Kila Ka’aihue’s 14th-Inning Walk-Off Hit

I missed Goldie Hawn on the CBS This Morning show yesterday.  I wanted a good look at her face.  I put away my computer and left for the stadium.  The weather forecasts said that there was a possibility of rain in the afternoon, although that changed before too long.  When I got to the stadium, I went over to the box office to buy a ticket for the July 2 game against the Boston Red Sox.  It cost $13 for a seat that would cost $2 yesterday afternoon.  I listened to the radio until I heard Tim Tebow mentioned, and then I had to turn it off.  There is no good reason to talk about Tim Tebow in April.  After I entered the gate, I looked up at dark clouds.  A stadium employee saw me doing this and said it wasn’t going to rain.  I saw a couple of regulars take their seats near me, and one of them nodded at me.  On this day we could get to see a new pitcher for the A’s, Jarrod Parker.  He would pitch very well, working out of some difficult situations.  In the second inning, he gave up two singles and a double without giving up a run, thanks to Kurt Suzuki’s throw to Cliff Pennington.  In the sixth inning, Parker gave up a double, but then got three straight outs to keep the score at 0-0.  The A’s finally scored in the bottom of the sixth inning, when Jemile Weeks singled with one out, Josh Reddick doubled with two outs for one run, and then Yoenis Cespedes singled to make the score 2-0.  In the top of the seventh inning, Parker gave up a single and a double with one out, bringing in a run and prompting Bob Melvin to bring in a relief pitcher, Ryan Cook.  The second out came on a missed squeeze play that went 3-5.  The third out was a strikeout.  The White Sox got a runner to second on a walk and stolen base, while the A’s did nothing in the seventh or eighth innings.  In the top of the ninth inning, Grant Balfour came in to pitch.  One of the girls in the right field bleachers swings her hair around during the music that introduces Balfour.  One of these days, she’s going to injure her neck.  After all the fuss, Grant laid a pitch in there that went over the left field fence for the tying home run.  What was going to be a two hour and fifteen minute game was on its way to becoming a marathon.  Grant got the next three batters out, and the Aussie fans in left field waved their A’s for Aussie sign around when maybe they should have been embarrassed that their man blew the save.  They seemed like the friendly type, though.  I noticed that they had seats closer to the field than on Tuesday.  One of their Aussies, Rich Thompson, was no longer with the team, however.  In the bottom of the inning, Cespedes walked and went to second on a balk, but nothing else happened, so we had to go to extra innings.  In the tenth through thirteenth innings, the A’s did nothing but get a single from Kurt Suzuki with two outs in the twelfth.  The bottom of the tenth inning was a KKK.  Chicago was more active in those innings.   Brian Fuentes pitched the top of the tenth, and he gave up a single, but Suzuki threw out the runner at second on a bunt, which thwarted the threat.  Jordan Norberto got the first two batters out in the top of the eleventh, but on an infield single, he unwisely threw to first base, committing an error, with the runner ending up at third base.  Norberto got out of the inning, though, after an intentional walk with a strikeout.  In the twelfth inning, Norberto just allowed a two-out walk.  The top of the thirteenth was out of Indiana Jones.  Jerry Blevins came in and quickly gave up a double.  A pinch-runner came in.  Blevins intentionally walked the next batter, and another pinch-runner came in.  Suzuki picked off the runner at second, which must have been the embarrassment of a lifetime for that White Sox player.  Blevins looked like he might get out of the inning OK after a fly ball to shortstop, but then he gave up a hit that rolled into an area in foul ground where neither Cliff Pennington nor Seth Smith would get to for a while.  It was a double, and the runner who started at first base was coming home.  Pennington made a throw that somehow went to Sogard and then to Suzuki for the third out at home.  It seemed that improbable things were happening in this game.  The crowd was dwindling as the afternoon wore on, but something finally happened in the top of the fourteenth inning.  Eric Sogard made an error, allowing the first Chicago player to reach base.  A sacrifice bunt pushed the runner to second base.  Blevins got the next man out with a fly ball, but then gave up a walk, which prompted Bob Melvin to make a pitching change.  Jim Miller was not a Rolling Stones record producer or a boxer, but the relief pitcher who gave up a double that made the score 4-2.  He got a strikeout to end the inning, but the White Sox fan who had been gloating since the home run in the ninth inning was behind me going crazy.  We had a fourteenth-inning stretch, but the fans didn’t have any spirit because they were looking at certain defeat.  The bottom of the inning started off badly with Sogard, the man who committed the error, struck out.  Josh Reddick singled to give us hope, and Yoenis Cespedes caught hold of a 2-2 pitch and sent it over the fence in left center field to tie the score at 4-4.  The fans sensed that the A’s could win this one.  Seth Smith singled, and Kurt Suzuki kept things going with another single, as the crowd got louder.  Kila Ka’aihue hit a ball that was head for the left field foul line but dunked in fair, and Smith scored the winning run.  I turned around to look for the White Sox fan behind me, but he had already left in shame.  I stuck around for a couple of minutes to recover from the shock.  I overheard one fan saying that he thought the A’s were toast after the two runs in the top of the inning.  I wondered if every Wednesday afternoon game for the rest of the season was going to be like this.  The game started at 12:38 and ended at 4:34.  The attendance was 13.032.  Instead of taking BART back home, I took the bus out to Target, where I used a gift card to buy a new portable CD player, one that I could take with me to future games.  It was raining when I left the store, so I wasn’t out of line bringing an umbrella with me.  I listened to The Band’s “Rock of Ages.”  I wanted to see the Twilight Zone episode “Kick the Can” on KOFY, but the screen was black on that station.  Four notable people who died on April 26 are Irene Ryan (1973), Count Basie (1984), Broderick Crawford (1986), and Lucille Ball (1989).  According to Brandon Brooks’ Rewind radio segment for April 26, “Godzilla” had its New York premiere in 1956.  Rod Stewart was mugged in Los Angeles in 1982. He was robbed of his $50,000 Porsche.  Bobby Rydell is 70 today, and Carol Burnett is 79.

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