Billy Burns’ Walk-Off Single

I watched an episode of The Ghost of Mrs. Muir with Shirley Booth.  I went out to work and talked with someone about “The Lobster.”  I was getting very hungry, so I was glad when my shift was over.  I went grocery shopping, and I went home to watch the Partridge Family episode “Don’t Bring Your Guns to Town, Santa.”  I took the bus out to the MacArthur BART station, and I made my way to the Coliseum.  I could not believe that a four-car train was running in the middle of the commute.  It was a cloudy early evening.  The A’s starting pitcher was Kendall Graveman, so we heard “Sweet Home Alabama” as the team took the field.  During the first inning, I saw Crazy Legs selling his kettle corn for the first time in quite a while.  An error by Marcus Semien and a single with two outs created a bit of trouble for Graveman in that first inning, but Graveman got the third out, keeping the Angels from scoring.  Graveman allowed a double with one out in the second inning, but again didn’t allow the run.  In the bottom of the inning, Danny Valencia doubled, went to third base on an error on Khris Davis’ single, and scored on a sacrifice fly from Yonder Alonso.  Vince Cotroneo on the radio noted that Graveman had trouble coming up with the shutdown inning, and the third inning turned out to be an example.  Gravemen gave up a home run with one out to tie the score at 1-1.  However, after a walk with two outs, he would get thirteen consecutive outs, ending his night with four consecutive clean innings.  On This Date in MLB History, we saw Ron Guidry striking out 18 Angels hitters in 1978.  The A’s couldn’t take advantage of a Coco Crisp triple in the third inning, but they took the lead in the fourth inning with a Khris Davis home run, making the score 2-1.  Jed Lowrie and Yonder Alonso followed the home run with two singles, but the A’s couldn’t do anything with the scoring chance, with Marcus Semien and Max Muncy making outs.  For the bacon inning trivia question, Khris Davis almost said that George Clinton was a president.  Stephen Vogt walked with two outs in the fifth inning, but was thrown out trying to get to second base on a pitch that bounced away from the Angels catcher, only not far enough.  Nothing happened in the sixth inning.  We finally saw another Big Head race, and somehow Dennis Eckersley won this one.  Rollie Fingers was unusually slow, as if he were a different person, perhaps shorter.  Alonso got another hit in the seventh inning, but nobody who followed him did anything.  Some of the fans were surprised at how well Graveman had pitched.  He got his ERA below 5.00.  Sean Doolittle came out to pitch the top of the eighth inning, and he gave up a double with his first pitch.  The runner moved to third base on a ground out.  However, Doolittle escaped with a foul ball to Valencia and a fly ball to Smolinski.  In the bottom of the inning, Valencia singled with two outs, but that was it.  A day after being four outs away from having a perfect game thrown against them, things were looking better.  Ryan Madson pitched the top of the ninth inning.  The first batter grounded out, but the next batter singled.  The third batter hit a sinking line drive out to Smolinski in right field.  At first it looked like a double play to end the game, but after a review, the ball bounced in front of Smolinski’s glove, and the Angels had runners at first and third with one out.  A fly ball to right field scored the tying run, making the crowd groan.  With fireworks to follow the game, we wanted the game to end early.  Smolinski was busy in this inning.  He caught another line drive that went his way to end the inning.  Madson had blown the save, and Graveman’s chance at a third win had disappeared.  In the middle of the inning, we had the Flex Cam again.  The bottom of the inning began with Lowrie and Alonso making outs, so we were looking at the possibility of extra innings.  Marcus Semien got the count to 3-2 before drawing a walk.  Smolinski singled, with Semien reaching third base.  Billy Burns came up to bat.  He had done with in his previous four times at bat.  He is known for swinging at the first pitch, so we were prepared to see something happen quickly.  He did swing at the first pitch, and it was a ball that went through the left side of the infield for a walk-off single.  The final score was 3-2.  The game had started at 6:37 with a game time temperature of 65 degrees and ended at 9:29.  The attendance was 24,591.  I hurried to gather my stuff and get into the aisle to line up to get onto the field for the fireworks show.  I listened to the postgame radio show.  I didn’t see the Banjo Man anywhere around.  The music that went with the fireworks was from classic baseball movies, like “The Natural,” “Bull Durham,” “The Sandlot,” “Major League,” “The Bad News Bears,” “Angels in the Outfield,” and “Rookie of the Year.”  I took photos of the ending flourish. It was 10:14, thankfully not too late even with the fireworks.  Some fans chanted about the Warriors, but I didn’t want to think about basketball until Sunday.  I was fortunate to get to my train without too much delay, and I got home in time to see the sports highlights.  I saw Daniel Inouye pronouncing his name for the benefit of Dick Cavett on The Dick Cavett Show.  There is no giveaway for today’s game, and so no great rush to get to the stadium early.  Because of these games, I am missing the opening weekend of “Finding Dory,” but I was planning to see it on Monday.  Some of the people who died on June 18 include Eddie Gaedel (1961), Alan Berg (1984), Nancy Marchand (2000), Jack Buck (2002), Clarence Clemons (2011), and Victor Spinetti (2012).  Today is a birthday for Isabella Rossellini (64) and Paul McCartney (74).  According to the Brandon Broooks Rewind radio segment for June 18, Johnny Rotten was slashed across his face and hands by youths upset over the song “God Save the Queen” in1977.  In 1980, the “Blue Brothers” movie had its premiere in New York.  In 1982, “Annie” was released.

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