Afternoon games from the west coast are so weird, because it’s not really a lunchtime game, but it’s not an evening game either. And for the players, the sun is just really aggressive, or at least that was the case in this afternoon’s game in Oakland between the Rays and A’s, during which there was so much squinting going on it was like watching a table of middle-aged moms try to read a restaurant menu.
For a good chunk of the day’s game it was a no-run tie between two pitchers doing a solid effort and a bunch of batters doing not a heck of a lot.
The game was Frankie Montas vs. Corey Kluber in terms of pitching, and you’ll have to forgive me if the play-by-play feels a bit repetitive, but not a heck of a lot happened for the first six innings of this game in terms of the score.
Inning one was a 1-2-3 affair on both sides.
The Rays went down in order to start the second, and while the A’s got a one-out triple off Brown’s bat in the bottom of the inning, they were unable to take advantage of a man in scoring position.
Zunino got a leadoff walk in the third, then Phillips hit a deeeeep flyout to center, and with two outs Diaz grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the inning. The A’s went down in order in the bottom of the third.
Lowe got a two-out single in the top of the fourth, then Margot singled. A Walls fielder’s choice ended the inning scoreless. In the bottom of the inning Lowrie got a one-out single, followed by a Murphy walk. The next two batters were out, however, ending the inning scoreless.
Paredes managed a one-out single in the fifth, but the Rays could not bring him home. The A’s, meanwhile, went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning.
In the sixth Arozarena got a one-out double, then after a Lowe flyout he was able to successfully steal third. Alas, the Rays missed out on another baserunner opportunity. Kemp got a leadoff single for the A’s, but nothing else worked for them. That would mark the end of the day for Kluber, whose final line for the day was 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K on 64 pitches. A really nice, efficient outing for Kluber.
The Rays went 1-2-3 in the top of the seventh. JP Feyereisen was the man on the mound for the bottom of the inning and gave up a single to Pinder but nothing else.
Things started to heat up a little in the top of the eighth with a Phillips leadoff walk. Phillips was then able to steal a second on a wild pitch from reliever Jackson. Phillips advanced to third on a Yandy Diaz groundout. Arozarena walked, then Lowe was grazed by a pitch and advanced to first. Oakland challenged the hit, but the call stood and Lowe remained on first with the bases loaded. Margot got a base hit to right and both Phillips and Arozarena scored, and Lowe moved to third. That was it for Jackson. Then to make things weird, first baseman ump Angel Hernandez called a balk to balk in a run for the Rays. The Rays ended the top of the inning up 3-0.
In the bottom of the inning Poche replaced Feyereisen after two outs. He quickly collected a strikeout to end the inning.
Acevedo was the next pitcher up, and my fingers REALLY wanted to type that as Avocado, and I’m very sorry. Walls got a one-out double after Zunino lined out to third. Diaz was then hit by a pitch to the knee and appeared to be in a lot of pain as he lay on the ground for quite some time after. He limped down to fjrst base and stayed in the game. Gonna assume he’s not going to take a massive lead. With two outs Franco had quite the plate battle but ultimately no runs scored.
It was down to the bottom of the ninth for the A’s, facing Andrew Kittredge for their last chance at a run. The A’s went 1-2-3 to complete the shutout and a series sweep.
Ending: Rays 3, A’s 0