Crisp downplays role in A's win over Angels
Coco Crisp threw out Angels star player Mike Trout as he was trying to advance to second base on a fly ball. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
OAKLAND -- The play of the A's 6-4 defeat of the Los Angeles Angels Friday night?
Sure, Stephen Vogt's two-run home run proved to be the difference in giving the A's a four-run cushion in the sixth inning.
Absolutely, Jed Lowrie's solo shot got the offense going in the first after Oakland fell behind 2-0 nine pitches in the game.
And Bartolo Colon gathering himself before handing things over to the bullpen was large.
[INSTANT REPLAY: Lowrie, A's back Colon]
But it was something from Robert Ripley's collection that had fans, players, managers and yes, even the author of said play shaking their heads the most. Believe it or not.
"I think when I make a play like that," offered Coco Crisp, "it's more shocking."
And there you have it. Crisp, not known for having the strongest or most accurate of arms among the 750 active major league baseball players, threw out one of the swiftest and strongest young runners in the game in Mike Trout.
"I believe that throw was key," Colon said in Spanish. "That surprised the whole world."
Yes, it even shocked the not-easy-to-impress Crisp.
"That's not my forte," he said. "It's not, 'Oh, he's here because he throws out people,' you know? But it does feel good to make a play, though. Especially one that's a little unexpected."
The situation: The A's are clinging to a 4-2 lead when Trout leads off the third with a single to right-center. Albert Pujols then launched a majestic fly ball to medium center, allowing Crisp plenty of time to get under the ball. And as soon as it nestled in Crisp's glove, Trout was off.
The ball, though, arrived at second just before Trout did, Eric Sogard receiving it and applying the tag to the head-first sliding Trout's outstretched left hand before being barreled over.
The crowd let out a collective gasp. And, you'd have to think, more than a few started using Googling one Mr. Ripley.
"Huge," said Vogt. "That puts Trout at second with (Josh) Hamilton up (and just one out). That's a huge turn of events for the team…an outstanding play for us."
It should be noted that Hamilton then doubled, but it did not matter. Not with no Angels on base and not when Colon then got Mark Trumbo to ground out to first to end the inning.
A's manager Bob Melvin said Crisp's throws -- he also limited Trout to a single in the fifth when the youngster dared not challenge the veteran on a ball he hit into the right-center gap -- might have been the strongest he's ever seen from the lithe center fielder.
"You get a lot of momentum from defense," Melvin said. "Sometimes as much from the defense as from the offense."
It was Crisp's first outfield assist since last Sept. 12.
"Like any other fly ball, guys are going to try and tag on me because I don't have the strongest arm," Crisp said. "Today, my arm actually felt pretty good. So I'm just happy I was able to make the throw."
As well as to keep Trout to a single, for fear of his, ahem, arm.
"I was hoping he did (run)," Crisp said with a laugh. "Just because my arm was feeling good today. I just turned around and threw it and he wasn't going, I was just like, 'Ah, man.'
"But it was good base running on his part. I would have tagged as well."
The question then: would Trout have thrown out Crisp? We still have two games left in this series to find out.