Chris Smith’s Four Home Run Stings

During the night, I watched “The Great Escape.”  I thought about how the escape would have gone better if the one guy hadn’t become too impatient in waiting for the signal to go up the ladder.  Also, Gordon Jackson made that huge mistake in blurting out in English.  I went over to the Grand Lake Theatre to see “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” in 3D for the last time.  I won’t say that it was a great movie, although I did enjoy it a little bit more the second time.  I thought Cara Delevingne at least had some potential in the movies.  I took the buses over to the Fruitvale BART station.  I arrived at the Coliseum early, and so I found a place to sit as I waited for the gates to open.  I went to the food trucks to buy crab fries and a creamsicle shake.  Chris Smith was the A’s starting pitcher, and he was still trying to get his first win of the season.  The game looked like a struggle right from the beginning, as Smith allowed a triple to the first batter of the game.  Could Rajai Davis had done better on that play, as the ball bounced off the wall and away from him.  A ground out to third gave the Orioles a 1-0 lead.  In the bottom of the inning, Rajai walked.  He was caught between first and second base, but the first baseman made a bad throw to second base for an error, putting Rajai at third base, and he score on a sacrifice fly by Jed Lowrie.  Smith gave up a double to start the second inning, and he walked a batter with two outs, but he kept the score at 1-1.  He had a clean third inning, but he allowed a home run on a 3-2 pitch in the fourth inning, and another home run on the following pitch.  Smith then had a pretty good stretch of getting seven out of eight batters out into the sixth inning before he did the same thing, giving up a home run on a 3-2 pitch, and another home run on the next pitch.  Smith wasn’t throwing hard.  He did get the next two batters out, finishing the sixth inning to end his night allowing five runs on seven hits, which included two doubles, one triple, and four home runs.  The A’s were quiet on offense during these innings, not scoring any runs.  They wasted Jed Lowrie’s double in the fourth inning, as he was only able to get to third base on Chad Pinder’s single.  Mark Canha and Marcus Semien walked in the fifth inning, and Ryon Healy reached second base on an error in the sixth inning, and that was it.  Ray Fosse had said that Rickey Henderson had better win the Big Head race for the night, but instead of that race, we saw a Bongo Cam segment.  Liam Hendriks replaced Smith for the top of the seventh inning, and after one out, he gave up a double.  After an error by Semien, another double gave the Orioles a 7-1 lead.  A strikeout came one batter too late.  During the seventh inning stretch, we heard “Shake a Tail Feather.”  Daniel Coulombe pitched the top of the eighth inning and allowed only a single with one out, as he got two strikeouts.  Ken Korach talked a bit about this date in A’s history.  Dave Kingman in 1985 hit his 400th home run.  In 1986, his last season in the major leagues, he would hit 35 home runs.  The A’s had a promising bottom of the eighth inning when Semien singled, Lowrie doubled for the run, and Khris Davis walked on four pitches.  However, Ryon Healy was out on a 3-2 pitch that was a questionable strike that he argued, and then Pinder hit into a double play.  Ryan Dull took the mound for the top of the ninth inning.  He went to a 3-2 count to the first batter, but he ended up pitching a clean inning.  His ERA went from 4.95 to 4.71 with those three outs.  It was highly unlikely that the A’s could come back from a 7-2, especially after Matt Olson struck out to start the bottom of the ninth inning.  Canha singled and Dustin Garneau doubled, so there was a chance at two more runs.  After a pitching change, Matt Joyce came up to pinch-hit for Rajai Davis but struck out.  Marcus Semien walked on a 3-2 to load the bases.  With the save situation, the Orioles brought in a new pitcher.  Lowrie hit a ball to right field for the last out of the game.  After the good game on Sunday, the A’s had lost three consecutive home games.  This game had started at 7:07 with a game time temperature of 64 degrees, and it ended at 10:16.  The attendance was 11,357.  We had seen a blinking contest, which Stomper won.  Outside the stadium, someone was trying to sell sunglasses for the eclipse for five dollars. He probably didn’t understand the cheapness of A’s fans.  It was too early to try to sell these things to this crowd, anyway.  Who among them plans anything eleven days in advance?  One of the topics on the postgame radio show was the fan survey about a new ballpark.  Some people complained that it took thirty minutes to fill it out.  Chris Townsend said that he didn’t like having thirty-year-old players on the A’s when they’re in the middle of a youth movement, but Chris Smith was an exception because he was a grinder, determined to get his first win as a starting pitcher at 36.  There may be a Bull Durham quality to him.  When I got home, Stephen Colbert was joking about Guam and the fact that no one seemed to know where it is.  These nuclear threats are starting to have the ring of Dr. Strangelove.  I saw that the A’s website said that Chris Smith was stung by the Orioles’ home runs.  Some of the people who died on August 11 include Edith Wharton (1937), Jackson Pollock (1956), Anne Ramsey (1988), Peter Cushing (1994), Mike Douglas (2006), and Robin Williams (2014).  Today is a birthday for Viola Davis (52), Hulk Hogan (64), Steve Wozniak (67), and Ian McDiarmid (73).  According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for August 11, “American Graffiti” was released in 1973.  In 1979, “Get the Knack” was Number One on the album chart.  In 2014, Robin Williams committed suicide at age 63.

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