Sean Doolittle’s Tough Save

It took a long time for the 12 bus to get to the stop across the Grand Lake Theatre. A ridiculously pushy man in a wheelchair told me to move out of the shade so he could be there. Why does he think he has the right to be in the shade? I transferred to the 1R bus downtown and got to 73rd Street, where the next bus took forever to get there. I should have just walked to the stadium. A lot of cars were in the parking lot, and the fans seemed like they were going to be enthusiastic about this series, even though both teams were out of the playoff picture. The A’s were on the verge of 90 losses, and the Giants were one loss away from elimination from a wild card spot, and almost gone from the Western Division race. The season ticket holder line was convenient on this day, and going down the rent, one of the employees recognized me and said he hoped I would return next season. I got to my seat. My row was empty, and it would take a while for some fans to get to their seats. I saw the Rollie Fingers Big Head sitting in a second deck seat for a while. Stephen Vogt was given the Catfish Hunter Award. The A’s had finished a bad series with the Texas Rangers and had lost five consecutive games, so we wanted to see some last life in this team before the end of the year. The press conference with Barry Zito and Tim Hudson was shown on the big screen. The starting pitcher on this night was Sonny Gray, who appeared to be tired during this month of games. He allowed a walk to the first batter of the game, and after a force play that wasn’t quite turned into a double play, he allowed a home run. He would get the next nine Giants batters out, though, giving the A’s a chance to come back. I saw the Banjo Man in the section to my right during the inning. The A’s did nothing in the bottom of the first inning, but in the second, Danny Valencia doubled and would later score on a force play on a ground ball from Eric Sogard. In the third inning, Sam Fuld hit a ball that bounced over the third baseman’s head for a single, and then Billy Burns hit his second home run in three days, a ball that bounced on the ledge in front of the right field bleachers. Before the fourth inning, Kara Tsuboi played Name That Tune with two fans, and the song was “U Can’t Touch This,” which the fans didn’t get right away. Gray allowed a single with one out, but got a double play to keep the score at 3-2. Sogard hit a triple in the bottom of the inning, but with two outs. The A’s were unable to score because Fuld grounded out to first. We heard Devo’s “Whip It” before the fifth inning. Gray gave up a single and a walk to the Giants’ eighth and ninth batters, but got a strikeout to end the inning. We saw a hot dog eating contest without water, and neither of the fans could quite eat one within the time limit. The A’s wasted a double from Burns in the bottom of the inning, although he did get to third base on a ground out. The Slow Dance Cam before the sixth inning showed one fan slow dancing with his beer. Gray gave up a single and a double with two outs. I thought the Giants would score the tying run on the double, but Buster Posey wasn’t quick enough with his feet. Gray got out of the inning with another strikeout. The fans chose the Fresh Prince song “Summertime” to hear during the break before the bottom of the inning. With one out, Billy Butler hit a home run to make the score 4-2. We would see Jose Canseco in the broadcast booth. He talked about hitting home runs and fantasy camp on the radio, but I could barely hear any of it because the crowd was so loud. In one of the last Big Head races of the season, Rollie Fingers pulled away impressively to win for the 24th time this year. Rickey Henderson has 16, and Dennis Eckersley has 12. Sonny Gray had thrown 86 pitches in six innings, and Bob Melvin brought in Ryan Dull, whose ERA was 0.00. Dull went to a 3-2 count to the first batter and then gave up one of the hardest hit home runs ever at the Coliseum. It reached the Plaza Reserved seats on the second level above the luxury suites behind center field. I had never seen such a home run during a game and only seen Yoenis Cespedes reach that section during batting practice. Dull gave up another hard-hit ball on a single, but eventually got out of the inning with a 4-3 double play that Sogard started. The A’s managed to respond with a run of their own in the bottom of the inning. Sam Fuld singled and came around to score on Josh Reddick’s single. Reddick had missed a chance to drive in a run in the fifth inning, so this hit was a little bit of redemption. We saw This Date in MLB History, which gave us highlights from 2003 showing Carlos Delgado hitting four home runs in one game. Dull allowed a single to start the eighth inning, but got the first two batters out. Bob Melvin then brought in Sean Doolittle to try to get four outs. He was throwing nothing but fastballs, and he got into big trouble, allowing two singles and a walk. The score was now 5-4, but Doolittle got that fourth batter out with a foul ball that Vogt caught. In the bottom of the inning, Sogard hit a single with two outs, but Marcus Semien flied out to second. Sogard had played a very good game, getting hits and making good defensive plays. The first Giants batter in the ninth inning hit a line drive that looked like it might go for a double, but Reddick made one of those good running catches for the first out. The radio announcers commented that Reddick had become a better player than he was in 2012. Doolittle got to a 3-2 to the next batter before getting a strikeout. He also struck out the third batter of the inning to end the game. It was a 5-4 win for the A’s, the 14th win for Sonny Gray, and the second save for Doolittle. The game started at 7:08 with a game time temperature of 70 degrees and ended at 9:57. Attendance was 36,067.

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