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August 19, 2009 > Fremont Day at the Coliseum

Fremont Day at the Coliseum

By Gary van den Heuvel
Photos By William Mancebo

The city of Fremont, which nearly had the A's as permanent tenants until the proposed stadium development fell through earlier this year, hosted a "Fremont Day" at the Oakland Coliseum on Friday, August 14.

Five dollars from each specially ordered ticket to the night game against the Chicago White Sox went to the Fremont Education Foundation, Dollars for Scholars and the Washington Hospital Healthcare Foundation. Before the game, the A's presented a check of $6,400 (which was revised from an original amount of $5,200) in an on-field ceremony.

Dollars for Scholars is a division of Scholarship America, and it is comprised of more than 1,200 locally based, volunteer-driven chapters which serve more than 4,000 communities across the country. With support from the national office and six regional offices, Dollars for Scholars chapters help local students achieve their educational goals by raising scholarship funds, establishing endowments, providing assistance with college preparation, and distributing scholarships.

This is the third year of the partnership. One Oakland Athletic has been working personally with Washington Hospital for the past three years to raise awareness of Diabetes. Second baseman Mark Ellis watched his grandmother suffer from Type 2 Diabetes, and he had a close childhood friend who grew up with juvenile diabetes. These experiences motivated Ellis and teammate Bobby Crosby to start a fundraising campaign. Besides donating and raising money, Ellis has volunteered his time, speaking to children about what diabetes is how to prevent it through healthy eating and exercise.

Those in attendance Friday evening were treated to a lot of hitting, an exciting comeback by the A's, but ultimately an 8-7 extra inning Oakland loss.

A's starting pitcher Brett Anderson barely made it out of the first inning. The first three White Sox batters (Scott Podsednik, Gordon Beckham and former Athletic Jermaine Dye) singled, with Podsednik scoring on Dye's base hit. A sacrifice fly by centerfielder Alex Rios (who was just acquired from Toronto off the waiver wire) scored Beckham.

Chicago appeared to have put a quick end to the game with four runs in the second. Catcher Ramon Castro's two-run homer started another burst of hitting by the top of the White Sox order. Podsednik singled for the second time, Beckham doubled and Dye drove them both in with his second single in two innings.

Embattled White Sox starting pitcher Jose Contreras, who came into the game with a 4-11 record and an ERA over 5, sailed through the first three innings with nary a threat. A 6-0 lead would normally be just what a struggling pitcher would need to work out his problems, but not for Contreras on this evening.

In the fourth inning, the A's bats awoke in a big way, starting with left fielder Scott Hairston's 15th home run of the season (his fifth with Oakland). Ryan Sweeney reached second base on an error by Rios, and first baseman Tommy Everidge was hit by a pitch. DH Jack Cust singled to load the bases, and Ellis came through with his second hit, a double which scored all three base runners. Shortstop Cliff Pennington singled in Ellis, but made the second out when he was thrown out attempting to steal second. Leadoff hitter Adam Kennedy's strikeout ended the five-run frame.

The A's drove Contreras to the showers with two runs in the fifth to take a 7-6 lead. Rajai Davis led off with a single and stole second, and following a Kurt Suzuki foul out, Hairston singled in Davis. The A's took the lead when Sweeney doubled to score Hairston.

Anderson had settled down considerably after the first two disastrous innings. Manager Bob Geren gave the lefty the hook in the sixth inning after Anderson walked Jayson Nix to start the inning, and then surrendered a single to Castro. Another lefthander, Jay Marshall took over the Oakland mound duties. Podsednik bunted the runners over to second and third (at which point Geren pulled Marshall and inserted righthander Brad Ziegler), and Beckham tied the game with a ground out to first base which scored Nix.

Ziegler got the A's out of the inning tied 7-7 and Castro stranded at third.

The game saw several pitching changes by both teams. Former A's pitcher Octavio Dotel struck out his ex-team in order in the ninth inning, and he ended up as the winning pitcher when Alexei Ramirez led off the tenth with a home run off of Craig Breslow, the A's sixth pitcher of the night.

In the bottom of the tenth, the A's made it suspenseful with two out singles by Sweeney and Everidge off of Chisox closer Bobby Jenks. Unfortunately for Oakland, it was not to be, as Nomar Garciaparra (who had replaced Cust as the designated hitter in the eighth inning) grounded out to third to end the contest.

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