Oakland manager Bob Melvin attached the nickname "Houdini" to his reliever Jerry Blevins on Tuesday night and it was hard to argue with the tag. The A's left-hander relieved closer Grant Balfour in the bottom of the ninth and inherited a one-run lead that looked near impossible to protect. Runners stood on first and third. There were no outs.
And yet Blevins was able to strike out Kendrys Morales before getting Howie Kendrick to ground into a double play to give Oakland its fifth straight win with a 6-5 triumph over the Angels. Blevins only needed eight pitches to slip out of the situation's ropes and chains.
The escape gave Blevins only his second save in 205 career appearances and the 29-year-old assumed his achievement would be commemorated with one of Josh Reddick's ever-present cream pies. Alas, as Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported, that Cool Whip christening never came, furthering the notion that non-closers are the most underappreciated assets in baseball.
"I was so disappointed," Blevins said. "I was half-expecting it while I was doing the TV (interview). The first thing I said was, 'Where's my pie?' That was a perfect moment for a pitcher to get a little love."
Unfortunately for Bleveins, great escape artists are really never appreciated until they can slip away no longer. Talk about a punch to the stomach.
Big BLS H/N: Rant Sports