Josh Smith’s Loss

I took the buses out to the Fruitvale BART station, and from there I took the train to the Coliseum.  The train was crowded and stuffy.  I took a seat on a bench near one of the gates to the stadium.  I went to a food truck and bought a waffle burger.  One of the workers in the truck recognized me and knew my name.  I bought some frozen custard and went to my seat.  We observed a moment of silence for Don Baylor, who was with the A’s in 1976 and in 1988.  Kendall Graveman was back, pitching for the first time at the Coliseum in quite some time.  He started off well, with seven consecutive outs against the Mariners.  Meanwhile, the rest of the team provided him with some early runs.  In the bottom of the first inning, Rajai Davis swung at the first pitch he saw for a double, and Marcus Semien walked.  After Ryon Healy struck out, Khris Davis hit his 30th home run of the season to give the A’s a 3-0 lead.  In the third inning, the Mariners started coming back, as a hit and an error by Semien put a runner at second base with one out, and the runner went to third base on a single, and then scored on a ground out.  The A’s scored again in the bottom of the inning.  Healy singled and Khris Davis tripled for one run.  After Chad Pinder lined out, Matt Chapman hit a sacrifice fly to make the score 5-1.  Graveman didn’t get the shutdown inning in the fourth, as with one out, he gave up a walk.  After a force out, two consecutive singles gave the Mariners one run for a 5-2 score.  After a dance-off between two fans, one wearing a mask, Graveman came up with a clean fifth inning.  In the bottom of the inning, Healy hit a home run to give the A’s a 6-2 lead, but this was the last good moment for the home team.  Graveman couldn’t make it through the sixth inning, as he got the first out, but then allowed two singles and a double for two runs.  Those last runs seemed crucial, as a two-run lead wasn’t so comfortable a margin for the relief pitchers.  Ryan Dull came into the game and got the last two outs of the inning on ground balls.  We didn’t get a Big Head race on this night.  Instead, the Slow Dance Cam showed us people in the crowd, including a woman in the row in front of me.  Liam Hendriks started the seventh inning by getting an out on a line drive to right field, but then he allowed a hit, and Matt Joyce made an error that allowed the runner to go to second base.  After allowing another single, Bob Melvin brought in Daniel Coulombe to face one batter.  Coulombe got the out, and Melvin called on Santiago Casilla, who showed why he isn’t a fan favorite by giving up a single that gave the Mariners another run.  He did get the strikeout that ended the inning, but the score was now a precarious 6-5.  During the seventh inning stretch, we heard Martha Reeves’ “Dancing in the Street.”  Simon Castro was called upon to preserve the one-run lead to get to Blake Treinen.  Unfortunately, Matt Chapman made a bad, rushed throw to first for an error, putting the runner at second base with no outs.  A ground out moved the runner to third base.  Danny Valencia, former A’s player, pinch-hit and hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game at 6-6.  Castro then got the fly ball to end the inning.  Treinen pitched the top of the ninth inning and flirted with disaster, but he alternated walks with outs to get out of the bases-loaded jam with the score still at 6-6.  What had the A’s been doing on offense as the Mariners were coming back?  After the Healy home run, they got a single from Mark Canha with one out in the sixth inning and a single from Ryon Healy with two outs in the seventh inning, and that was it.  Before the A’s came up to bat in the ninth inning, we heard “Call Me Maybe.”  The A’s made three quiet outs, so it was on to a tenth inning.  Ken Korach on the radio reminded us that the Mariners were a tough team in one-run games.  Josh Smith was the last of the A’s relief pitchers not to appear in the game, and he went out to the mound for the tenth inning.  He got the first two batters out, but then surrendered a big home run on one of those hanging breaking balls to the ninth hitter in the batting order with a .171 batting average to start the game.  Korach said that the home run came from the unlikeliest of sources.  A fly ball to right field was the third out.  Marcus Semien started off the bottom of the tenth inning with an out to center field.  Matt Olson singled, and Jaycob Brugman came in to pinch-run for him.  Khris Davis walked, so the tying run was at second base with one out.  However, Chad Pinder struck out, and Matt Chapman flied out to right field to end the game.  It certainly was an ugly game with three errors and two four-run leads that went down the drain.  The game had started at 7:07 with a game time temperature of 64 degrees, and it ended at 10:27.  The attendance was 12,354.  The night had turned pretty cold, and so I was glad that I was wearing my jacket, and I was eager to return home.  I missed the eleven o’clock news with Trump’s threats to North Korea.  According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for August 9, concert officials at the Sunbury Jazz and Blues Festival in England in 1967 asked Jerry Lee Lewis to leave the stage because the crowd had gotten too wild.  In 1969, Sharon Tate and four other people were found murdered in Los Angeles.

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