Blake Treinen received an extended ovation from his former home crowd when he was introduced at Nationals Park before the All-Star Game presented by Mastercard on Tuesday. He responded with a smile and a wave, soaking in his first appearance in the Midsummer Classic.He didn't expect it. Treinen, who pitched
Blake Treinen received an extended ovation from his former home crowd when he was introduced at Nationals Park before the All-Star Game presented by Mastercard on Tuesday. He responded with a smile and a wave, soaking in his first appearance in the Midsummer Classic.
He didn't expect it. Treinen, who pitched for the Nationals from 2014-17 and had a 5.73 ERA midway through 2017 before being dealt to the A's, thought the reaction would be half and half.
"Something like, 'You suck!'" he said. "That's all I keep hearing. 'Why did you suck so bad here, and now you're good?' I don't know. I guess things happen for a reason."
Treinen added: "It was nice to hear the people here still appreciated me. Not that I need it, but I wasn't expecting it, that's for sure."
It choked him up. Being at the All-Star Game -- which the American League won, 8-6, in extra innings -- and hearing the crowd cheer a little extra for him validated the work he has put in to become a dominant reliever.
"I just thought about my career and how everything has transpired," he said. "I mean, just like God's plan and journey and that stuff. People don't want to hear that, but it's true."
A few hours later, he showed Nationals fans what they were missing. Sean Doolittle, whom the A's sent along with Ryan Madson to the Nationals for Treinen, made the All-Star Game for the National League. But Treinen may end up making the Nationals regret the deal when it's all said and done.
He has developed into one of baseball's best closers this season, and on Tuesday, he tossed a clean sixth inning for the AL. He thought he would get to face Bryce Harper, but Harper was replaced in the top of the inning. So Treinen had to settle for retiring Joey Votto, Christian Yelich and Charlie Blackmon in order to keep the AL ahead, 2-1.
Treinen threw 11 pitches; 10 of them strikes. His sinker, a pitch that has been so lethal this season, touched 99 mph.
Treinen and second baseman Jed Lowrie represented the A's at the All-Star Game in the nation's capital, the first time Oakland has had two All-Star representatives since 2015, when pitcher Sonny Gray and catcher Stephen Vogt made the team.
"I was happy that we were able to do this together, and happy that we were on the field at the same time," Lowrie said. "Something I'll never forget the rest of my life."
Lowrie also entered the game in the sixth inning, making his All-Star Game debut at age 34 as a defensive replacement for Jose Altuve at second base. In his at-bat in the seventh, he worked the count and drew a two-out walk against Felipe Vazquez, but was stranded at first after Mitch Haniger struck out to end the inning. He also popped out in the ninth inning and grounded out in the 10th.
Lowrie said his first at-bat felt like a playoff atmosphere. He has dreamed of being on this stage since he was little.
"As a kid, in your backyard, playing with your friends, it's either the World Series or the All-Star Game," Lowrie said.
Treinen was the first Oakland reliever to make an All-Star team since Doolittle in 2014. He has anchored an A's bullpen that does not blow leads: The A's are 38-0 when leading after seven innings -- the only team in the Majors that has not lost when leading after seven -- and Treinen's Major League-leading 0.94 ERA among relievers is a big reason why.
Lowrie joined Phil Garner (1976) as the only A's second basemen to make an All-Star team in addition to making his first All-Star appearance in his 11th season. After leading the A's with a .277 batting average last season, Lowrie has continued to be the A's most consistent offensive weapon and remain healthy.
Lowrie is batting .285 with 16 home runs and 62 RBIs, which ranks 10th in the AL, and he has also delivered in the clutch, hitting .381 (45-for-118) in the seventh inning or later with nine home runs and 27 RBIs. His 12 game-winning RBIs rank third in the AL.
The game itself featured 10 home runs. There were also 25 strikeouts combined between the two teams, an indication of baseball's trend of batters swinging for the fences. But Treinen didn't punch anyone out.
"I didn't get a strikeout," he joked, "so maybe I need to go re-evaluate myself."
Eric He is a reporter for MLB.com.