Ellis Cycles; Chavez Walks-Off; Casilla A Winner In Oakland
The Oakland A's had a two-out, top of the ninth inning bullpen meltdown and a failure to score with the bases-loaded and no-one out in the bottom of the ninth. However, despite those failures, the A's were able to come out on top thanks to a career performance from Mark Ellis and some stellar bullpen work by newcomer Santiago Casilla and some late-game heroics from early game goat Eric Chavez.
Alan Embree allowed two runs to score with two-outs in the top of the ninth, costing A's starting pitcher Dan Haren his seventh win of the season. Haren was outstanding, going 7.2 innings in the no-decision. He struck out a season-high nine and walked only one and allowed two runs, both on solo homers. He finished the game with a 1.70 ERA for the season. Haren was named the AL's Pitcher of the Month for May earlier in the day.
In the bottom of the ninth, the A's loaded the bases with no-outs and failed to score when Chavez struck out and Bobby Crosby grounded into a double-play.
The A's survived a scare in the top of the 10th inning when David Ortiz doubled with two-outs and Dustin Pedroia on first base. A's centerfielder Mark Kotsay and shortstop Crosby combined on a perfect relay throw to home to retire Pedoria and end the inning.
Extending the game into extra-innings gave Ellis a chance to complete the cycle. Ellis tripled in his first at-bat, homered in his second and doubled in his third. Ellis reached on an error in his fourth at-bat and came up in the 10th only a single short of the cycle. He blooped a broken bat single into center to start the 10th and complete the sixth cycle in Oakland A's history. The last A's player to hit for the cycle was Eric Byrnes in San Francisco in 2004. It was Ellis' first career cycle.
The A's had a chance to score in the 10th inning. With one out, pinch hitter Jack Cust walked to move Ellis to second. However, the rally died as Shannon Stewart and Travis Buck hit into ground-outs to end the inning.
Extending the game into the 11th inning gave Santiago Casilla a chance to shine. Casilla was recalled to the major leagues on Sunday and he worked a perfect 1.1 innings in the A's win against the Twins that day. He struck out three of four batters he faced. Casilla wasn't as strikeout happy on Monday, but he was impressive. He retired Manny Ramirez on a pop-out to start the inning and after a Kevin Youkilis bloop single, Casilla retired Coco Crisp and Wily Mo Pena to end the inning.
That scoreless frame would put Casilla in-line for the win in the bottom of the 11th. Chavez, who had failed to end the game in the 9th, redeemed himself in a big way in the 11th. With two-outs and none one, Chavez slammed a Kyle Snyder pitch over the wall in right-center to give the A's and Casilla the win. The homer was Chavez's eighth of the season.
The win was Casilla's first major league victory. The hard-throwing reliever had struggled in his previous major league stints. Coming into 2007, Casilla had allowed 12 runs in 11 major league innings and had walked 12 batters. In two appearances this season, Casilla has allowed only one base-runner in 2.1 innings and he has no walks and three strikeouts.
From the River Cats' Media Department
River Cats Announce 1st Annual Emmett Ashford Award
Team to honor 1st African American PCL, MLB umpire, local amateur umpire at pre-game ceremony tomorrow
West Sacramento, Calif. – The Sacramento River Cats have announced the creation of the first annual Emmett Ashford Award to honor a local amateur umpire for sportsmanship and community involvement. Ashford, the award's namesake, was the first African American umpire in both the Pacific Coast League and Major League Baseball. A pre-game assembly to educate nearly 4,000 elementary and middle school students about Emmett Ashford's life and accomplishments will take place at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, June 5 at Raley Field.
The inaugural winner of the award is Mike DiMiceli from Sacramento . Mike is the current President of the Northern California Officials' Association (NCOA) and has been an amateur umpire for nearly 30 years. He has officiated games at the youth, high school, collegiate and professional levels during his time as an umpire. Mike's full-time career is in law enforcement, and he is currently Assistant Executive Director for the California State Commission on Peace Officers Standards and Training. A pre-game ceremony to present the award to DiMiceli will take place behind home plate at 11:15 a.m. on Tuesday.
"We are proud to announce the forming of the Emmett Ashford Award to honor local umpires who, as Mr. Ashford did throughout his life and career, achieve self-excellence and help others," said Bob Hemond, River Cats Executive Vice-President. "Mike DiMiceli is a perfect example of not only someone who shows passion and dedication for the game, but commitment to his family and community as well – all traits that were extremely important to Emmett Ashford."
Emmett Ashford was born in 1914 in Los Angeles, California. In 1951, he became the first African American umpire in organized professional baseball when he umpired in the Southwest International League. In 1954, he joined the Pacific Coast League as an umpire, the first ever African American to do so, and rose to the rank of Umpire-in-Chief one year later. After 12 years of umpiring in the Pacific Coast League he was signed to a contract by the American League. On April 1, 1966, he became the first African American umpire in the history of Major League Baseball. Ashford passed away due to a heart attack in March, 1980 at the age of 65.
Ashford's daughter, Adrienne, will be on hand to help present the inaugural award. She has recently written a book about her father's life and career entitled "Strrr-ike!!: Emmett Ashford, Major League Umpire." The book will be available for sale at Raley Field on Tuesday.
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