Posts Tagged ‘Oakland’

Grandiose tends to refer to something that is absurdly exaggerated.  If we’re talking about goodness, then yes, I would say that there were enough aspects of yesterday’s performance that were sufficiently full of goodness so as to warrant the description of grandiose.

Doubront had himself another decent start.  He left two outs into the seventh after giving up three runs on three hits while walking five and striking out eight.  He threw 113 pitches, sixty-seven of which were strikes.

Unfortunately, he gave up some runs to some familiar faces.  Jed Lowrie walked to start the second, moved to third on a double, and scored on a wild pitch.  Josh Reddick was at bat at the time, and he ended up singling in another run.  In the fifth, Doubront loaded the bases thanks to two walks and a single; one of those walks was issued to Coco Crisp, who thankfully didn’t end up scoring.  The best part of  that inning was the fact that Doubront escaped that situation after allowing only one run, which scored on a sac fly.

Mortensen came in for the rest of the seventh; although he did record the first out of the eighth, he also gave up a walk, hit a batter, and then gave up two consecutive doubles, the second to Lowrie, which scored three runs all told.  If Victorino hadn’t hauled in the second out out of the frame with a clutch catch, things may have ended differently.  Alex Wilson relieved Mortensen, walked a batter, and was replaced by Tazawa, who finished the inning.  Bailey pitched the ninth.

Thankfully, and I mean really thankfully, none of the interminable mess that was the pitching staff’s performance yesterday impacted us.  We scored so many runs that the six the A’s managed to eke out made absolutely no difference on the game’s outcome.

We went down in order and on twelve pitches in the first, which was by no means an indication of what was to follow.  Papi and Napoli hit back-to-back doubles which put us on the board, shrinking the deficit to one.  Ellsbury doubled in the third, but it didn’t amount to anything, and Oakland fans were probably getting comfortable.

After Papi struck out to lead off the fourth, Napoli got hit and Nava doubled.  Middlebrooks took both a curveball and a fastball for balls and made the hitter’s count, count.  He got a big mistake of a slider and rocketed the ball beyond the Monster on a straight shot out of the park.  The ball looked like it was in a big hurry; he crushed it.  And we were instantly up by two.

That sac fly in the top of the inning raised the deficit to three.  It would be our last stint behind.

Victorino opened the fifth with a single on his third pitch.  Pedroia reached on a force attempt on his fourth pitch.  Papi walked on five pitches to load the bases.  But Napoli needed only two pitches.  He took a curveball for a strike.  Then he got an eighty-nine mile-per-hour four-seam fastball that looked prime for one of his power displays.  And he delivered.  Over the Monster too, no less.

Except that you should probably remember that the bases were loaded at the time.  So, basically, Napoli hit a grand slam.

Let me repeat that.  Mike Napoli, with nobody out in the fifth inning, hit a grand slam on a four-seam fastball over the Green Monster in Fenway Park.  It was the fourth grand slam of his career and, as I always say with his mammoth power swings, it looked like it was a regular, run-of-the-mill swing while it was happening.  It was only after the ball began its far yet fast journey out of the park did you realize what had just happened.  It was awesomeness in one of its purest forms.  Oh, by the way, Napoli leads the American League in RBIs.

And we weren’t even done.  Nava reached on a fielding error, and then Middlebrooks popped right into a force out and scored on a double by Salty.  Then we were done.

The final score was 9-6.  It should have been nine to something much lower than six, preferably nine-zip.  The pitching staff, particularly the relievers, should not have given up all those runs or all those walks to begin with.  We were fortunate that we’d scored nine runs and could take it.  As we’ve seen recently, that’s not always the case.  But for now, at least, we can still celebrate.

AP Photo

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