By Charlie O. Mallonee
The Oakland Athletics were involved in a wild baseball affair on Sunday in Baltimore. The game featured 12-runs, 16-hits, 15-walks, an overturned grand slam home run, a bench clearing confrontation between the teams and two ejections as the A’s defeated the Orioles 11-1. The win also gave the series victory to Oakland two games to one.
The A’s not only showed off their high-powered offense but they also demonstrated their high-quality pitching. Scott Kazmir worked seven innings of shutout baseball giving up just four-hits while striking out seven hitters and walking just two men. Kazmir threw 96 pitches (62 strikes) en route to his seventh win of the season. Kazmir’s ERA is now a paltry 2.20.
The overriding philosophy of the A’s is to have their hitters “get on base”. They do not care if you get a hit, walk or hit-by-pitch as long as you get on base. On Sunday, the A’s walked more times than they got a hit. Oakland recorded 11 bases-on-balls off Baltimore pitching. Add to that 10-hits and you can see that the A’s had runners on base almost constantly.
The big inning for the A’s came in the top of the third. Derek Norris led off the inning with a walk. Callaspo then walked. Kyle Banks walked to load the bases for John Jaso. Jaso hit a fly ball to deep right-center field that appeared to leave the park and was called a home run by the umpires. The umpires reviewed the play and changed the call to a double. Norris and Callaspo scored but Banks was sent back to third while Jaso returned to second with a two-run double.
With runners at second and third and no outs, Nick Punto walked on four straight pitches from Ubaldo Jimenez. Josh Donaldson hit into a force out at home but the bases remained loaded with one out. Brandon Moss then took the first pitch to him over the center field wall for a grand slam home run with no review required. Moss’ 16th home run of the season gave the A’s a 6-0 lead and sent Jimenez to the showers after just 2.1-innings.
The A’s went on to score a run in the fourth inning, three-runs in the fourth inning and one in the ninth inning for the 11-1 win.
Jaso and Moss finished the game with four-RBI each. Nick Punto posted two-RBI and both came with two outs in the inning. The A’s left only two runners in scoring position with two out.
John Jaso went two for six and a run scored to go with his four-RBI. Punto went two for three with a run and two walks plus his two-RBI. Yoenis Cespedes went two for five on the day. Alberto Callaspo went one for three with two walks and three runs scored.
The Athletics went six for 10 with runners in scoring position.
In a lineup oddity, the A’s used three catchers in the game but only two worked behind the plate. Jaso was the DH, Vogt played right field and Derek Norris was the starting catcher. In the bottom of the sixth-inning, Manny Machado hit Norris with his back-swing and Norris was taken out of the game as a precaution. Vogt came in from right field to take over the catching duties.
In the bottom of the eighth-inning, Machado came to bat with two out. Machado thought a 1-1 pitch from Abad was deliberately thrown at his knees. On the next pitch, Machado swung and let the bat fly down the third base line. There was little doubt that he intended the bat to fly at Abad. Both benches cleared their dugouts and the pitchers emptied the bullpens. There were a few shoves and some yelling but it was a “nothing to see here” situation. The umpires ejected Machado and Abad once calm was restored.
Machado was also the instigator of the benches clearing brawl in the Friday night game. Machado can expect a less than warm welcome from A’s fans when Baltimore comes to Oakland in July.
The A’s are four for six on the road trip and now head to Los Angeles for a three-game series with the Angels.