Oakland, Calif. — Before they realized they were going to lose another lopsided game ...
And before their body language began to get confusing because of how many pitches they were questioning, the Tigers came to a pivotal moment in Monday’s 10-0 loss to the Athletics — while the game was still scoreless.
It happened in the second inning. Drew Smyly had done a fine job of getting out of a first-and-third jam with no outs in the first, the Tigers hadn’t yet lapsed into the offensive doldrums they would reach against winning pitcher Tommy Milone, and when Brandon Moss launched a hanging pitch to deep center, the game’s early advantage was at stake.
Austin Jackson had time to get to the wall and make a leap for the ball. More than that, he had time to get to the wall, leap for the ball, and actually give himself a chance to catch it ...
Before his return to Earth got in the way, that is.
Somehow, as Jackson came down, the ball flipped out of his glove and instead of a great catch, it turned out to be Moss’ 12th home run.
Not in the context of a game that ended 10-0.
But it was important at the time for a starter who needed all the breaks, and all the good plays behind him, he could get.
“It would have been a highlight-reel catch,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said, “but unfortunately for us, it snapped out of his glove. A part of me thinks it changes the course of the game. But we’ll never know.”
No one was more disappointed at not catching the ball, however, than the man who didn’t catch it.
“At first, I thought I had it,” Jackson said. “I felt it in my glove.”
Then he didn’t.
And that’s the crushing moment when Jackson knew, “I obviously didn’t have it. Looking at the replay, it was one of those tip-of-the-glove plays. It just didn’t come back with me.”
Around the horn
Victor Martinez was the only Tiger with more than one hit. He had two singles to hike his batting average to .341.
... After Andrew Romine doubled his first time up, he was 6-for-11 since hitting his first home run.
... Derek Norris’ grand slam off Phil Coke in the eighth occurred after the A’s loaded the bases on a walk, catcher’s interference by Bryan Holaday and an error at third by Nick Castellanos. Norris connected on a 2-1 pitch. Two of the four runs off Coke were unearned.