It was 70s night at the Trop. Now, I grew up in the 70s and early 80s, back when they still had real doubleheaders on at least an occasional basis. My folks even took me to one once. I was maybe twelve? We spent hoooooours at the Vet. It was hot, and the food was bad, the seats were uncomfortable, and I’m pretty sure the Phils lost the nightcap. But it was awesome anyway, because there was sooooooo much baseball, and I was, like, twelve! Tug McGraw even made a rare start.
Of course, my parents probably hated it. And after today, I understand why. Because holy cow. 18 innings is too much baseball for anybody. So to the twelve year old kid loving life at the Trop today? I really hope you enjoyed yourself. Make sure you give whoever sat with you through this monstrosity a big hug. Also, clean your room.
Matt Andriese returned to the mound from a groin injury, and after retiring the first two hitters, proceeded to get nickel and dimed into giving up a run. Singles by Ryon Healy and Khris Davis put runner on first and second for Yonder Alonso. On a 1-2 count, Alonso lifted a pop up just beyond the reach of Tim Beckham into the left-center, scoring Healy. 1-0 Athletics.
The Rays answered quickly though, with some well-struck balls in the first against Sean Manaea. A hard double in the right-center gap by Peter Bourjos was followed by a sharp single from Evan Longoria, and we were all tied up.
Longo drives in Bourjos!— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) June 10, 2017
...Didn't we just see this? pic.twitter.com/R3zQMpw4gQ
Unfortunately, when Andriese came back out to start the second, it was clear something was wrong during his warmups. He was removed from the game after just a few tosses and replaced by Chih-Wei Hu. We would later learn that Andriese had reaggravated the same groin injury.
For his part, Hu actually pitched very well. His fastball touched 95 and sat around 93, and his change was lethal. He gave the club the length needed to be competitive in this game, tossing four solid innings, surrendering just two hits and a walk, while striking out five. He even got the crowd into “They’re not saying booo they’re saying Huuuuu” mode.
Unfortunately, while he was still settling in, he did leave an 0-2 four-seamer to Josh Phegley too far out over the plate. Phegley deposited it over the centerfield wall, just beyond a leaping Mallex Smith to put the A’s up 2-1.
Jose Alvarado came on for the sixth, and got dinged up a bit. Singles to Davis and Alonso and a fly out by Chad Pinder put runners on the corners. Then, with Jaycob Brugman at the plate (seriously, what is up with these A’s names? The 90s were an awful decade for naming children.), Oakland put on the Don Zimmer bunt play. With no play, Alvarado and Logan Morrison smartly pulled up and waited for the bunt to roll foul. It didn’t. 3-1, Oakland.
Alvarado made a nice recovery, however. After giving up a single by Phlegley to load the bases, he struck out Adam Rosales and Rajai Davis to keep it a two-run game.
Evan Longoria had himself a night. First, he went 3 for 5 with a couple doubles in the first game. Then he added the previously mentioned run scoring single in the first. He followed that up in the sixth by taking Manaea waaaay out of here to left for the 250th homer of his career.
Rays down just 3-2.
Unfortunately, that’s where all the feel-good stories ended. Ryne Stanek came on for the seventh. He got hit around, giving up a solo shot to Healy and a two-run shot to Pinder to make it 6-2.
The Rays tried to answer in the bottom of the frame, when new arrival Taylor Featherston led off with a walk and Mallex Smith singled. But Jesus Sucre followed by grounding into a 4-6-3 double play, putting a severe damper on the rally. Steven Souza grounded out to end the inning. That would be the last threat the hometown nine put together.
On the bright side, Stanek came back out for the eighth and struck out the side. So it was nice to see him bounce back.
Danny Farquhar pitched the ninth, giving up a game’s final run on three singles and a sacrifice fly.
Tomorrow’s final game of this four game set is at 1:10 PM. Get some sleep, boys.