John Axford’s Bad Pitch

I saw on CBS Sunday Morning the story of a couple who had been married for eighty years.  I went out grocery shopping, and then I took the buses to the Fruitvale BART station while listening to Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me on the radio.  After they discussed the fake Donald Trump Time magazine cover, they played the Rolling Stones’ “Time Is On My Side,” which made me laugh.  I got to the Coliseum and saw that there was a giveaway at the gate, a tote bag.  The woman in front of me in line said that Khris Davis struck out too much, and that the A’s should not have fired Curt Young.  She said that she liked Jed Lowrie and Adam Rosales.  Sean Manaea was the starting pitcher for the A’s, as they were trying to avoid losing seven consecutive home games and three against the Braves.  Manaea allowed two singles in the first inning, got allowed no runs.  However, in the second inning, he had the count at 0-2 against Kurt Suzuki when he gave up a home run.  Manaea walked the next batter, who stole second base and went to third base on a ground ball to first base.  Manaea struck out the next batter, but couldn’t escape without giving up another run, as he gave up a double.  The next batter singled, but Matt Olson made a good throw to home plate to get the third out.  Manaea faced only fifteen batters over the next five innings.  After Jed Lowrie made an error in the third inning, the following batter hit into a double play.  After Manaea hit a batter with a pitch in the fifth inning, Bruce Maxwell threw out the runner trying to steal second base.  After a walk in the seventh inning, Franklin Barreto was in the right place to start a 6-3 double play.  The fourth and sixth were clean innings for Manaea.  One thing that caught the crowd’s attention in the fourth inning was a fan behind home plate in the second deck who caught two consecutive foul balls.  In the Big Head race, Rickey Henderson mysteriously fell down, allowing Rollie Fingers to win for the first time in quite a while.  During the seventh inning stretch, we heard “Dancing in the Street.”  Up to this point in the game, the A’s had managed only a walk from Khris Davis in the second inning, a walk from Matt Joyce in the third, and a single from Yonder Alonso in the fourth.  Khris Davis woke up the crowd with a home run to start the seventh inning, making the score 2-1.  Yonder Alonso grounded out, and Franklin Barreto, who had come into the game after Ryon Healy had a problem with his back, hit a ball that fell in near the second baseman for one of those Coliseum sun singles.  Barreto stole second base.  After Bruce Maxwell and Jaycob Brugman both walked to load the bases, the Braves made a pitching change.  Adam Rosales hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield to tie the game at 2-2.  After another pitching change, Rajai Davis pinch-hit for Matt Joyce and annoying made a quick out swinging at the first pitch.  Manaea got the first out of the eighth inning, but after allowing a single, Bob Melvin brought in Ryan Madson, who ended the inning with a 3-6-3 double play.  In the bottom of the inning, Matt Olson had a hit off the outfield wall in left field, but he was thrown out trying to get to second base.  Lowre and Khris Davis struck out.  Santiago Casilla pitched the top of the ninth inning and did get Ken Korach on the radio called some shimmying, and Casilla had a clean inning.  The A’s did nothing in the bottom of the inning, and so it was on to extra innings.  Liam Hendriks pitched the top of the tenth and allowed a double with two outs, followed by a wild pitch, but got the third out with a ball to centerfield.  In the tenth inning, Rosales walked with one out, and Olson walked with two outs, but Lowrie struck out.  That fan in the second deck caught a third foul ball during Rosales’ at-bat.  I didn’t see whether he was the noted ball hawk that Kara Tsuboi once interviewed.  In the eleventh inning, Daniel Coulombe pitched for the A’s, and he struck out the first two Braves, but then allowed a walk and a double for a win before getting a strikeout.  In the bottom of the inning, Jim Johnson walked both Khris Davis and Yonder Alonso.  Franklin Barreto tried to bunt three times and looked bad in striking out.  Bruce Maxwell had a long single, and Davis scored, but Alonso was held at third base.  Brugman was intentionally walked.  Rosales was unable to duplicate his sacrifice fly in the seventh fly, hitting the ball to the outfield, but for an out on a sliding catch.  Rajai Davis was unable to produce a winning hit, as he struck out, so it was on to a twelfth inning.  John Axford entered the game with a 5.10 ERA.  He got to a 3-2 count on Kurt Suzuki and threw a 96 mph fastball, but it went out of the park for a home run and a 4-3 score.  The bottom of the twelfth inning started with Olson and Lowrie both striking out.  A few minutes earlier, a fan near the A’s dugout was yelling about a ball that wasn’t caught, causing Lowrie to shake his head in disbelief at the guy’s obnoxiousness.  I wondered who he was that he could think that his criticisms actually meant anything.  The usher to my left escorted him out of the stands.  Khris Davis hit a single to keep a bit of hope alive, and Alonso, who had just been named the A’s representative at the All-Star Game, walked, bringing up Barreto.  Barreto did have that sun-aided single in the seventh inning, but this time he hit a ball to right field that ended the game.  This game began at 1:07 with a game time temperature of 70 degrees, and it ended at 5:18.  Lowrie had gone 0-for-6 with three strikeouts.  After the game on the radio, Zakariah expressed no confidence in Axford.  I wanted to hurry and get back home as soon as possible.  I listened to Elton John’s “Caribou” album on the way home, and I also heard Robert Hilburn’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Times radio program on KCSN.  He played songs by The Beatles, Joy Division, The Stone Roses, Oasis, and The Verve.  Back at home, I watched the first half of “Against All Odds” with Jeff Bridges and Rachel Ward, but fell asleep.  Bridges was still young enough in 1984 to play an aging football player.  Some of the people who died on July 3 include Brian Jones (1969), Jim Morrison (1971), Ross Martin (1981), Jim Backus (1989), Pancho Gonzalez (1995), Larry Harmon (2008), and Andy Griffith (2012).  Today is a birthday for Yeardley Smith (53) and Tom Cruise (55).  According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for July 3, The Andy Williams Show had its premiere on ABC in 1958.  In 1965, Roy Rogers’ horse Trigger died in Hidden Ranch, California.  In 1976, Paul McCartney’s “Silly Love Songs” was the Number One single.  In 1985, “Back to the Future” was released.  In 1993, Curly Joe DeRita, the last of The Three Stooges, died of pneumonia at age 83 at the Motion Picture and Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, California.

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