One great playoff game: And the bad Manny
It’s October 10, 1973. And frankly the Birds of Baltimore had their backs to the wall. Powerful Oakland (with Reggie Jackson) were up two games to one in a best of five AL championship series. And the clinching game for Oakland saw the A’s chase O’s ace Jim Palmer with a three-run third inning. Roy Fosse’s two-run double was the key blow. Vida Blue was breezing and this game was also breezing by. It was 4-0 heading to the Orioles seventh. We had nine outs to go and the season would be over.
Aging Brooks Robinson singled in a run off of Blue. And then something remarkable happened. Andy Etchebarren, the good fielding, weak-hitting catcher was next up. And would you believe, it, Andy cracked a 3-run dinger. This game was all tied up. Blue was gone and Rollie Fingers came into the game for the stunned A’s.
We used three pitchers in the home half of the seventh. Bullet Bob Reynolds, who had pitched well in relief of Palmer, was replaced by Eddie Watt. And finally Grant Jackson came in and kept the game tied at 4-4.
Bobby Grich homered leading off the eighth. We came all the way back to stun the A’s 5-4 and force a game five. Catfish Hunter beat us the following day but we gave the A’s some trouble before they beat the Mets in the World Series.
The A’s are again tough as they combine good pitching with some talented young hitters. So the A’s stopped by for a three-game series last weekend. And the big news is Orioles star, Manny Machado, misbehaved in the three-game series and thus was suspended for five games. Good Lord. Throwing his bat down the third base line. Hitting a catcher in the head with a back swing and not even check out how the catcher is doing. Heck, he should have been suspended.
So what’s wrong with our budding star? There is no excuse for this behavior. Mr. Chen, the pitcher surrendered a pair of homers in the early going on Friday night. Chris Davis homered to tie this game up. Machado un-tied it with yet another homer in the fifth inning. It stayed this way for awhile but the Birds dropped a 4-3 decision in 11 innings.
Saturday’s game brought better results. Kevin Gausman, subbing for the injured Miguel Gonzalez, pitched great. We had an Adam Jones solo homer that stood up until the fifth inning. It was a four-run fifth for the Birds. David Lough added a two-run blast in the sixth and that gave us a 6-1 lead. OK, the A’s made it closer but Baltimore and Gausman had a 6-3 win.
Sunday’s game was a complete disaster. Ubaldo Jimenez was bombed. We lost 11-1.