I attended the Oakland A’s game last night. To be more precise, I attended most of the first half of the game. Thinking about my 5:30 a.m. wake-up time and the facts reflected on the scoreboard—the visiting and much unloved Anaheim team was winning 7-2— I left as the home crowd sang “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”
I took heart as I rode BART home to Berkeley, seeing via smartphone that the A’s narrowed the gap in their half of the seventh, then mounted a rally in the eighth to make it 7-6. As unsuperstitious as most baseball fans, I decided my leaving early—which is only a little worse than a mortal sin to true fans of the game—was no doubt an important factor in the A’s comeback.
Back home, I watched the A’s tie the game in the bottom of the ninth. I retired after the 10th with the issue still in doubt. Sometime later, my wife came to bed and said the game was in the 13th inning. I think I then sank into dreams of a game that went all night.
I checked the score when I got up at 5:30. A’s win! Nineteen innings! 10-8. Wow! And the best part was the A’s had lost the lead in the top of the 15th, then retied the score in the bottom half. Also of note: Brett Anderson, a starting pitcher held out of the game because of a gimpy ankle, had come in and pitched five good innings in the wee hours of the morning (well, “good” except for the fact he walked in the lead run in that 15th inning).
The game was the longest in clock time in A’s franchise history: six hours and 32 minutes, ending at 1:41 a.m. It was also the most innings the A’s have played since a 19-inning game against the Chicago White Sox in 1972. The longest games, inning-wise, in franchise history according to the online Baseball Alamanac: 24 innings. The Philadelphia Athletics did that twice: beating the Boston Red Sox 4-1 on Sept. 1, 1906, and against the Detroit Tigers on July 21, 1945 (that game ended in a 1-1 tie). The longest games in Oakland A’s history: a 21-inning 5-3 victory on the road against the Washington Senators on June 4, 1971. The longest game at the Coliseum was just five weeks later—July 9, 1971—with the A’s beating the Angels 1-0 in 20 innings.
While you absorb all that history, pause a moment for a hat tip to my KQED colleague and afternoon news producer Nina Thorsen. She stayed for all 19 innings. But that’s her story to tell.
Here’s the AP’s account of last night’s Athletics’ marathon:
by Rick Eymer, Associated Press
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Brandon Moss and the Oakland Athletics played six-and-a-half hours of baseball before walking off with one tiring win.
Moss hit his second home run of the night with two outs in the bottom of the 19th inning to give Oakland a 10-8 victory over the Los Angeles Angels early Tuesday in the longest major league game of the season.
“It was a crazy game and I’m glad it’s over,” Moss said. “That was exhausting, it really was.”
The teams were on the field for 6 hours, 32 minutes in a marathon game that ended at 1:41 a.m. on the West Coast. By time, it was the longest game ever played in Oakland — and the longest in Angels history.
Oakland slugger Yoenis Cespedes singled off the left-center wall against closer Ernesto Frieri to drive in the tying run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.
Los Angeles went ahead 8-7 in the 15th on Brett Anderson’s bases-loaded walk to J.B. Shuck, but the A’s tied it in the bottom half on Adam Rosales’ two-out single off Jerome Williams after a costly error by Angels first baseman Albert Pujols.
Pujols homered twice earlier in the game and finished with four hits and three RBIs. Mark Trumbo also went deep for the Angels and added a two-run double.
As the game dragged on deep into the night, fans who remained in the scattered crowd of 11,668 chanted the names of Oakland’s radio announcers, Ray Fosse and Ken Korach. One player in the Angels dugout wore a rally cap folded in half, with the bill sticking straight up like a mohawk.
But it was the A’s who finally pulled it out on Moss’ two-run shot.
“It’s one of those things where you just want to quit, but at the same time you don’t want to lose so you’re not going to quit,” Moss said. “You just keep fighting through and keep hoping they throw a ball into your bat. I don’t even know how I hit it. I was so late on everything after the 10th inning on. If it was thigh-high or up I couldn’t catch it, so I was just trying to get anything down in the zone. Both teams tonight battled so hard.”
Seth Smith drew a leadoff walk from Barry Enright (0-1) in the 19th and, two outs later, Moss drove an 0-1 pitch to right for his fourth homer of the year.
Josh Hamilton jumped at the fence, but the ball sailed well beyond his reach.
“You’re always going to have your share of frustrating games over the course of a season. This one was extremely frustrating,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “Everybody gave it everything they had. It’s frustrating when you don’t put the outs together to hold the lead.”
Enright, normally a starter, was called up from the minors Thursday and was making his first big league appearance of the season.
“It was a changeup,” he said. “He swung through the first one and I wanted to make it more down, but it hooked over the middle. I was trying to extend the game and I made a bad pitch.”
Jerry Blevins (2-0) worked 1 2-3 scoreless innings for the victory.
It was the longest game in the majors since the Pittsburgh Pirates won 6-3 in 19 innings at St. Louis on Aug. 19 last year, according to STATS. But it wasn’t the only baseball marathon of the night.
The Miami Marlins beat the New York Mets 4-3 in 15 innings in a game that took 5 hours, 31 minutes, and ended about 12:45 a.m. on the East Coast.
Turned out, that was a breeze compared to what the Angels and A’s had in store.
And all that baseball took a toll on both teams.
Angels center fielder Peter Bourjos was removed with a strained left hamstring and is headed to the disabled list. Third baseman Luis Jimenez came out with a bruised left shin.
Oakland lost center fielder Coco Crisp to a strained left hamstring and outfielder Chris Young to a strained left quadriceps.
Brett Anderson was originally scheduled to start for the A’s but was scratched with a sore right ankle in favor of Dan Straily. Anderson entered to start the 13th and pitched 5 1/3 innings before hobbling off the field with an apparent foot injury.
Blevins, the last reliever in the Oakland bullpen, was given as much time as he needed to warm up. He retired Mike Trout and Pujols to end the top of the 18th inning.
“Good game to win, bad game to lose,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. “I mean, we exhausted everything we had obviously. Blevins probably has one more inning, then you might be looking at Seth Smith on the mound.”
Moss hit a solo homer in the sixth and the A’s scored four times in the eighth, two on Josh Donaldson’s single, to close the gap to 7-6.
Angels reliever Jerome Williams did not allow an earned in six innings. He gave up four hits, walked two and struck out two.
Tommy Hanson pitched six strong innings for Los Angeles, allowing two runs and five hits. He walked one and struck out a season-high six in his first start since being activated from the bereavement list.
Called up to fill in for Anderson, Straily lasted 4 2-3 innings. He gave up six runs on seven hits, walked one and struck out six.
Pujols homered for the first time in three weeks, when he also hit two at Texas on April 7, a span of 74 at-bats. He had three hits in his previous 31 at-bats.
Hanson pitched for the first time in 10 days. He extended his scoreless innings streak to 11 before allowing a run in the fourth.
Pujols homered with two outs in the first and Trumbo led off the second with his fourth of the season. He hit it with such force — the drive was estimated at 475 feet — that every A’s player remained stationary, not even bothering with a cursory glance.
John Jaso’s RBI single brought the A’s to 2-1, but the Angels rallied for four runs in the fifth, with Pujols and Hamilton driving in runs and Trumbo knocking in two with a double. Pujols homered again in the seventh.
Bourjos went 0 for 4, was hit by a pitch and added a sacrifice bunt, ending his 10-game hitting streak. He was injured running out the bunt in the 10th.
“It (stinks) to play this long into the night and come out on the wrong end,” Bourjos said.
NOTES: Angels INF Erick Aybar (bruised left heel) had two hits, a double and a home run, in his first rehab appearance with Triple-A Salt Lake. … RHP Mark Lowe (neck strain) and INF Alberto Callaspo (tight right calf) will start a rehab assignment with Inland Empire on Tuesday. … RHP Garrett Richards (1-1, 3.65 ERA) starts Tuesday night for the Angels against RHP Jarrod Parker (0-4, 8.10), whose four losses match an Oakland record for April. … Donaldson was chosen AL player of the week. … Pujols had his 46th career multihomer game. … RHP Jesse Chavez was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento to make room for Straily. … Joe Rudi, in 1972, was the last A’s player to end a game with a home run in the 19th inning. … There were 138 at-bats and 589 pitches thrown.