Oh, it should have been a beautiful start to the baseball season. I woke up just as the Athletics were giving back an early 2-0 lead over the Red Sox in Tokyo.
No matter, as the A’s came right back in the bottom of the 6th, with Bobby Crosby bouncing a single up the middle. Jack Hannahan, filling in for injured Eric Chavez, followed with a two-run home run into the right field seats, putting the A’s on top 4-3.
Keith Foulke, back with the A’s after a stint with Boston and then a season on the shelf with injuries, pitched a very nice 8th inning, setting down Kevin Youkilis, David Ortiz, and Manny Ramirez. This should have set Huston Street up for a manageable with the bottom of the Sox order coming up in the ninth. I figured I could shower and get on the train by 8:15.
Unfortunately, Brandon Moss, who wasn’t even supposed to be playing today, dashed those plans with a homer of his own, tying the game at 4-4. Street continued his melt down in the 10th, giving up two more runs, which should have been more than enough for the Red Sox to close out the A’s and their paltry offense.
But nay! In the bottom of the 10th, Daric Barton, after falling behind Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon 1-2, worked a walk. Jack Cust struck out, but then Emil Brown sent a line drive to the wall in right center. While Barton raced around from first and headed toward the plate, Brown was rounding first and coming into second. If the throw from the outfield went through to the plate, Brown could have considered trying for third. But he had to be sure that the throw was going to the plate. Instead, Brown assumed that the throw was to home and barely slowed rounding second. Kevin Youkilis cut the throw, and Brown was stranded between second and third, eventually tagged out in a run down.
“I want to throw up,” was Mel’s reaction. I was livid. Instead of having a runner on second, representing the tying run, with one out, the A’s had nobody on base with two down. It would have been a poor play by a little leaguer or chemistry softballer, but for a major leaguer to run into an out like that is unacceptable. Oakland preaches a philosophy throughout the organization of not giving up outs. I can only imagine the tantrum that Billy Beane had seeing that play. Of course, Bobby Crosby and Jack Hannahan followed this horrible baserunning by knocking a pair of singles, at least suggesting that the A’s could have tied the game if Brown would have held at second base. Kurt Suzuki grounded out to first, ending the new threat and the game.
I shouldn’t put too much emphasis on any single play, but after watching his baserunning and looking over his stats, I have a feeling Emil Brown is the new Terrence Long.
Be sure to check this site tomorrow for a post which either rejoices in the return of Rich Harden to the A’s starting rotation or laments his latest injury.