Sunday, June 29, 2014

Game of the Day (6/28/14)

A's 7, Marlins 6 (14). The game began with a pair of pretty effective 24-year-old right-handers on the mound, Sonny Gray for Oakland and Nathan Eovaldi for Miami.

Eovaldi did not start out with anything resembling effectiveness; he walked Coco Crisp and allowed singles to John Jaso, Yoenis Cespedes, and Brandon Moss to get himself in a two-run hole before recording an out. Cespedes moved to third on a foul fly to right and scored on a forceout from Jed Lowrie, and Josh Reddick and Alberto Callaspo singled to score Lowrie for a 4-0 advantage before Gray struck out to end the inning.

Having hit before he had to pitch, Gray worked a comfortable first inning despite hitting a batter. The second was a different story, however, as Marcell Ozuna, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Donovan Solano all singled to bring in one run, Eovaldi bunted and reached on a Gray error to load the bases, and Reed Johnson doubled in two more to reduce the Miami deficit to a run. The Marlins had two runners in scoring position with one out, but a strikeout, an intentional walk to Giancarlo Stanton, and a groundout ended the inning with the Oakland lead still intact.

Eovaldi was perfect in the third, while Gray worked around a Garret Jones leadoff single; Stephen Vogt was hit by a pitch to start the fourth, but was erased on a double play. Reed Johnson was plunked with one out in the fourth, and Derek Dietrich and Stanton singled to score him with the tying run. Casey McGehee then walked to load the bases, and Jones's groundout brought the go-ahead run in from third.

Crisp drew a walk to start the fifth, and Jaso doubled him to third. One out later, Moss struck out, but the third strike escaped Saltalamacchia, necessitating a throw to first; Crisp broke for home as soon as the throw left the catcher's hand and slid in with the tying run.

Gray worked a scoreless fifth, and was lifted for a pinch runner during an unproductive sixth. Ryan Cook was spotless in the bottom of the sixth, Eovaldi worked around a Crisp single in the top of the seventh, and Fernando Abad kept the bases clear in the bottom of the inning.

Mike Dunn replaced Eovaldi in the eighth and allowed the A's to jump out in front again on a Lowrie double and a Callaspo single. Luke Gregerson was the third consecutive Oakland reliever to throw a perfect inning in the bottom of the eighth, and Dunn combined with Sam Dyson on a scoreless ninth.

Sean Doolittle took the mound in the bottom of the ninth and allowed a one-out Stanton double that was followed by a game-tying single from McGehee. McGehee would make it to third on a steal and a flyout before being left on, and the game progressed to extra innings.

Steve Cishek and Dan Otero combined to allow just a walk in the tenth. Bryan Morris walked Crisp and allowed a Jaso single in the eleventh; Crisp moved to third on a forceout before being left on. Johnson led off the bottom of the inning with a single but was immediately caught stealing. Jacob Turner and Jim Johnson took over pitching duties in the twelfth; Turner permitted only one baserunner in his first two innings of work, and Josh Donaldson was quickly removed via the double play. Johnson, meanwhile, was perfect in the twelfth, then yielded a walk and a single in the thirteenth before leaving both runners on.

Turner recorded two quick outs in the fourteenth, but then gave up a Moss double and a Donaldson single to put Oakland in front. Stanton led off the bottom of the inning with a single, McGehee hit into a force, and Jones singled; pinch hitter Jeff Mathis walked to load the bases, and Johnson was pulled for Jeff Francis. Francis struck out Saltalamacchia and retired Solano on a fly ball to leave the bases loaded and end the game.

Fourteen innings. Go-ahead run scored in the eighth, game re-tied in the bottom of the ninth. Go-ahead runs left in scoring position in the eleventh and thirteenth; a run finally scores in the top of the fourteenth, and the home team loads the bases in the bottom of the inning before succumbing to defeat. And that's not to mention an early game-tying run being scored on a strikeout.

WPL scores this as the fourth-best game of the season so far (7.93), and I'm not inclined to disagree.

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