Oakland Athletics pitcher Jeff Francis picked up his first career save in today’s game against the Miami Marlins. Francis came in with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the 14th inning, with Oakland clinging to a 7-6 lead. Francis struck out Jarrod Saltalamacchia looking and got Donovan Solano to fly out to right to end the game.
Francis has thrown 1,264.2 innings in the major leagues. This marked his first career save and it was just his 19th career relief appearance in 235 career games.
Francis was banished to the bullpen after he was claimed off of waivers by the Athletics on May 18. This came just three days after his spot start with the Cincinnati Reds against the San Diego Padres went awry. He allowed three runs in five inning in the loss before being waived.
Despite the ugly numbers on the season (0-2, 6.61 ERA), he was able to close the door on the Marlins. In fact, Francis had given up eight runs in just six innings in his last three appearances.
The Oakland bullpen has been much maligned this season. Free agent signee Jim Johnson lost his closer role before April was done. Luke Gregerson struggled in the role at times as well, causing the A’s to finally settle on Sean Doolittle. Doolittle blew the save today, allowing a double to Giancarlo Stanton an a single by Casey McGehee in the ninth inning causing the game to go extra frames.
Jim Johnson loaded the bases in the 14th before Francis saved the day.
Will it happen again? With the A’s bullpen this year, who knows.