David Price, was quite literally, always in trouble today. In all five innings that he started, the leadoff man reached. He was able to work mostly out of the trouble each inning. One run he allowed in the fourth was on a Ryan Sweeney single after a David DeJesus leadoff double. Hideki Matsui hit a two run homer after Jemile Weeks led off the fifth with a triple. A fourth run scored against the mark of Price after he left when J.P. Howell uncorked a wild pitch.
To break down his start a little bit further, the A’s went 5 for 6 with a walk with the bases empty. With runners on Oakland went 2 for 14 with two walks and a sacrifice. I recently profiled Ubaldo Jimenez‘s no-hitter from early last year (shameless plug). He was very wild early in the game and could not settle in until his pitching coach Bob Apodaca suggested that Jimenez start pitching from the stretch (the motion pitchers usually use with runners on base). He started the sixth inning in the stretch and stayed in the stretch for the rest of the game and he retired the last twelve hitters in a row. Perhaps, Price should have tried the same thing today because clearly something wasn’t right when he was pitching out of the windup.
The Rays hitters scored once in the third (with the help of a beautiful bunt by Desmond Jennings) and twice in the fourth. Casey Kotchman produced one of the runs with a line drive homer off the foul pole in right. Jennings drove in another run with a single later in the inning.
They trailed 4-3, but managed to get Oakland starter Trevor Cahill out of the game after six innings. Former Ray Grant Balfour was brought into the game specifically to face Evan Longoria. Longoria responded with a game-tying homer to left. Ben Zobrist then hit a ball down the right field line that first base umpire Tim Welke originally ruled fair. A’s manager Bob Melvin argued and the call was reversed. This type of play has happened to the Rays a few times this year and every time Maddon has gotten tossed. He kept his cool this time as it looked like the right call was made.
The game moved into the tenth where the A’s took the lead when Josh Willingham hit a homer off of Jake McGee. Unlike last Thursday the Rays couldn’t erase extra inning deficits. They put two men on for Matt Joyce who lashed a line drive up the middle that was snared to end the game.