Pat Murphy managed his first major league ballgame today, and for a while, everything was going swimmingly. Andrew Cashner was hitless through four innings and staked to a two run lead... and then everything came crashing down. Cashner collapsed, and even when the team rallied to get him off the hook in the eighth, Craig Kimbrel couldn't keep things tied in the ninth.
There were early signs that the baseball gods favored the A's today. In the first inning, center fielder Billy Burns made a leaping catch at the wall to rob Justin Upton of what looked to be an RBI double, if not an outright home run. Yonder Alonso, certain that Upton had a hit, found himself doubled up on the play to end the inning. The hot defense came again in the second, when shortstop (and former Padres farmhand) Eric Sogard leapt to snatch a Matt Kemp line drive out of the air. After two false starts, Austin Hedges was the one to finally get the scoring going in the third, with his first major league home run, a solo shot lined into the left field stands. In the next inning, a trio of singles from Justin Upton, Will Middlebrooks, and Clint Barmes would plate another.
Then the tides turned. With one out in the fifth, Max Muncy notched the Athletics' first hit of the day, a double to right field. Cashner recorded the second out on a fly to right, but then things got ugly. He walked Sam Fuld, bringing up Oakland starter Scott Kazmir. Kazmir smoked a grounder down the third base line for his third career hit and second career RBI. That wouldn't have been too bad, but that brought up Burns, who wasn't content with simply robbing Upton of an RBI or two. He had to get some for himself, hitting a two-run triple to right to put the A's on top for the first time this afternoon.
The Padres got one back in the bottom half of the fifth, thanks mostly to Kazmir. Melvin Upton, Jr. led off the inning with a slow dribbler back to the pitcher, but Kazmir blew the throw to first. The elder Upton then stole second and moved to third on a ground out. When he followed that up by trying to steal home, Kazmir balked and Upton got the run gratis.
That tie didn't last. In the very next inning, Cashner gave up a leadoff single to Josh Reddick, and then Ben Zobrist hit a soaring homer into the right field porch. When Cashner walked Billy Butler, Murphy decided he'd seen enough. Dale Thayer took over and held the A's at 5 through the seventh. Brandon Maurer followed him up with a scoreless eighth. With six outs left, the Padres sent the top of their order to the plate. Upton, Jr. led off with a single off Drew Pomeranz to reach base for the third time today, and then he went all the way to third on Alonso's second hit, a single to right. The A's sent former Friar Evan Scribner to the mound to get out of the jam, and he almost kind of did. Justin Upton broke his bat on a grounder to third that turned into a double play, but it still sent the other Upton home. Scribner had trouble with the third out, though, as Kemp crushed his third home run of the season into left field.
That was all for naught. Craig Kimbrel took the mound in the ninth and walked Fuld to start the inning. Pinch hitter Stephen Vogt struck out, but Kimbrel followed up with another walk. Then Sogard hit a seeing eye single up the middle to plate the go-ahead run. A's closer Tyler Clippard struck out the side, and that was all she wrote.
The teams head up to Oakland for the next two games, with Odrisamer Despaigne getting the start tomorrow at 7:05 PM.
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