Pitchers’ duel becomes batters’ brawl; Suzuki blasts 3-run HR

By George Devine, Sr.

August 30, 2013

The Athletics began a long homestand against Tampa Bay with an atmosphere suggestive of a postseason confrontation. Just over 15,000 came to O.co Coliseum – without the Bay Bridge in operation — on a balmy (69 degree) evening to see a pitchers’ duel between LHP David Price and RHP Jarrod Parker….that is, until the fifth inning. Up to that point, the Rays had scored the game’s only run, when in the second Desmond Jennings walked, stole second and came home on Yuniel Escobar’s grounder to center field. But in the fifth, Kurt Suzuki broke it open with a three-run homer. It came after Alberto Callaspo hit one of Price’s pitches in the direction of second baseman Ben Zobrist, who committed his firsr error after 81 games. Chris Young then walked and Suzuki took Price deep.

In the eighth, after Parker had thrown 100 pitches, the first two Rays reached base. Ryan Cook came in to relieve him, and gave up a single. Matt Joyce sacrificed to score a run, then James Loney doubled past Young in center to make it 3-3 In the bottom of the frame, with Joel Peralta in relief, Coco Crisp led off with a base hit and scored on Jed Lowrie’s double to make the score 4-3 in favor of the home team.

Cook got the win (6-3) and Price the loss (8-6). Grant Balfour notched his 34th save.

The win puts Oakland a half-game ahead of the Rays in the race for the first wild card spot, and two games behind Texas in the AL West.

The A’s and Tampa Bay face off again at 6:05 p .m. on Saturday, August 31 with Sonny Gray (1-2, 3.18 ERA) opposing Alex Cobb (8-2, 2.67) on a fireworks night.

On Tuesday, September 3, Oakland Athletics’ Owner Lew Wolff and family members, as well as Hitting Coach Chili Davis, will serve meals at Oakland’s St. Vincent de Paul of Alameda County’s dining room and tour the facility’s community center which also houses administrative staff, some limited medical care, free drop-in help for families, a free clothing closet and both culinary and transitional employee training programs.

Three generations of the Wolff family—Mr. Wolff, daughter Kari Wolff and grandson Arthur Wolff—will join Davis, a former three-time Major League All-Star and three-time World Series champion, in serving lunch to SVDP’s clients from 10:45-11:30 a.m., before taking a tour of the facility. Wolff wants his daughter and grandson to experience the lives of people who are less fortunate and understand the value and obligation of giving back to your community. Also, the Wolff family and Mr. Davis wanted to stress to everyone that St. Vincent de Paul provides meals, clothing and services to more than 4,000 people each year, and that their financial and volunteer help is sorely needed throughout the year—not only during the holiday season.

Wolff last week donated $5,000 for much-needed backpacks for St. Vincent’s children, as they begin the new school year. In addition, the A’s owner is hand-delivering 100 tickets to the Oakland-Minnesota game on Thursday, Sept. 19, with a challenge to the Bay Area community to donate at least $50 to St. Vincent de Paul in exchange for two free tickets.

The Oakland A’s and St. Vincent de Paul of Alameda County have forged a long-time relationship, with the team’s front office employees preparing and serving meals at the facility’s dining the holiday season and donating funding, food and other supplies to the area’s prime community center. In addition, Athletic players, coaches and managers have donated their time in servicing SVDP’s clients during the team’s season and off-season. This marks the 75th anniversary of service provided by St. Vincent de Paul to Alameda County.