Friday night Kendall Graveman put up his best start of the year, holding the Angels to just three hits while striking out four through seven innings. He worked efficiently, getting ahead in the count and threw just 91 pitches.
It was by far his longest outing and best of the year. The 25-year-old right-hander is no stranger to inconsistency. In 2015, for example he was optioned back to Triple-A in early May and returned on May 23 to pitch in nine straight starts without allowing more than three runs. Then he suffered an injury and the A’s, who were in last place, shut him down for the rest of the season by August.
This time it was the bullpen’s turn to have a tough game. Graveman left the game with the score 2-1. Closer Ryan Madson, who has yet to blow a save for Oakland, allowed a sac fly to Johnny Giavotella with runners on first and third with two outs.
Bottom of the ninth and surprisingly the A’s rallied back. Jed Lowrie grounded out and Yonder Alonso flied out. With two outs Marcus Semien drew a walk from the Angels’ pitcher Fernando Salas and Jake Smolinski singled to right, moving Semien to third base.
Finding themselves with one out and runners at the corners Billy Burns stepped up to the plate. Burns took a first pitch fastball and lined it into left field, scoring Semien and becoming the hero of the game.
Burns disagreed though saying,
” … the real hero tonight was Kendall Graveman. Just throwing seven solid innings, he was awesome tonight.”
He may have been correct, however, his teammates greeted him in A’s walk off fashion, first mobbing him at home plate and with the usual two pies to the face and a Gatorade shower. Burns seemed a bit uncomfortable taking part in the walk-off rituals as you may be able to see in the videos below. Somewhat strange behavior but maybe he’s just shy.
Burns walk-off single … and being mobbed at the plate.
Burns gets pied, walks out of interview! LOL!