Paul Blackburn promises fans Athletics will fight after series win vs. Orioles

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Blackburn promises fans A's will fight after series win vs. O's originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The Athletics opened their first homestand of the season with a series win thanks to a 6-4 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday.

However, Oakland saw record-low numbers in attendance for this week's games against the Orioles. The 3,748 fans in attendance on Tuesday was the lowest since 1980. And that record was short-lived as Wednesday’s 2,703 marked a new low at the Coliseum. Thursday's game only drew 4,429.

The A’s announced 17,503 fans during the home opener on Monday. The ballpark’s capacity is 46,847.

Excluding games with COVID-19 attendance restrictions, the A’s haven’t had a smaller crowd since the 2,443 fans they saw more than four decades ago.

The small crowds in Oakland have been the talk of the MLB world in recent days. While it’s easy for players to say they don’t pay attention to the outside noise, Bay Area native Paul Blackburn gave his honest truth about the situation after Thursday’s game.

“I guess seeing it from a fan's perspective, and I’m kind of speaking from the heart a little bit, I understand it’s tough,” Blackburn said after the game. “We’ve had a lot of great players over the last four to five years when I’ve been here and to see those guys leave from a fan perspective, I get it. But one thing I’ll say is that we have a lot of great players in this clubhouse, and maybe guys just haven’t made a name for themselves yet.

"But to the fans out there, I promise you guys we’re going to fight until our last out. Win or lose, guys come in here, we’re trying to win every game. And the more people that come to a game, I don’t think fans realize the amount of effect they have on a game. It’s a long year and coming to a stadium where there’s 15, 20,000 bringing energy, it definitely helps guys and it picks guys up. But nobody loves playing in Oakland more than we do.”

There are a myriad of reasons for the low attendance numbers, including the need for a new ballpark as well as frustrations over the team going through another big rebuild.

But new stadium or not, the A’s, as Blackburn promised, have fought and will continue to do so.

Thursday’s game hit a turning point in the 7th when the A’s 4-1 lead, buoyed by Cristian Pache's second homer of the season, quickly became a 4-3 lead after three singles from the Orioles led to a pitching change for Oakland.

Domingo Acevedo took over the mound for Justin Grimm and was able to put out the fire with two runners on base and no outs. The score stayed at 4-3.

Until the bottom of the seventh.

Sure, the Coliseum may not have been filled with tens of thousands of fans, but it sure sounded that way when Nick Allen had his first big league hit -- a one-out double to right in the bottom of the seventh.

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Moments later, Allen went from second to home in a heartbeat after he slid head-first on a Sheldon Neuse single that extended the A’s lead to 6-3.

It was another all-around solid pitching day from Oakland. Blackburn allowed one run on three hits, struck out four and didn’t walk a batter in five innings.

And it was Dany Jimenez who got his second save of the season as the A’s got the 6-4 win and three of four from Baltimore to secure the series win.

Hopefully, Blackburn’s message reaches A’s fans as they get ready to welcome the Texas Rangers for a three-game series beginning Friday.