With all of the uncommon occurrences that happened during Tuesday night’s game, it was a shock not to see Sean Doolittle’s unicorn backpack perched in a lucky corner of the A’s bullpen with a crystal ball in its hooves.
The defense, which had been Bad News Bears-esque to start the season set the tone early and often with highlight worthy plays.
Drew Pomeranz, who hadn’t lasted more than 5.1 innings since April 10 due to control issues tossed seven while walking zero.
The bullpen, which has been the worst in the league with a 2-10 record and 5.09 ERA coming into the evening threw two-perfect innings to close the game out.
All of these rarities combined to snap the A’s season long six-game losing streak in an eventual 9-2 win over the Red Sox.
“I had seven marks on my card for good defensive plays today… I like that,” said Bob Melvin. “It’s usually a good recipe when your starter goes seven [innings] and you play good defense behind him.”
Starter Pomeranz was a little bit more animated when reacting to the defense behind him.
“The wind was swirling, the guys were diving all over the place and catching everything,” said the southpaw. “It was pretty unbelievable. I think we pretty much have the top-10 [plays] covered as far as SportsCenter is concerned.”
A few of the season long commonalities on the night, was the familiar offensive efficiency off the bats of Stephen Vogt and Josh Reddick.
Vogt knocked his career-high tying (’14) ninth home run of the year off of the right field TV camera just over the fence for his AL-leading 29th and 30th RBI of the season.
Not to be outdone, Reddick notched a four-hit, three-RBI game including a home run of his own that increased his season batting average to a team best .346.
“They’re two of the premiere run producers in the league,” said Melvin of his sluggers. “Especially with the output from Stephen behind the plate… we’re lucky to have them.”
Among the great defensive plays made in the cold and windy conditions were sliding catches from Vogt and Sogard, a diving catch from Sam Fuld, and line drives raced down by Reddick. However ,the most impressive plays of the night belonged to Coco Crisp in left field.
In the first inning after a dribbling base hit through the gap, Dustin Pedroia decided to test the recently reconstructed elbow of the left fielder and attempt to stretch for second. Crisp responded with an on-line seed, that even while it bounced a few times, reached the bag in time to tag Pedroia out.
“It surprised me,” said Pomeranz on the play. “I didn’t think [Pedroia] was going to go for it. Coco said he usually has one of those in him a year.”
The next inning Crisp took a twirling route to a liner towards the wall in left, and spun around and jumped as the ball found the webbing of his glove to take away extra bases from Boston.
As much as Crisp’s defense has helped the A’s, his offense continues to struggle. After going 0-4 with a walk in the game, the lead-off man’s hitless streak has reached 38 at bats dating back to last September, which is tied for the second longest in Oakland history.
Crisp will look for his first hit of the year, and the Athletics will look to tie their longest winning streak of the season (two games) tomorrow afternoon in a matinee rubber game against Boston.
A’s ace Sonny Gray (4-0, 1.65) will take the hill opposed by Wade Miley (1-4, 6.91) with first pitch scheduled for 12:35 PST.