Sean Doolittle’s Blown Save

I woke up and watched CBS This Morning and the chef segment.  Two of Dan Kluger’s signature recipes were Grilled pork chop with cabbage and pomegranate, Grilled sugar snap peas, radish and pecorino vinaigrette.  I went out grocery shopping and then took the bus out to the MacArthur BART station.  I got to the Coliseum before the gates opened, and I walked over to the food trucks.  The Big City Country Boy truck seemed disorganized, but I still wanted to try their garlic chicken nachos.  I thought it had too many potato chips, and I couldn’t finish them all.  I went looking for the book signing.  The A’s team president was there talking with the author, Jason Turbow.  It looked like I was the first person to buy a book.  Jason was a friendly sort, and he gave me a package of baseball cards that looked like promotional material for the book, which was called “Dynastic, Bombastic, Fantastic.”  I thought about going back to the food trucks, but I had spent enough money, so I just headed for my seat.  It was Jackie Robinson Day, and I was amazed that Rachel Robinson was still alive.  I watched two women give Ryon Healy friendly greetings, one of them wearing a fancy Healy jacket.  The Houston Astros had been winning a lot of games against the A’s during the past two seasons.  I wasn’t too sure that the A’s could reverse this trend.  Sean Manaea was the A’s starting pitcher.  He got into a bit of a jam in the first inning but escaped it, and then had a clean second inning.  In the bottom of that second inning, Khris Davis and Stephen Vogt both singled on 3-2 pitches, and then Yonder Alonso doubled to give the A’s a 1-0 lead.  Ryon Healy struck out, but Jaff Decker singled to bring in a run, and then Adam Rosales bunted a tough pitch to make the score 3-0.  Manea walked the first batter of the third inning, but then got nine consecutive outs.  The A’s loaded the bases with no outs in the third inning, as Trevor Plouffe walked and Jed Lowrie and Khris Davis both followed with singles.  However, Stephen Vogt struck out, Alonso flied out, and Healy struck out for the second time, so that chance was squandered.  In the fifth inning, the A’s did add to their lead with home runs from Trevor Plouffe and Khris Davis, making the score 5-0.  The top of the sixth inning was the beginning of the end for the A’s, as Sean Manaea allowed three consecutive walks to begin the inning.  A line drive to Adam Rosales appeared to be an out, but he couldn’t catch the ball, and behind him Decker made a second error on the play.  That was the end of Manaea’s afternoon.  Before Ryan Dull came in to pitch, I saw myself on the scoreboard screen, but I didn’t wave.  Dull got the three outs, although he did give up a walk before getting a double play.  The score was 5-2 at the end of this very long inning.  In the bottom of the inning, the A’s did load the bases with a single from Decker and walks from Plouffe and Lowrie, but Khris Davis made the last out without any runs coming in.  After the Big Head race, in which Dennis Eckersley won a close one ahead of Rollie Fingers, Liam Hendriks pitched for the A’s in the top of the seventh inning.  Three of the four batters he faced singled, with another run coming in.  Amazingly, these were the first three hits for the Astros in this game.  Santiago Casilla replaced Hendriks, and the first hitter he faced hit a ground ball that couldn’t be turned into a double play, so another run came in, and the score was now 5-4.  After two stolen bases, Casilla did get the strikeout to preserve the lead, at least for the moment.  During the seventh inning stretch, we heard “Shake a Tail Feather.”  In the top of the eighth inning, Casilla walked the first two Astros batters.  A ground ball out moved the runners to second and third.  Sean Doolittle was brought into the game, and the hope that he could save the game was dashed with his first pitch, which was a wild pitch that tied the game at 5-5.  With the runner at third base, a fly ball to center brought in another run, and the Astros were now ahead 6-5.  Doolittle proceeded to give up a single and then a demoralizing home run, making the score 8-5.  This was an ugly game.  A line drive out to Plouffe finally ended the inning.  The A’s did score in the bottom of the inning.  Decker hit a triple to left field.  Matt Joyce hit a line drive to center that brought in Decker for the 8-6 score.  Ray Fosse on the radio commented that the home run Doolittle gave up was huge.  Frankie Montas was sent out to pitch the top of the ninth inning.  He allowed single to the first batter and then hit the next one with a pitch.  The runners would score on hits that came later in the inning, the last out coming on a single to center, with Decker throwing out a runner at third base.  With the score now at 10-6, and the seagulls overheard anxious to invade the place to get at the food, we didn’t think we would see much from the A’s in the bottom of the ninth inning.  Jed Lowrie, Khris Davis, and Stephen Vogt made the last outs of the game.  Healy had a rough game, going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.  This was a tough game for the fans to sit through.  It started at 1:07 with a game time temperature of 63 degrees, and it ended at 5:02.  It was nearly a four-hour nine inning game, with a lot of walks and pitching changes and errors and boos from the crowd.  The radio broadcasters said that the highlight of the day was the chowder from the food truck.  We did see a 100-year-old fan throw out the first pitch.  Attendance was 20,140.  I was eager to go home and rest and get something to eat.  According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for April 16, the music concert “Nelson Mandela: An International Tribute for a Free South Africa” took place at Wembley Stadium in London in 1990, with a lineup that included Jackson Browne, Lou Reed, Natalie Cole, Neil Young, Peter Gabriel, and Tracy Chapman.  In 1993, Paul McCartney performed at the Hollywood Bowl for the first time since his days with The Beatles.  In 1996, Judy Collins married Louis Nelson.

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