Blevins goes hungry after Houdini-esque routine

September 12, 2012, 7:12 am
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Programming note: Coverage of Game 3 of the A's-Angels series begins tonight with A's Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet California
ANAHEIM -- Jerry Blevins is a skinny guy, probably because his teammates let him go hungry. After pulling off a seemingly impossible save Tuesday night in Anaheim, Blevins could be heard hollering in the clubhouse, "Where's my pie? Where's my pie?""I was half expecting it while doing the TV," Blevins said. "It was a perfect moment for a pitcher to get a little love." In the bottom of the ninth inning with a one run lead, runners on the corners and no outs, Blevins got the call. As the 37,764 in attendance had the place shaking, and the Angels bats had the A's quaking, Blevins had a game plan. Strikeout, double play, pie. Two out of three isn't half bad. Blevins struck out Kendrys Morales on five pitches. The switch hitter went down swinging on an 85-MPH change up. Four pitches later Howie Kendrick hit a 92-MPH sinker straight to Josh Donaldson, who threw to Cliff Pennington, who turned the game-ending double play to give the A's a 6-5 victory.Blevins let out a primordial scream as the A's dugout emptied in celebration. It was easily the biggest moment in Blevins playing career, one he said was better than his Major League debut. "I felt like pure elation," Blevins said. "It was one of the loudest screams I've ever given on a the baseball field." Morales is a switch hitter so the A's were comfortable turning him around with the left-handed Blevins on the mound. Kendrick is a right-handed hitter but was 0 for 4 in his career against Blevins. With Ryan Cook unavailable the A's clearly had a trick up their sleeve with Blevins. "Talk about Houdini," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "You know he's not going to get a lefty, but we were trying to turn Morales around and hope he can make good pitches after that." The A's were in this situation in the first place because closer Grant Balfour had an uncharacteristically rough night. He entered the game with a three-run lead and walked the first two batters he faced. He was removed after back-to-back RBI singles put the Angels in position to win the game in walk-off fashion. Balfour who had converted his last 10 save opportunities prior to Tuesday, appeared to be very frustrated with the strike zone of home plate umpire Paul Schrieber. Immediately after the game Balfour went into the clubhouse and watched the video of each pitch he threw. After reviewing the tape and blowing off some steam he calmed down. "They do a great job at what they do and it is frustrating sometimes when you see it one way, they see it another and you are trying to pitch and get outs in big games like that." Balfour said. "I felt there was a couple strikes that should have been called but at the end of the day I've got to make better pitches and get out of that situation too."As soon as he left the game he became Blevins' biggest fan. The donut-loving lefty didn't disappoint. "That was awesome, coming in for a strikeout and a double play was the way to write it up," Balfour said. "I was on the top step, I am the guy cheering for him." Dan Straily, who also deserves a share of the credit for the A's 11th consecutive road win, was inside watching on TV. He said everyone in the clubhouse went crazy when the A's recorded the final two outs. Straily went six and two-thirds innings, he allowed three runs on seven hits and struck out eight batters. All of the runs he allowed scored via the long ball. The last time he faced the Angels he gave up four homers."After throwing a ton of pitches in the first couple innings I looked over my shoulder and saw the bullpen going and was making sure that I was not going to be embarrassed again," Straily said. Melvin had Tyson Ross warming up in the second inning after Straily gave up a two-run homer to Vernon Wells. From the third inning on, Straily looked like a completely different pitcher. "For him to get us all the way through for almost a full seventh that's quite the turnaround for a kid that was on the ropes," Melvin said. Straily earned his second Major League win with his dad watching. It was his father's birthday and they had breakfast before the game. Usually the offense gets all the attention. The performance of the A's hitters is easy to forget after what transpired on the mound. Yoenis Cespedes snapped out of a 21-game homerless streak with a solo homer in the first inning. Brandon Moss clubbed a two-run homer in the fourth inning, his 18th of the year and sixth in the last 12 games. In the ninth inning the A's got some crucial insurance runs. Coco Crisp hit an RBI triple to right field that was misplayed by Torii Hunter. As the veteran right fielder chased after the ball, Crisp rounded third and scored. Every last bit was needed in this game. It still all boiled down to one unreal effort by a man that just wanted a little post game pie. He did get a treat though. The A's victory over the Angels puts the A's 21 games over .500 -- that's pretty sweet. His second career save, well, that can be the cherry on top.

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