Raul Alcantara’s Two Blemishes

I awoke and watched CBS This Morning and their chef segment.  Some of Alexander Small’s signature recipes include She crab cakes with sweet relish tartar sauce, Black-eyed peas and arugala salad with poached pear, Roasted poussin yassa (bourbon dried fruit compote), Coconut curry stick rice, Fried okra and squid, Coconut cake, and Masai cocktail.  I looked up the American Top 40 playlist for the weekend.  The Top 10 songs on September 23, 1978 were “Reminiscing,” “Hot Child in the City,” “Hot Blooded,” “Don’t Look Back,” “Summer Nights,” “An Everlasting Love,” “Three Times a Lady,” “Hopelessly Devoted to You,” “Kiss You All Over,” and “Boogie Oogie Oogie.”  I went grocery shopping, and then I caught the bus to MacArthur BART station.  On an afternoon that would become very warm, not too many fans were showing up for this second to last A’s home game of the season.  Kara Tsuboi and her cameraman would set up right in front of me to talk about raffle tickets.  Raul Alcantara was the starting pitcher for the A’s against the Rangers, who weren’t using their best players on this day after they won the division championship.  The game started with an error by Marcus Semien, which seemed representative of this season.  Alcantara got out of the inning, however, with two strikeouts.  In the second inning, however, he gave up a double and a home run for the Rangers’ first two runs.  Jake Smolinski ran into the fence, but he couldn’t reach the ball.  Alcantara allowed a walk and a single in the third inning, but he had a clean fourth inning.  In the fifth, he allowed a single, but a 7-6-4 double play ended the inning.  The play at second base was reviewed.  The bottom of the fifth inning was one of the few times the A’s threatened to score, as Yonder Alonso single and Marcus Semien walked.  However, Bruce Maxwell and Jake Smolinski both flied out.  In the sixth inning, Alcantara allowed a single with one out.  After the second out, Elvis Andrus came up to bat.  Ken Korach had said that the home run in the second inning was the only blemish to Alcantara’s afternoon.  Well, Andrus provided a second blemish with an impressive home run just inside the left field foul pole.  The score was now 4-0.  Alcantara faced one more batter, and got the third out.  These last two games were without the Big Head race.  Zach Neal pitched the top of the seventh inning, and he had a clean inning.  During the seventh inning stretch, we heard “Don’t Stop ‘Till You Get Enough.”  Daniel Coulombe followed with a clean eighth inning.  The A’s had another chance to score in the bottom of the inning, as Semien and Chad Pinder both singled, and Danny Valencia walked.  With the bases loaded, though, Stephen Vogt flied out to center.  It was the one chance the A’s had to get back in the game.  Liam Hendriks pitched the top of the ninth inning, and he gave up a double with his first pitch.  After an out, another double produced the Rangers’ fifth run.  Hendriks got a ground out and a strikeout to end the inning.  The A’s tried to do something in the bottom of the inning.  Khris Davis doubled.  Ryon Healy grounded out, going 0-for-4 for the day.  Brett Eibner pinch-hit for Alonso and walked.  However, Semien and Matt McBride made the last outs of the game. The game had begun at 1:07 with a game time temperature of 76 degrees, and it ended at 4:05.  The attendance was 16,737.  This was one of the forgettable games of the season, a second consecutive shutout and eighth consecutive home loss.  We heard David Forst on the radio during the fourth inning.  He talked about the biggest problem facing the team during the winter, which was putting together next year’s outfield.  He didn’t talk about all the decisions to be made about the injured players.  I was anxious to return home and have some water.  I saw people walking from the stadium with samples of chocolate milk, but I didn’t get one.  It wasn’t what I wanted on a hot afternoon.

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