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Trio of injured center fielders among oddities in Angels-A's marathon

By Dayn Perry | Baseball Writer

Peter Bourjos, like some other center fielders who played in Oakland on Monday night, probably won't be sprinting around the bases for a while.
Peter Bourjos probably won't be sprinting around the bases for a while. (USATSI)

The A's 19-inning, six-hour-32-minute, 10-8 victory against the Angels on Monday night/Tuesday morning was not short on oddities. For instance, we almost had a walk-off via official review. Then we had a passed ball on what should have been a called strike. Then the A's gave up the DH when they ran out of position players in the 16th and were forced to put Seth Smith in the field. Then it turned into the longest game in Oakland A's history. Then it became the longest game in Angels history.

Then Jerome Williams and Brett Anderson combined to pitch more innings (11 1/3) in relief than Tommy Hanson and Dan Straily did as the starters (10 2/3 -- while not technically accurate, the Angels in essence got two "quality starts" in the same game ... and still lost). Then the A's broadcast team, after Anderson's ankle stiffened up, wondered aloud whether any trainer's tables were still available in the Oakland clubhouse.

Then Jerry Blevins, a lefty relief specialist in the AL, made the first plate appearance of his major-league career -- leading off the inning of a tie game between division rivals. Then Jed Lowrie became the first Athletic in 34 years to log nine at-bats in a single game. Then the two teams combined to throw 597 pitches. Then the A's came back from five runs down to win in back-to-back games for the first time since 1941. I could go on. Perhaps oddest of all, though, was this: three center fielders were injured running out ground balls.

First, Angels fly-catcher Peter Bourjos strained a hamstring in the 11th when he landed a bit awkwardly on the bag after sacrificing Austin Romine to second base. He limped immediately into the visitor's clubhouse. Then in the bottom of the 13th, A's center fielder Coco Crisp strained his hammy while trying to leg out what was a 5-3 putout. He was removed the game, and Chris Young slid over from right to replace Crisp in center. Naturally enough, it was then Young's turn. In keeping with the script, Young grounded into a double play in the 15th, and in his haste he -- all together now -- injured his leg (right quad) running to first base. Young departed, which forced Oakland manager Bob Melvin to make Smith, the DH, part of his outfield alignment.

Of the three injuries, Bourjos's appeared to be the most serious. The loss of Bourjos would indeed be a blow to the struggling Angels. In addition to providing exceptional defense in center, Bourjos is batting a productive .313/.370/.458, even after Monday's 0-for-6 performance. If Bourjos misses any time, then Mike Trout would likely move back to center, which, given recent events, would figure to ensure that he'll hurt himself.

On that front, tweet of the night absolutely goes to MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez ...

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