Just got a home a little while ago from my first A's game of the year against the Rangers. There's that old cheesy saying that everytime you watch a baseball game you might see something you've never seen before and today was that day for me. Was really looking forward to seeing Rich Harden pitch since he came pretty damn close to throwing a no hitter against the Rangers last season and seeing Baseball Tonight's favortie pitcher Vincente Padilla. The weather was miserable early as we've had about six weeks straight of rain in the Bay Area and it although it never really poured today there was non-stop drizzle for about the first three innings.
It was evident early on that Harden wasn't on today as he had trouble finding the strike zone and would end up walking five on the day. In the 4th Mark Teixeira lead off with a double to right, missing a homerun by about two feet. Phil Nevin came up next and I saw something I'm not sure I've seen before or at least something you don't see very often. He grounded to ball to right to Marco Scutaro for Buster Olney's favorite thing a productive out. Atlhough it didn't turn out that way as Scutaro from 2nd threw to 3rd to get Teixeira. You'll often see that play made by a shortstop but I don't know if I've a second baseman make that play. Of course there's a fine line in baseball between a head's up play and a stupid play and I'm not sure Teixeira didn't beat the throw to 3rd, I was on the first base side so I didn't have a good view of the play, but they got the out and probably saved a run that inning. Now a fielder's choice isn't exactly something I'm gonna remember or worth a blog entry over but I did have something to remember in the 6th.
In the 5th, Nick Swisher made a nice leaping grab against the wall to rob Gerald Laird of extra bases and then with two out in the bottom of the inning crushed a towering homerun to right to give the A's a 2-1 lead. Harden seemed to be settling in by then but with two out in the 6th he competely lost the strike zone again, walking Michael Young and Teixeira. Next batter, Nevin, homerun, 4-2 Rangers, and the A's staring at a 5th straight loss. But then it happeend in the bottom of the inning.
Eric Chavez. First pitch. Homerun.
Frank Thomas. First pitch. Homerun.
Milton Bradley. First pitch. Homerun.
Three pitches, three homeruns, and that's it for Padilla. Absolutely amazing stuff. I've never seen back-to-back-to-back homeruns live in person and I don't think I've ever seen it happen on three straight pitches, let alone the first three pitches of an inning. Very cool to see a first ballot Hall of Famer in Thomas mixed in there as well. The rest of the game was fairly uneventful but that was a moment I'll never forget.
Since this blog is about nostalgia for the most part and since I'm talking about the A's and three homeruns might as well bring up the times I've seen three homeruns by one player in person. First one came on May 7, 1991 against Baltimore as Harold Banies hit three homeruns. Hit a two run homerun off of Ben McDonald in the 1st, a three run homerun off of Dave Johnson in the 4th, and a solo homerun off of Jeff Robinson it the 6th. He had a chance for a four homeruns in the 8th but they Orioles walked him. Second time I saw it happen was June 11, 1999 against Los Angeles as Miguel Tejada pulled off the feat. Two run homer against Carlos Perez in the 1st, two run homer against Onan Masaoka in the 3rd, and solo homerun against Doug Bochtler in the 7th.