Daniel Mengden’s Rocky Sixth Inning

I looked at the box score for Tuesday night’s game and took the bus out to the Fruitvale BART station.  I got to the Coliseum early and didn’t see any people collecting for the food bank.  I took my seat and saw Rickey Henderson signing autographs and posing for photos with fans.  Dave Stewart threw out the first pitch.  Daniel Mengden, the starting pitcher for the A’s, would begin the game exceptionally well with three perfect innings.  The A’s wasted a chance to score in the second inning when Yonder Alonso doubled, but nobody could drive him in, as he was left at third base.  In the fourth inning, Mengden allowed two singles, although the second of these hits should have been caught, as it appeared that Danny Valencia was slow to react.  His play in right field made us all appreciate what Josh Reddick did during all those recent seasons.  Still, Mengden got three strikeouts in the inning to keep the score at 0-0.  The A’s scored in the bottom of the inning, as Valenica walked, Marcus Semien singled, and Brett Eibner doubled.  The Eibner hit unfortunately bounced off the warning track over the fence so that only one run scored.  Jake Smolinski still had a chance to drive in two runs, but he struck out.  Mengden couldn’t come up with the shutdown inning, as two walks and a wild pitch allowed a ground ball out to score the Astros’ first run.  I thought that Mengden was starting to look tired and would encounter further problems in the next inning, when he had to face the best Houston hitters.  He did get the first batter out, but then allowed a single, a double, and a home run.  After getting the second out on a line drive to center, Mengden gave up a triple.  Semien didn’t throw to third base because apparently he didn’t have a good grip on the baseball.  Daniel Coulombe got the last out with a strikeout.  The score now was 4-1.  The A’s did score in the bottom of the inning on a single from Valencia followed two outs later by a double from Bruce Maxwell.  Zach Neal pitched the top of the seventh inning.  After one out, he gave up a double.  A wild pitch allowed the runner to take third base.  Marcus Semien fielded a ground ball, but as he threw to first pitch, the runner ran home and slid in, beating the tag.  Now the score was 5-2.  The A’s did answer in the bottom of the inning.  Smolinski walked, and Chad Pinder, pinch-hitting for Wendle, doubled.  Stephen Vogt grounded out, but brought in the runner at third, and Ryon Healy did the same thing.  The score was now 5-4.  Unfortunately, Neal gave up a home run on his first pitch in the eighth inning.  He got two runs, then allowed a walk, so Bob Melvin brought in Chris Smith, who got the third out with a strikeout.  The Astros had scored in four consecutive innings and now led, 6-4.  The A’s were unable to do anything in the bottom of the inning.  Smith pitched a clean ninth inning.  Former A’s pitcher Luke Gregerson went to the mound to save the game for the Astros.  He got Eibner and pinch-hitter Matt Olson out, but Pinder walked.  Stephen Vogt hit a ground ball that looked like it would end the game, but Jose Altuve committed an error that allowed Pinder to score and Vogt to reach first base.  Arismendy Alcantara came in to pinch-run for Vogt.  Ryon Healy was at bat, but he ended up not getting the chance to drive in the tying run, as Alcantara was thrown out trying to steal second base.  The play was reviewed, delaying the end of the game by two minutes, but that was it.  The A’s had lost their sixth consecutive home game.  This was their last weekday afternoon game at the Coliseum for the season.  The game began at 12:37 with a game time temperature of 62 degrees, and it ended at 3:50.  The attendance was 11,197.  On the radio, Ken Korach talked a lot about Vin Scully’s retirement.  People were outside handing out samples of popsicles.  I slowly made my way to the BART station and over to Emeryville to get to Best Buy.

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