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A's Reach for the Stairs With 13 in First

Angels: A day after coming up from minors, Oakland outfielder has six RBI in opening inning of 16-8 win over California.

July 06, 1996|ELLIOTT TEAFORD | TIMES STAFF WRITER

OAKLAND — Thirteen runs, nine hits, five walks, one grand slam, one hit by pitch, one stolen base and 18 batters.

And that was only the first inning Friday for the Oakland Athletics.

No joke. The Angels really did give up 13 runs in the first inning en route to a 16-8 loss at the Oakland Coliseum.

Mercy rule, anyone?

They weren't playing rec league softball and presumably there was more at stake than who buys the beer and pizza after the game, so the Angels and A's went ahead and played the final eight innings.

By the end of three innings, the A's lead was down to 15-7 and, because anything seemed possible Friday, there were good reasons for the sellout of 36,129 to stick around.

Let's see, there were dot races on the video replay boards, the wave, overweight security guards dancing to the Village People's "YMCA" and the A's catching the Angels for third place in the American League West.

Technically, they are tied for last too, which is appropriate because the Angels have played like a last-place club for the last two weeks. Friday's loss was their 11th in 14 games. They have given up 22 home runs in the past nine games.

Angel pitchers have turned in some miserable performances over the season's first 85 games, but there was simply no topping Friday's first inning.

Starter Ryan Hancock and relievers Brad Pennington and Jim Abbott seemed to be throwing batting practice.

"No, I haven't seen anything like that before and I don't think anyone else here has either," Abbott said. "It's a crazy inning. I don't want to say it's a fluke, but it was a crazy inning. These things only happen but once a century."

Oakland designated hitter Matt Stairs, recalled from triple-A Edmonton on Thursday, tied a major league record with six RBIs in the inning.

The first grand slam of his career and his two-run single helped enable Oakland to tie the franchise record for most runs in an inning, set two cities ago. The Philadelphia A's scored 13 runs in the eighth inning on June 15, 1925.

Stairs played Friday only because Geronimo Berroa was given permission to be with his wife, who is expecting in New York.

The 16 runs scored by both teams broke the modern major league record for runs in the first inning.

"It was no fun to go through. We're not feeling good about it," Abbott said.

Hancock, from nearby Santa Clara, gave up eight runs--all earned--and left after giving up a single to Jose Herrera. It was Hancock's first dud performance after winning his first two major league starts.

Pennington promptly walked all three batters he faced. Two of the walks came with the bases loaded, which compounded the problem.

Abbott managed to get the inning's final out, but not until he gave up a run-scoring double, a run-scoring single, a run-scoring double and an infield single.

In the end, Abbott proved to be the most effective of the three. He stuck around for five innings, giving up five runs (three earned) on seven hits with six walks.

For once the postgame questions he faced did not concern what ailed him, but what's wrong with the club.

He is certain Friday was merely an aberration, that the first inning should go into the "stuff happens" file and be forgotten.

"It's in no way indicative of this ballclub," said Abbott, whose earned-run average actually dropped from 7.73 to 7.60. "I don't want to write any season summaries yet. Things turn around quickly. We saw that last year.

"I still have faith in this team. We have to work to fulfill our expectations. We're not playing as well as we can. That's the biggest thing we have to turn around."

Abbott admitted the emotional wounds from such a pounding could be troubling.

"If we slouch our heads, if we say that was the worst inning in history, that's just another setback," he said. "If you keeping looking back, yes, it is tough to bounce back. But tomorrow is a new day. Yesterday's gone.

"Get over it."

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

The Big One

The Oakland A's scored 13 runs on nine hits and five walks in the first inning against the Angels.

* The 13 runs set an Oakland record for runs scored in an inning and tied the Angels' record for runs given up.

* The 16 runs combined set a major league record for most combined runs scored in a first inning.

* Oakland's Matt Stairs tied a major league record with six RBIs in the inning on a grand slam and two-run single. He is the 12th player to accomplish the feat, the first since Boston's Carlos Quintana in 1991.

Thirteen in a Hurry

A look at Oakland's 13-run first inning:

* Jose Herrera singled and stole second.

* Raphael Bournigal singled, Herrera to third.

* Jason Giambi hit by pitch, bases loaded.

* Mark McGwire struck out.

* Scott Brosius walked, Herrera scored, bases still loaded.

* Matt Stairs hit a grand slam.

* George Williams walked.

* Ernie Young struck out.

* Mike Bordick singled, Williams to second.

* Herrera singled Williams home, Bordick to third.

* Pennington relieved Hancock.

* Bournigal walked, bases loaded.

* Damon Mashore, pinch-hitting for Giambi, walked, Bordick scoring, bases still loaded.

* McGwire walked, Herrera scoring, bases still loaded.

* Abbott relieved Pennington.

* Brosius doubled, Bournigal and Mashore scoring, McGwire to third.

* Stairs singled, McGwire and Brosius scoring.

* Williams doubled, Stairs scoring.

* Young singled, Williams to third.

* Bordick flied out.

TOTALS

* 13 runs, 9 hits, 0 errors

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