Raul Alcantara’s Spinning Head

I awoke slowly and went over to the coffee shop for a strawberry-banana smoothie.  I took the 6 bus over to the MacArthur BART station and headed to the Coliseum.  I had forgotten that on weekdays, even on holidays, the gates open an hour and a half before the game starts.  The line outside the gate was pretty long at 11:30.  It was a warm afternoon, but the giveaway was a fleece blanket.  I took my seat and listened to the radio.  The starting pitcher for the A’s was Raul Alcantara, making his debut.  If he was nervous, he certainly showed it, as he went through a rough three innings.  Ken Korach on the radio said that Alcantara’s head must have been spinning with all that was going on around him.  He was facing an Angels team that had been playing very well recently.  Alcantara actually got the first batter of the game out.  He got to a 0-2 count on Mike Trout, and then hit him with a pitch.  Alcantara then gave up two singles to load the bases before hitting a second batter with a pitch for the game’s first run.  A walk gave the Angels a second run.  A sacrifice fly to left field gave the Angels a third run.  Alcantara hit a third batter with a pitch, or so it was ruled, as it seemed the play was debatable.  A line drive to center was the third out.  It was 31 pitches and a very tough inning.  The A’s did come back in the bottom of the inning with a double by Marcus Semien, followed by a home run by Danny Valencia.  Alcantara couldn’t hold down the Angels, as he gave up a home run in the second inning.  After giving up another single, a double play helped him getting out of the inning with the score 4-2.  In the third inning, Alcantara allowed a double with one out, and then he balked.  A fly ball to center scored the fifth run for the Angels.  The third out was a ground ball.  That would be it for Raul Alcantara’s debut.  He left with an ERA of 15.00.  Ross Detwiler was originally set to pitch tonight’s game against the Angels, but he was pressed into service, and maybe the expected call affected him.  He got the first batter of the fourth inning out, but then he allowed a walk, a single, a double, and two more singles to the next five batters for three more Angels runs.  He would settle down after that, giving up only a single and a walk through the end of the sixth inning and actually getting through a clean fifth inning with the help of a good play from Khris Davis in left field.  The A’s started coming back in the fourth inning, when Khris Davis and Yonder Alonso drew walks.  After Ryon Healy made an out, Joey Wendle singled for his first major league RBI.  Jake Smolinski lined out to center, but Bruce Maxwell doubled for two more runs, making the score 8-5.  In the fifth inning, Danny Valencia doubled, and one out later, Khris Davis walked.  Yonder Alonso made an out, but Ryon Healy doubled for one run, making the score 8-6.  In the sixth inning, Marcus Semien doubled with two outs, and Danny Valencia walked, but Stephen Vogt grounded out.  He would have a tough afternoon hitting.  In the Big Head race, Dennis Eckersley won a close race.  Sean Doolittle pitched the top of the seventh inning, and he gave up a two-out single but struck out two batters, keeping the score at 8-6.  We heard “Working Day and Night” during the seventh inning stretch.  Khris Davis hit a home in the bottom of the inning to bring the A’s to within 8-7.  The A’s used two pinch-hitters, Billy Butler and Chad Pinder, and they got singles from Healy and Smolinski, and a walk from Maxwell to load the bases, but they couldn’t push another run across.  Liam Hendriks pitched a clean eighth inning to give the A’s some hope.  In the bottom of the inning, Valencia singled.  Vogt finished 0-for-5 for the day, as he flied out to left.  Davis struck out.  Butler walked, and Brett Eibner pinch-ran for him.  However, Healy hit a foul ball that the catcher caught for the last out.  Hendriks got the first batter of the ninth inning out, but then Pinder committed an error which opened the door for the Angels.  The next batter singled, but Davis fumbled the ball for an error, allowing a run to score, with the runner taking second base.  Another single resulted in another run, making the score 10-7.  Healy caught a foul ball for the second out.  Hendriks, perhaps tired at this point, gave up a double, but the 8-6-2 play at the plate went for the third out.  Former A’s pitcher and Rookie of the Year Andrew Bailey went out to the mound for the bottom of the ninth for the Angels.  He seemed like a good guy when I got his autograph years ago.  He got Pinder to ground out for the first out.  Smolinski struck out.  Maxwell went to a 3-2 count before striking out to end the game.  This game began at 1:07 with a game time temperature of 67 degrees, and it ended at 4:51.  It sure was a long game for one that went only nine innings.  The attendance was 18,149.  I couldn’t blame Alcantara for suffering some nerves, but the two errors in the ninth inning were highly discouraging.  Ken Korach repeated that the team must improve their defense next season.  I was tired as I dragged my feet on the way home.  I listened to part of Elton John’s “Here and There” double album on the train.  Some of the people who died on September 6 include Kay Kendall (1959), Quinn Martin (1987), Tom Fogerty (1990), Akira Kurosawa (1998), Luciano Pavarotti (2007), and Martin Milner (2015).  Today is a birthday for Jeff Foxworthy (58) and Swoosie Kurtz (72).

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