The phrase “Cliff Pennington grand slam” would have brought joy to Oakland Athletics fans in 2011.
It is not 2011.
It is 2017, and Pennington’s first grand slam capped off a comeback from an 8-3 deficit to give the Los Angeles Angels a 10-8 win and their second sweep of the A’s on the season. The A’s won just two of nine games at Angel Stadium in 2017 and have dropped 11 of their last 13 in Orange County.
The comeback tarnished a night where the A’s young bats broke out for eight runs in the fourth inning. Matt Olson’s second homer in two nights, his 11th on the year, put the A’s up 5-3 and Bruce Maxwell’s two-run homer stretched the lead to 7-3 as the A’s chased Parker Bridwell, who entered the night with an ERA of 2.89.
Ryon Healy had three hits on the night, showcasing a newfound ability to hit outside pitches rather than chase them and come up empty.
Albert Pujols, who entered the game as the worst player in all of baseball in 2017 according to Fangraphs at two wins below replacement, homered twice, tying Jim Thome at seventh on the all-time list.
Mike Trout homered, tripled, singled twice and scored four runs.
Yet it was Pennington who dealt the fatal blow, the utility infielder playing because Andrelton Simmons had the night off.
His slam came off Chris Hatcher, the eighth homer Hatcher has allowed in 2017 in just 43 2/3 innings.
Oakland starter Kendall Graveman allowed five runs in five innings on the three homers by Trout and Pujols.
Ryan Dull recorded four outs but ran out of gas at 33 pitches, and Daniel Coulombe allowed a single to Kole Calhoun to cut the lead to 8-6, setting the stage for Pennington.
Blake Parker closed the game with a four-out save.Albert Pujolsbruce maxwellchris hatcherCliff PenningtonKendall GravemanLos Angeles AngelsMajor League Baseballmatt olsonMike TroutMLBOakland Athleticsparker bridwell