Last week the Oakland Athletics were riding high on a 9 game winning streak, the talk of the American League, then came the Detroit Tigers. After Friday’s dramatic walk off win, the Tigers brought the A’s winning streak to a screeching halt with two decisive victories to take the weekend series. Monday night the Houston Astros came to town, but getting the Athletics back on track had to be on the back burner in light of the events that took place in Boston early on Monday.
Many Athletics players have ties to the city of Boston, namely Josh Reddick who came up in the Red Sox organization and was dealt to the Athletics in the Andrew Bailey deal. Reddick would get the night off after scuffling for the most part through the first 13 games of the season, missing 3 with the wrist injury as well. Jed Lowrie, Brandon Moss and Coco Crisp have also logged time in Boston in years past so their hearts had to be with the city as well.
It’s a tough thing to attempt to carry on with normal daily life when a tragic event like this takes place, but the A’s did an admirable job of it. But perhaps the highlight of the night had to come in the first inning when Nate Freiman came to bat against Erik Bedard with two runners on. The A’s had already scored three times after Bedard had walked the bases loaded, allowed a run on a wild pitch, then gave up a two-run single to Brandon Moss. Freiman launched a 1-2 hanging breaking ball way up into the howling wind and into the left field bleachers for his first career home run. The dinger put the A’s up 6-0, and set them on course to cruise to an 11-2 victory.
For Freiman, a native of New England the home run was a realization of a lifelong dream, to hit a home run in the major leagues, but also came on a tragic day. He told Susan Slusser that it was a bittersweet moment, and that “It was an amazing feeling but I’m not going to forget about what happened in Boston, my family is there. It was a great night for the team but we’re definitely thinking about everyone in Boston.” As we all were.
Hats off though to Big Nate for his first home run, and for helping make Jackie Robinson Day a successful one for the Athletics. The team is the first in the AL to reach 10 wins, and the second in all of baseball. As the A’s and Astros take to the field again tonight, A.J. Griffin (2-0, 1.93 ERA) takes on former A’s minor leaguer Brad Peacock (1-1, 4.82 ERA) as the A’s look to improve to 5-0 against their new division rivals.