began as the two teams would play another 6 innings of baseball before this one was decided. The A’s bullpen bent but never broke against the Blue Jays with the help of some stellar defense. In the 12th inning Omar Vizquel was gunned at the plate trying to score from first on a Colby Rasmus double on a relay from Brandon Moss in left to Brandon Inge from the infield. Vizquel’s age caught up with him at about 3rd base and he had no shot to score at that point, but I admire his effort nevertheless. In the 15th inning after 2 walks, 1 of the intentional variety by Travis Blackley the Blue Jays had a chance to take the lead with Yan Gomes at the plate and Edwin Encarnacion in scoring position at 2nd. Gomes hit a grounder in the hole to Eric Sogard’s left, Sogard ranged to backhand the grounder and as he stumbled flipped the ball to Brandon Inge at 3rd to get Encarnacion by mere inches.
The A’s finally took the momentum from that spectacular defensive play and got the win. Well worth noting as well was the special edition pie attack on Coco Crisp by none other than Spiderman (Josh Reddick)! I have no clue how Reddick got into the full Spidey costume that quickly, the man truly is a super hero.
But back to Dan Straily for a moment, he showed some nerves undoubtedly but he battled through them and did nothing to show he doesn’t belong in the bigs. Over his 6 innings of work he allowed just 5 hits an 1 ER with 1 walk and 5 strikeouts. He showed some pretty devastating sliders that seemed rather unhittable and had good movement on all his pitches. I look forward to seeing what he can do once he gets comfortable in the Major Leagues.
Not to be outdone by his buddy from the minor leagues, AJ Griffin takes the mound tomorrow looking to improve to 4-0 and brings a solid 2.51 ERA as he takes on the struggling but normally effective against the A’s lefty Ricky Romero who is 8-8 with a 5.59 ERA. Romero had a very rough time with the A’s last week in Toronto, lasting just 1.1 innings and giving up 8 ER. The A’s are now 10 games over .500 once again at 58-48 and remain 4.5 games behind the Texas Rangers, but have also put a little distance between them and the Angels by 1.5 games. Things may not be perfect in Oakland, but they sure are exciting. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings for the green and gold.