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Pirates waste perfectly good Friday night, lose 14-1

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Pittsburgh Pirates
Cameras are apparently the only thing that can stop Josh Phegley.
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The lurid spectacle that is Dollar Dog Night started, both inauspiciously and entirely appropriately, with a half-hour rain delay that set the tone for the remainder of the evening. In a way, the bargain-priced tubes packed with salt and fat and portions of the hog that don’t usually see the light of a supermarket case were a good metaphor for the evening’s entertainment: Of a fixed length, filled with unpleasantness for anyone who cared to examine too closely, and not resembling competent Major League Baseball in any way whatsoever.

The third-best thing that happened in the game happened in the bottom of the first inning, when the Pirates scored to take an early lead. After Joe Musgrove set the A’s down with ease bordering on nonchalance in the first inning, Adam Frazier drew a walk, Melky Cabrera moved him to third on a sharp line drive to center, and Josh Bell brought him home on a fielder’s choice, after momentary confusion between Marcus Semien and Jurickson Profar at second base prevented the two from completing an inning-ending double play. The Pirates were leading! The crowd was engaged! It was fun!

Musgrove apparently should have saved some of that swagger, as the A’s immediately delivered a disproportionate response, scoring a gratuitous five runs in the top of the second in varied and ugly fashion. Lowlights included two throwing errors by third baseman Jung Ho Kang, the second of which put pitcher Brett Anderson on second base after a sacrifice bunt attempt, an inside pitch that hit Profar square in the middle of his forearm, and a bases-loaded double by Josh Phegley that drove in the first three of his record-setting eight RBI on the evening.

Phegley drove in another run in the A’s half of the third. Anderson reached base for the second time in the game by picking up the first of his two hits, and the A’s then scored a seventh run on a bases-loaded walk by Semien, following which Musgrove was pulled from the game in favor of Nick Kingham.

Kingham escaped that inning without further incident, but he surrendered four runs of his own in the fourth, three more of which were driven in on another bases-loaded double by Phegley. He also allowed Anderson to reach base yet again, on a sharp single to center, though Marte was ultimately determined to have thrown Phegley out at home on the play following a lengthy replay review. The shrewd decision to challenge the initial “safe” call held the A’s lead to a relatively manageable ten-run deficit, with slightly less than half of the game completed.

The second-best thing that happened in the game happened in the bottom of the sixth inning, when Bryan Reynolds picked up a single, extending his hitting streak to ten games. The Pirates had two men on and nobody out, but didn’t score, and they pulled most of their regulars heading into the seventh inning, formalizing what had already been clear for some time.

Matt Chapman hit a two-run homer off Francisco Liriano in the seventh, to extend Oakland’s lead.

Josh Phegley hit a solo homer off Richard Rodriguez in the ninth, to extend Oakland’s lead.

The best thing that happened in the game happened in the bottom of the ninth inning, when Starling Marte struck out. That meant that the game was over, and I didn’t have to watch it anymore.

The Pirates play the A’s again at 7:05 tomorrow, Trevor Williams against Chris Bassitt. It’s May the 4th, so that means that it’s Star Wars Night! With fireworks, and a bobblehead of Jameson Taillon dressed as a Jedi, and maybe even some baseball, if we’re lucky.