Oakland A’s pinch hitter Stephen Vogt is congratulated by third base coach Darren Bush after hitting a two run home run in the bottom of the 10th inning at the Oakland Coliseum on Sat Aug 27, 2022 (AP News photo)
New York (78-49). 2. 1. 2
Oakland (47-81). 3. 6. 2. 11 innings
Saturday, August 27, 2022
By Lewis Rubman
OAKLAND-Often while watching a game between two mismatched baseball teams, I think of an afternoon in 1952 when the New York Yankees, who won every World Series from 1949-1953, played a double header against the lowly St. Louis Browns, who after the following season would become the Baltimore Orioles.
Like many arrogant 11 year old New Yorkers, we figured the Yanks would walk all over the second team of the gateway city. But the Brownies pulled off a win in the second game against the Bronx Bombers, bolstered by three innings of shutout relief by a member of their bullpen staff.
That bit of trivia came back to me again last night when Jared Koenig’s three inning stint of scoreless pitching held the Yankees in check long enough to give Oakland a chance to defeat their powerful rival, even though the home team finally succumbed, 3-2.
Of course, today’s Yankees aren’t the 1949-53 Yankees, and Jared Koenig isn’t Satchel Paige, for he was the 46 year old wizard who stumped the champs that Sunday seventy years ago.
The more of my mental meanderings is that you should never take the outcome of any baseball game for granted.
Saturday night game recap: This evening’s tilt between the grey clad pinstripers and the green and gold featured some pretty exciting fielding, but it was the pitching that, at least during the first nine innings, stole the show. That, however,was upstaged by the home halves of the 10th and 11th frames of the A’s dramatic come from behind 3-2 victory.
The pitchers at game time seemed as mismatched as the teams, with New York’s Domingo Germán’s acceptable 2-2, 3.89 overshadowing Adam Oller’s inadequate 2-6, 6.41). Germán ended up going 7-2/3 excellent innings, in which he allowed no runs and onythree hits, one of them to the infield. He didn’t walk anyone, but did hit one batter.
He struck out five and threw 79 pitches, 66 for strikes. For this, he got a no decision and lowered his ERA to 3.19. Oller did an even better job, although he, too, left without a decision.
The Athletics’ starter threw eight frames of one hit ball, blanking the Yanks while striking out three and granting only one base on balls. 65 of his 88 deliveries were counted as strikes. His ERA was reduced to 5.66.
Before the game, the A’s announced that they had put right handed reliever Dany Jiménez on the 60 day IL with a strain in his pitching shoulder. They replaced him with Austin Pruitt, who had been DFA’d last Monday, the day after he earned his first major league save.
The opening innings featured a few surprises. Aaron Judge got picked off after walking in the first. Less surprising but certainly not routine events followed.
Chad Pender robbed Oswaldo Cabrera of an extra base hit in the third with a leaping, crashing against the wall catch against the right field wall, just to the left of the foul pole, a catch he made after a long run. Jonah Bride made a spectacular backhand grab and throw to prevent what looked like a sure up the middle single by the next batter, Isiah Kiner-Falefa.
Bride led off the bottom inning by getting hit by a pitch. No surprise there. What was surprising was Bride letting a bounding ball by Andrew Benintendi, leading off the fourth, go through his legs in shallow right for an error.
The first hit of the game for either team didn’t come until Oswaldo Cabrera smacked Oller’s 65th offering for a double off the Kaiser Permanente sign in right center to open the top of the sixth. And he got caught stealing, pitcher to third. The Curse of the Leadoff Double strikes again!
Judge foiled Cal Johnson’s bid for a lead two bagger in the bottom half of the frame with a running, jumping catch in left center, which would have been outstanding had it not paled in comparison with Pinder’s third inning heroics.
Nick Allen followed with a high bounder to the mound. Germán made a nifty play to catch it, but Allen reached base safely with Oakland´s first hit. Germán’s throw to first went wild, allowing Allen to advance to second on the error.
The A’s threatened again in the eighth. Stevenson smacked a one out leg double to second. Allen advanced him to third with a grounder to second that looked for a moment as if it would go through to center for a tie breaking single. That ended Germán’s labors for the night. Jonathan Loasiga relieved him and got Tony Kent bounce into an inning ending ground out to second.
One Domingo left, and another, Domingo Acevedo, entered the game. Oakland’s Dominican Domingo relieved Oller to face the bottom of the Yankee order in the ninth. He set them down one, two, three on pitches.
Loasiga retired Langeliers for the first out of the home ninth. Then Murphy punched an opposite field single through the hole into right, and Losiga was pulledd in favor of Ron Marinaccio. Brown took three balls and then struck out. That brought up Pinder, who, in addition to his contribution with the glove, was one for three against the hit-stingy Domingo.
The game into the 10 the AJ Puk on the mound for Oakland and the Yanks’ catcher Higashioka placed on second. Benintendi an ill-advised attempt to bunt him over to third, and he was thrown out, Puk to Machín. It was power against power with Judge at the plate. Puk struck him out, but Benintendi stole second.
The A’s granted an intentional. walk to Donaldson. Puk then hit Rizzo on the shoulder with a pitch to load the bases. Murphy made two great saves to prevent wild pitches with LeMahieu at bat. Finally one got by him.
Benintendi scored. Donaldson scored.Murphy’s back hand flip went past Puk, who was slow to cover home. Rizzo went to third. LeMahieu flew out toright, but the Yankees had a seemingly insurmountable 2-0 lead.
Oakland, however, wasn’t done yet. With one out, Stephen Vogt, hitting for Bride, sent a change up 396 feet deep over the right field fence, driving Pinder, the zombie runner, in before him to tie the score. Marinacccio struck out Allen, but the third strike sailed wild and Allen reached first, moving up to second on Kemp’s single to right.
Marinaccio was through. In came Lou Trivino, the not too long ago Athletic reliever who once had been their closer. He got Langeliers to go down swinging in vain at an 82 mph slider.
We went into the 11th with Joel Payamps on the mound and Torres the ghost runner on second. He stayed there as Payamps retired Cabrera, Kiner-Falefa, and Higashioka, the last on a fine play by Allen, going into the hole at deep short and firing a bullet to first.
Trivino walked Murphy, who joined Langliers on the basepaths. Brown flew out to center, and both runners held. Pinder grounded to Kiner-Falefa at short, tailor made for a double play. His toss to LeMahieu forced Murphy at second, but LeMahileu threw wildly past second, allowing Murphy to dash home with the winning tally.
As the Cubans say, all we know about baseball is that it’s round and comes in a square box.
Payamps (3-3) got the win; Trivino P(2-8), the loss.
Sunday the A’s will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the 20 game winning streak, followed at 1:07 with a chance for Oakland to even the series. Stranger thinks have happened; they did today. Clarke Smith(5-2, 2.18) will go for the Yankees; Zach Logue (3-8, 6.04) for the Athletics.