OAKLAND — Oakland Athletics starter Chris Smith hasn’t gotten a win since June 24, 2008 when he was a member of the Boston Red Sox.
He was one out away from getting his second on Tuesday in front of 22 friends and family who traveled from as far as Salt Lake City and Des Moines, Iowa.
Smith was so ready to get the win, he started warning his teammates that they shouldn’t haze the 36 year old righty.
“I was saying, hey guys, I already got one of those,” he said with a smile on his face in the A’s clubhouse. “It was a long time ago, like back in the first Bush administration.”
But, thanks to Santiago Casilla blowing up in the ninth, the Athletics never had to make a decision whether to mess with Smith or not as they lost 4-3 to the Tampa Bay Rays.
Nursing a one-run lead, the Oakland closer quickly logged the first two outs. Then he went single-wild pitch-walk-single-single and the advantage was suddenly a deficit.
The result set off a chorus of “That’s baseball” responses from the A’s.
Khris Davis homered for the third time in four games in the first inning, giving Smith an early 2-0 lead.
It’s been an unusual month for the slugger, who has six home runs since July 1, but is hitting just 10-for-47 through 14 games. His 45 walks so far this season are a career best.
The A’s gave the advantage back over the next two innings. In the second, Oakland’s defense struggled turning ground balls into outs, allowing Brad Miller to lift a sacrifice fly to put the Rays on the board.
But, Tampa Bay starter Blake Snell struggled with his control — which shouldn’t be a surprise. The 24-year old entered the contest with the second-worst walk rate (BB/9) of any pitcher in Major League Baseball to throw at least 50 innings.
It cost him in the bottom of the fourth, when Snell walked Davis and Jed Lowrie in back-to-back at bats to lead off the frame. Davis scored when Snell threw a wild pitch past his catcher that reached the backstop.
Casilla and Smith were the beneficiaries of a couple otherworldly plays by Matt Chapman in the field. In the ninth, the rookie third baseman robbed Evan Longoria of a hit, allowing the home team some hope before Casilla failed to get the final out.
“It’s tough, as the game went along, certainly Chris Smith was terrific,” manager Bob Melvin said of his starter who threw seven innings while allowing just two runs. “… Just didn’t finish it off. Yeah, it’s disappointing, but you have to move on.”
Alonso is still on the A’s
A’s fans on the internet freaked out when they saw Yonder Alonso wasn’t in the lineup Tuesday.
But the concern was, at least, premature. The All-Star first baseman had a scheduled day off with the lefty Snell as the scheduled starter.
Alonso entered the game in the top of the eighth as a defensive switch for first baseman Ryon Healy.
Before the game, Alonso was named Oakland’s representative for the Heart and Hustle Award. The honor is bestowed upon “active players who demonstrate a passion for the game of baseball and best embody the values, spirit and traditions of the game” by the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association.
Treinen looks good in white shoes
Blake Treinen made his second outing as a member of the A’s on Tuesday after being traded from the Washington Nationals earlier this week.
The prize of the deal that sent Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson to the nation’s capital pitched a perfect seventh inning with one strikeout.