Game 57 wrapup: Straily keeps filling up strike zone; Freiman gets critique on how to run out a triple; Young breaks loose

Dan Straily didn’t get the win Saturday, but not because he didn’t deserve to.

The second-year right-hander limited the White sox to five singles and double in six innings, didn’t walk anyone, struck out eight and left a 3-1 lead to the A’s bullpen.

Sean Doolittle wound up letting Chicago back in the game, so when the A’s did go on to score a 4-3 win, the victory went to Jerry Blevins, who got the final out of the top of the 10th innings.

    Still it was another in a series of increasingly strong performances for Straily. In his last three starts he’s allowed two run in 19 innings, going 2-0 with an 0.95 ERA.

He’d struggled badly when he was first recalled to the big leagues, but he seems to be settling it, which is huge for Oakland, because it’s likely that Brett Anderson, the opening day starter for whom Straily is being asked to sub, isn’t likely to be back any time soon.

“I just want to keep filling up the strike zone,’’ Straily said. “I absolutely feel more comfortable now, not that I ever didn’t feel comfortable before, but I’m feeling better all the time.’’

The last time out Straily struck out just one in six innings in beating San Francisco. This time he struck out eight.

“It all comes from getting strike one,’’ Straily said.

–First baseman Nate Freiman looked at the video of his first big league triple and winced.

“Am I really that slow?’’ he wondered out loud.

Everybody else in the Oakland clubhouse seemed to be looking at it too. And they had no qualms about critiquing Freiman’s technique.

“Watching it, I kind of want to cringe,’’ Freiman said.

It was all in fun. Freiman’s triple scored Josh Donaldson for the A’s third run in the fifth inning, and it came on a day when the A’s needed every run they got.

Donaldson had singled and had taken second when White Sox’s starter Jose Quintana stumbled while trying to deliver a pitch and was called for a balk.

“I felt that when Josh got to second base I had a bit of an advantage, because the outfielders came in to try and keep him for scoring on a hit,’’ Freiman said. “If they’d been playing a `no-doubles’ defense, that ball might have been caught.’’

It wasn’t, and the 6-foot-8 Freiman, who isn’t fast, just kept running until third base coach Mike Gallego told him to stop.

It was a big day for Freiman for another reason. His wife, Amada Blumenherst, is in the hunt for her first LPGA tournament win. Playing outside of Atlantic City, she’s five strokes back heading into Sunday’s final round.

“It’s been a good day,’’ he said.


–It’s been a long struggle for Chris Young, but he said after Saturday’s single and two doubles, things may be turning around.

Young’s hitless streak went to 19 at-bats before he singled home a run in the second inning. Before the game was over, he would double in the eighth and again in the 10th, the second time scoring the winning run on a Josh Reddick walk.

“It’s nice to see some balls drop in,’’ Young said after boosting his batting average to .194.  “I’ve had some decent at-bats, but not too much has been happening.’’

Manager Bob Melvin was delighted with what he saw.

“That was a big double for him against the right-hander (in the eighth inning),’’ the manager said. “It goes to show you have to believe in guys with track records, and he has a good track record.’’

John Hickey

A longtime baseball writer three years into in his second go-round covering to the Oakland A's beat after a dozen years covering the Seattle Mariners. Covered the A's through the late 1980s and 1990s.