Billy Butler’s Walk-Off Double

I went out to the office, where ESL teachers were grading papers. I just wanted some information for my syllabus. I went out to take BART to the Coliseum. People were in line early to get the Mark McGwire bobblehead. I listened to the news on the radio. The story I kept hearing over and over was about the pink pill for women. A little girl near the gate tried to trade her Tony La Russa bobblehead for a Mark McGwire. I took my seat, and during the Dodgers’ batting practice, a few baseballs came my way, but I didn’t get any of them. Quite a few Dodgers fans showed up for this game, which was supposed to be sold out, although I saw empty seats in the third deck. The Dodgers had their ace pitcher Clayton Kershaw taking the mound, while the A’s had Felix Doubront. Coco Crisp’s grandfather threw out the first pitch, and Mark McGwire was shown on the big screen as the fans applauded him. The radio announcers would talk about one of his home runs in Cleveland that traveled 485 feet. Doubront struck out the first two batters of the game on his way to a clean first inning, but he would struggle quite a bit later on. In the bottom of the inning, Billy Burns singled but didn’t advance as Sam Fuld, Danny Valencia, and Josh Phegley all made outs. In the second inning, Doubront gave up a single, although it was a gift single according to Ken Korach, since either Marcus Semien or Fuld should have caught it. Doubront did get the next three batters out, ending the inning with a strikeout. The A’s took the lead in the bottom of the inning. Mark Canha, who would go on to have a great game, singled, and Billy Butler followed with a walk. Josh Reddick put down a sacrifice bunt. Semien grounded out to second, but the play brought in a run. Eric Sogard hit a ground ball that Kershaw twirled around to catch, and he threw to first base for the third out. In the third inning, Doubront walked the eighth and ninth hitters in the Dodgers’ batting order, but he managed to get out of the mess with three consecutive outs. In the fourth inning, Doubront allowed a two-out walk but kept the score at 1-0. Meanwhile, the A’s got a two-out single from Valencia in the third inning, and then a two-out single from Reddick in the fourth inning. In the fifth inning, Doubront again walked the eighth and ninth hitters, which was incredibly aggravating. A passed ball allowed both runners to advance. A ground ball to second base tied the game at 1-1, but Doubront struck out the next two batters. The A’s did nothing in the bottom of the inning. Doubront allowed yet another walk to start the sixth inning, but he also got two strikeouts in getting the next three batters out. His performance wasn’t pretty, but he did what he was supposed to do. The one run he allowed was an unearned run. In the bottom of the inning, the A’s got another two-out single, this time from Canha, but the score remained tied. In the Big Head race, Rickey Henderson won for the 13th time this year. Pat Venditte, the switch pitcher, took the mound in the seventh inning. He allowed a walk to that eighth hitter, and a two-out single, but no runs. In the bottom of the inning, Reddick walked. An error by the third baseman put Sogard at first base and Reddick at second with one out. Burns struck out, and Fuld grounded out to end the inning. Kara Tsuboi played Name That Tune with two fans, who seemed too young to know “Eye of the Tiger.” Venditte got the first two batters of the eighth inning out, but then Bob Melvin brought in Fernando Rodriguez. The first four batters he faced all reached base. It was two singles, a three-run home run, and a walk. During that sequence, there was a fight in the stands, but it was far away from me. Rodriguez finally got that third out with a fly ball to left field. With three runs to make up and six outs left, things weren’t looking too good for the home team. However, Kershaw was now out of the game. The bottom of the eighth inning started with a single from Valencia. Phegley had been 0-for-3 for the night, but he hit a double this time. Canha continued to do well, also hitting a double and bringing the A’s to within one run at 4-3. Butler grounded out for the first out of the inning, but Canha went to third base on the play. After a pitching change, Reddick singled, but Canha couldn’t score on the play. Semien singled to tie the score, exciting the home fans and denying Kershaw his 11th win. Sogard grounded out to first, although Reddick and Semien advanced. However, Burns struck out for the third time, and so the score remained 4-4. Evan Scribner pitched the top of the ninth inning. He gave up a single, but a 6-4-3 double play and a ground ball to first followed. The A’s couldn’t do anything in the bottom of the ninth, and so we went to a tenth inning. Scribner faced the first batter, and he got the out with a line drive that Sogard caught. Fernando Abad replaced Scribner and allowed a single on a 0-2 count. Fuld caught a line drive for the second out. A lot happened in left field, with fly balls that died in the cold air, a home run, and big catches. Abad annoyingly walked that eighth Dodger hitter, who drew four walks in the game. However, Abad got the strikeout to end the inning with the score still at 4-4. With all the walks and pitching changes and the extra inning, the game had gone past three and a half hours. We were eager to get home. Canha started the bottom of the tenth inning by hitting the ball well again for another double. It was his fourth hit of the game. We had the feeling that the game would be ending soon, and that’s what happened. Billy Butler swung at the first pitch and got a hit to right field. The throw to home plate was desperate and wild and couldn’t stop the winning run from scoring. I wasn’t sure whether Butler’s hit was scored a single or a double, but checking the box score, it was a double. It was a good win to end a miserable seven-game losing streak. The game began at 7:07 with a game time temperature of 65 degrees, and it ended at 10:52. Attendance was 35,067. I didn’t stick around for the ritual of the pie in the face. I noted that the A’s will have to go 21-20 in their last 41 game to avoid 90 losses for the season. I hurried home while listening to the postgame radio show. Chris Townsend said the game was the best win of the season. When I got home, I had something to eat before I went to bed. I was too tired for any video games or reading. I heard on the news that Jared Fogle was going to plead guilty to possession of child pornography. I also heard that Bud Yorkin and Yvonne Craig had died. Some of the people who died on August 19 include Blaise Pascal (1662), Groucho Marx (1977), Hayden Rorke (1987), and Linus Pauling (1994). Today is a birthday for Peter Gallagher (60) and Bill Clinton (69). According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for August 19, Groucho Marx died at age 86 in Los Angeles in 1977. In 1988, “Married to the Mob,” starring Michelle Pfeiffer, was released. Also in 1988, “A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master” was released. In 1993, Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger were married in East Hampton, New York.

This entry was posted in Sports. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s