When Paul Blackburn needed 47 pitches to make it through the first two innings Authentic Justin Bailey Jersey
, it didn’t seem he would last long for the Oakland Athletics.
Then Blackburn found his groove and led the streaking A’s to another win.
Blackburn pitched shutout ball into the seventh inning and Oakland won its fifth straight game, beating the Cleveland Indians 3-1 on Friday night.
”It was just finding a tempo and rhythm,” Blackburn said. ”It’s something I’ve struggled with the first couple of innings. Once I get over that hump in the second inning, I feel like everything is more put together.”
Marcus Semien and Khris Davis drove in runs against Trevor Bauer (7-6) as the A’s followed up a four-game sweep at Detroit with a win in the opener of a five-game homestand.
Jed Lowrie provided insurance with a solo homer in the eighth off Zach McAllister to move Oakland a season-high seven games over .500.
”Games like that, it feels like a 10-run homer,” manager Bob Melvin said. ”The guys coming to the plate get your attention in the last inning. It was paramount. It gives you a little bit of wiggle room.”
Blake Treinen allowed two baserunners in the ninth before earning his 21st save in 23 chances. He has converted 18 straight save opportunities.
Blackburn (2-2) had a 12.70 ERA his past three starts and struggled early against Cleveland, with four of the first seven batters reaching base safely. But a caught stealing and a double play helped him make it through the first two innings unscathed and he settled down from there.
He retired 14 of the final 15 batters he faced, allowing only a two-out walk to Yonder Alonso in the fourth before leaving after retiring Edwin Encarnacion to open the seventh. Blackburn allowed three hits and struck out five.
Francisco Lindor hit an RBI double off Yusmeiro Petit in the eighth inning for Cleveland.
The A’s, who score nearly two fewer runs per game at home than on the road, managed to get single runs against Bauer in the second and sixth innings. Matt Olson doubled in the second and scored on Semien’s two-out hit.
Oakland added an insurance run in the sixth when Matt Joyce singled and scored on Davis’ double.
”He seemed to be very patient so I wanted to make a point of getting ahead in that count,” Bauer said. ”He hit a bad pitch. He’s a good hitter. That’s what you’re supposed to do with hanging breaking balls, hit them.”
Bauer allowed two runs and six hits in 6 2/3 innings, striking out eight. His 148 strikeouts are the most for a Cleveland pitcher before the end of June since Sam McDowell had 151 in 1970.
Indians: Manager Terry Francona said the team will have a decision soon on the status of injured starter Danny Salazar, who has been on the DL all season with a right shoulder injury. Francona said the team is ”exploring some things” and said he would have more information in the next couple of days.
Athletics: 3B Matt Chapman (hand) took grounders and hit off a tee. He will take BP on Sunday and could be back as early as next week. … RHP Andrew Triggs (right arm nerve irritation) had his rehab shut down because he felt tingling in fingers. He will get a second opinion next week. … RHP Trevor Cahill (right Achilles) threw a 30-pitch bullpen session and will either have a lengthier bullpen session or simulation game next in his rehab.
Edwin Jackson (0-0) makes his second start for Oakland after allowing one run in six innings of a no-decision in his debut against Detroit. His nine-game winning streak against Cleveland is the longest since Storm Davis also won nine straight vs. the Indians from 1986-92. Adam Plutko (4-1) starts for Cleveland.
Michele Tafoya was a 28-year-old sports talk radio host in the heart of college basketball country, embarking on a long-desired vocation in an unforgiving field when she felt her first career boost from a bold on-air prediction.
Cal will beat Duke.
That’s what Tafoya told her listeners that defining March day in 1993 on WAQS-AM in Charlotte, North Carolina, a place with an abundance of ardent NCAA Tournament followers and, naturally, self-appointed experts.
The Blue Devils were the two-time defending national champions and an established power from a haven state of hoops.
The Golden Bears, despite the presence of star point guard Jason Kidd and a no-slouch No. 6 seed in the Midwest Region, had no such pedigree. They also happened to be the team from Tafoya’s alma mater, prompting predictable howls of foolish bias.
Well, guess who won that second-round game?
Cal 82, Duke 77, was the final score. Apologies were the star of the show the following day.
”I give the fans credit. They all called in. The phones were lit for hours. Everybody was saying, `We’re sorry we doubted you. Clearly, you knew what you were talking about. You weren’t picking with your heart,”’ Tafoya said. ”My stature as a person with some knowledge shot up that day in a 24-hour period.”
Making sure she knows what she’s talking about has been the driving force behind Tafoya’s rise to sideline reporter for the NFL’s showcase Sunday night games on NBC .
She’ll work her fourth Super Bowl on Sunday in Minnesota, where this Southern California native first moved in 1994 for a job with KFAN-AM as a sports talk host and Vikings sideline reporter.
She continues to call the Twin Cities area home , with her husband Kyle Okposo Jersey
, Mark, 12-year-old son, Tyler, and 9-year-old daughter, Olivia.
”She usually knows more than what’s going on more than we do, because she talks with so many different players through the course of the week,” NBC analyst Cris Collinsworth said.
”You can tell the respect level that the players have and the coaches have for her. It’s a difficult job.”
Asking questions of coaches and players in real time on the field amid the intense NFL atmosphere with millions of viewers critiquing word choice, speaking style and wardrobe is a daunting assignment.
As is working in the professional sports environment as a woman, a glass ceiling that Tafoya has helped smash with predecessors such as Lesley Visser and contemporaries such as Suzy Kolber.
”I don’t think I have to fight it anymore. I’ve been doing this long enough. I’m old now,” Tafoya said Wednesday at the Mall of America, the media headquarters for Super Bowl week.
”You do this long enough, and people start to trust you. It was tough for quite a while the first few years, but that’s why I always felt like I had to prepare like crazy.”
Tafoya has been doing promotional work for Secret deodorant, with a campaign spotlighting women in the football world who’ve overcome the catcalls, prejudice and machismo to stand out in the field.
”I’ve never been one of those `I am woman, hear me roar’ kind of people. I’m more about being a professional. I’m going to do my job. I’m going to do it to the best of my ability,” she said. ”I don’t care if you’re a man or a woman.”
With NBA finals and Olympic Games also standing out on her football-centric resume, Tafoya has been nominated six times for a Sports Emmy award. Her proudest moment, she said, actually came when the sports part of her reporter responsibilities was sidelined by a health emergency when then-Houston Texans head coach Gary Kubiak suffered a mini-stroke at halftime of a game in 2013 .
Tafoya was interviewing Indianapolis Colts coach Jim Caldwell at the time, trying to ignore the shouts of her producer in her earpiece. Once finished and informed of Kubiak’s collapse, she sprinted across the field to try to see what was going on and fill in the concerned viewers.
”I was a journalist covering an emergency situation, and it was the story of the week, and we covered it really, really well,” Tafoya said, ”all of us as a team.”
The NBC crew wouldn’t have it any other way.
”I don’t think a lot of people understand and say, `What do you need sideline reporters for?”’ said play by play announcer Al Michaels.
”She can get information to us that we can’t get. She sees things. She understands the game as well as anybody, and for my money she’s as good as any reporter as there is in the country.”