Zach Neal’s Gem

I spent part of the afternoon watching “Author! Author!”  The director was Arthur Hiller, who also worked on “Love Story” and “The In-Laws.”  I thought the cast, with Al Pacino, Tuesday Weld, and Dyan Cannon, was pretty good.  I thought the script had problems, with a gender role reversal and two characters who disappear.  I bought a cupcake and browsed through the record stores before taking the buses out to the Coliseum.  I took my seat.  One of the photographers saw me and waved at me.  I listened to the radio as I waited for the game to begin.  I didn’t know what to expect from Zach Neal, the A’s starting pitcher, but it turned out that he would do quite well in the game.  He would start by getting the first nine Baltimore Orioles batters out.  Meanwhile, the A’s would get one-out singles in both the first and second innings, but they wouldn’t score any runs until the third.  With one out, Marcus Semien and Jake Smolinski both singled, and then Danny Valencia would double into right field for one run.  Khris Davis followed with a line drive into right field that would be a sacrifice, giving the A’s their second run.  Unfortunately, Neal couldn’t come up with the shutdown inning, because he gave up a home run to the first batter of the fourth inning.  He did rebound from that mistake to get the next six Orioles batters out before allowing a double to start the sixth inning.  After getting a fly ball out to right field that advanced the runner to third base with only one out, Bob Melvin brought in Liam Hendriks.  A pop fly to second and a ground ball back to Hendriks kept the score at 2-1.  In fact, Hendriks would have a clean seventh inning.  The A’s needed good relief pitching because they weren’t scoring any more runs.  They did nothing in the fourth inning.  They got one walk in the fifth inning.  In the sixth, they got two walks, but Billy Butler hit into a double play.  In the seventh, Ryon Healy singled and Jake Smolinski walked, but the A’s got no runs.  In the eighth, they got only a two-out walk from Stephen Vogt.  John Axford came into the game to pitch the top of the eighth.  Semien caught a line drive for the first out, and Axford struck out the next batter.  After a four-pitch walk, Axford got a strikeout to end the inning.  Ryan Madson came in to pitch the top of the ninth inning.  He gave up a single, but then caught a ground ball and quickly threw to second base, which started a surprising 1-6-3 double play.  Just like Axford in the previous inning, Madson gave up a walk with two outs.  However, he struck out the next batter to end the game.  We saw very good pitching from the A’s in the first two games of this series, and they also committed no errors in this game.  The game started at 7:07 with a game time temperature of 64 degrees, and it ended at 9:32.  The attendance was 13,573.  I was glad that I could rush home and be able to catch the eleven o’clock news.  Some of the people who died on August 10 include Frank Lloyd (1960), Tony Wilson (2007), Isaac Hayes (2008), and Eydie Gorme (2013).  Today is a birthday for Antonio Banderas (56), Rosanna Arquette (57), and Ian Anderson (69).

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