Starting pitcher Chris Smith is STILL trying to get his first career win as a starter. His only win was in 2008 as a reliever. His career is one of true grit. Having spent most of his days in the minors and a short hiatus in the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball, he returned to major league baseball in 2014 when the Padres signed him to a minor league contract. In 2016 he did the same with the Athletics. In 2017, at age 36, Smith became the oldest player to make his first career start with the Athletics in 117 years. Unfortunately, he will have to continue waiting as he takes the loss in this first game of the final series with the Orioles.
Although Khris Davis led off the second with a ground out, the first hit of the game did follow as Ryon Healy hit a scorcher to Oriole shortstop Tim Backham who is able to knock it down but not much more. Chad Pinder followed with a walk. Part of the Matt-Pack, Matt Chapmen, then doubled a line drive to right fielder Seth Smith. Healy scored easily but Chad Pinder was easily out at the plate on a Smith to second baseman Schoop to catcher Wellington Castillo relay. Catcher Dustin Garneau, claimed off waivers by the Athletics on August 4th, followed by lining out to third baseman Manny Machado. Oakland 1, Orioles 0.
The Orioles’ first hit came from Adam Jones in the bottom of the second as he hit a soft fly ball to left field. Unfortunately, he had company on the base paths quickly as Smith walked Trey Mancini on four pitches and Chris Davis followed with a single to left to load the bases. Enter Mark Trumbo with 19 homers on the year and an OPS of .711 who bats Adam Jones across the plate on a sacrifice fly to left. Luckily Smith gets Welington Castillo to ground into a double play, Lowrie to Semien to Healy to finish the inning. Athletics 1, Orioles 1.
After getting Seth Smith to ground out in the bottom of the 3rd, Chris Smith gave up a single to Tim Backham who then advanced on a wild pitch. Facing Manny Machado, Smith was able to get him to ground out, Semien to Healy. With two outs and Jonathan Schoop up, Smith’s pitch ended up in the dirt again but this time with no damage. With a full count and on a changeup, Schoop popped out to first baseman Ryon Healy to end the threat and the inning.
Homeruns were rampant in the middle innings. For Baltimore it occurred on an Adam Jones homer (23) in the 4th inning. In the bottom of the 5th, Jonathan Schoop had a three-run homer to score Seth Smith and Manny Machado. And then the Adam show returned to the plate when he hit a back-to-back drive over the left field fence (24), this one off of Ryan Dull in relief. In the top of the 6th the Athletics answered as Jed Lowrie pelted his 11th long ball of the season.
But the classic home run was Boog Powell’s first career home run. Eighth inning and he took it over the right field wall into “Boog’s BBQ.” Young Boog Powell will meet his namesake tomorrow, and they will definitely have something to talk about! Athletics 3, Baltimore 6.
Baltimore put one more nail in the coffin in the bottom of the 8th. Welington Castillo took it deep for his 13th dinger of the season to make the score Baltimore 7, Athletics 3—the final score.
Final pitching numbers:
Chris Smith went 4.1 innings giving up six hits (two of them homeruns), five runs (four of them earned) on two walks and three strikeouts. Dull and Brady also gave up a homeruns. Wade Miley received the win after six innings pitched and giving up five hits, two earned runs (one of them a homerun), with four walks and six strikeouts.