I spent the bulk of my weekend at the O.co Coliseum in Oakland to see the Twins come to town instead of back in Minnesota for the annual family gathering at the cabin… because I have my priorities straight. While I would have liked to have seen my extended family, particularly my cousins’ kids who I don’t see often enough, apparently they were able to see me on Saturday night, as I made it on the broadcast while Jack Morris rambled on about being in the Minnesota Lottery Winner’s Circle. The friends I had gone to the game with had all left me to babysit the bobblehead dolls¹ and it was between innings and thus, I was looking down at either my scorebook or my phone the entire time. Apparently this caused my grandmother to yell at me from all the way back in Minnesota, but unsurprisingly, I did not hear her and did not look up at her.
Getting on TV might be the personal non-actual-baseball-game-related highlight for the weekend, except that, also on Saturday, Trevor Plouffe tossed me a baseball during batting practice. In fact, he tossed me two as the first one was intercepted by a kid in A’s gear that dove in front of me. For the second time, wearing the away team’s jersey got me special recognition as the second baseball he tossed me, he announced was for me specifically. My friend Jen Perez, who was standing behind me at the time, actually got a picture of him flipping me the baseball with her DSLR, as opposed to the picture I took of the baseball itself from my camera phone.
As I didn’t bother bringing my good camera to the park for any of the four games I went to², all of the pictures in the gallery below were taken by Jen.
As for the baseball itself… it was the team with the best record in baseball against the Twins. I think the Twins were lucky to take one (on Sunday). Here’s the bulleted recap of the four games:
- Thursday: Athletics 3, Twins 0 — The John Lester-Yoenis Cespedes trade seems to be working out for Oakland as he took a perfect game into the 6th inning before surrendering a single to former A Kurt Suzuki. At one point, with two runners on, Brian Dozier hit a ball over the wall that looked like it might be fair, to the point that he started doing the homerun trot, but alas, it had just hooked foul and the Twins didn’t score. Lester wound up pitching a complete 9-inning shutout. Yohan Pino also pitched well for the Twins, not giving up a hit until the third inning. But that hit was a homerun by Stephen Vogt, which was preceded by a walk to Alberto Callaspo. The A’s didn’t need anymore offense to win the game and more less just rode to victory on Lester’s coat tails.
- Friday: Athletics 6, Twins 5 — I had this sinking feeling that the Twins were in danger of getting no-hit for the second night in a row as Scott Kazmir took a perfect game into the 5th. Meanwhile, the A’s offense lit up in the 5th and 6th, giving them a 6-0 lead and it looked like it was going to be a runaway. But the Twins bounced back with a 5 run 7th that was actually exciting to watch. It seemed like, maybe, just maybe, they’d come back — and hey, at least they made it interesting. In the 9th, with Kennys Vargas on first and two outs, Josh Willingham, another former A, launched what looked like might just be a go-ahead two run homer… that hooked just foul down the left field line. It was deja vu with Dozier’s foul ball the night before. Willingham struck out to end the game on the next pitch.
- Saturday: Athletics 9, Twins 4 — The score of this game is closer than the game really was. Trevor May, one of the Twins top pitching prospects, was making his major league debut as the starter for Minnesota and, uh, he did not do so well. 2 innings, 4 runs, 7 walks. He threw more balls than strikes and two of those walks were bases loaded walks to Derek Norris. Were it not for a 7-2 double play (Willingham gunning down Josh Reddick at home after tagging up), the damage would have been a lot worse in the first inning. He was pulled early for Samuel Deduno, who was mostly there to eat innings. And he ate them, but not prettily, giving up 5 more runs in 3+ innings of work. The Twins managed to score a few runs here and there, but after the early blow up by May, it seemed mostly futile. But hey, I got a baseball from Trevor Plouffe and was on TV, so it wasn’t all bad.
- Sunday: Twins 6, Athletics 1 — The Twins finally won one! With Phil Hughes starting, I figured that Sunday’s game was the game the Twins were most likely to win… and I was right. Dozier started the Twins off with a solo homerun in the first, which the A’s responded quickly with a run of their own in the bottom of the inning to tie it up. It remained at 1-1 for quite awhile, with Phil Hughes settling down and pitching a gem of a game. Casey Fien started warming up after the 7th and it looked like Hughes might not get a decision out of his work, but then the former A’s on the Twins, Suzuki and Willingham, knocked in three runs in the top of the 8th, including a two run homerun by Willingham, which would turn out to be his last hit as a Twin, given that he was traded to the Royals today. This set Hughes up for the win. After Fien through a scoreless inning, Glen Perkins started warming up and I thought I might see a classic Perkins save, but the Twins offense and the A’s bullpen had other plans. In the top of the 9th, the Twins scored another two runs, on a weird little infield hit from Kurt Suzuki with the bases loaded followed a bases loaded walk to Kennys Vargas. I thought only the Twins were allowed to walk in runs! With now a 5 run lead, it was no longer a save situation for Perk, but he came in to pitch anyway and mowed the A’s down 1-2-3 to finally, finally get the Twins a win against Oakland, something they hadn’t done in the previous 12 games the two teams had played.
¹ – It was Tony LaRussa bobblehead night on Saturday. As I remarked on twitter, the bobbleheads looked more like Kent Hrbek than LaRussa.
² – I still have hundreds of photos to go through from my recent trip to Denver with my parents to see the Twins take on the Rockies, which, uh, I should blog about. Also my trip to New York to see the Twins against the Yankees with Anand. I think I missed a random Giants game in this long stretch of a non-blogging summer too.