Now this is fun to watch! In front of a crowded (for us) O.co Coliseum, the A’s finally put on a show. It’s been well documented that the A’s often struggle in front of big crowds, so this was refreshing to see. There was a lot to cheer about and the energy in the Coliseum was definitely buzzing throughout the game. It seemed as if just about every moment the A’s had opportunities to put runs on the board they did. Not lost in the shuffle was the standout performance by Tommy Milone, there is an obvious comfort level Milone has established in Oakland, and it showed tonight.
TURNING POINT: In a game with as much offense as this one had, it’s hard to imagine the turning point of the game taking place in the top of the 1st inning, but I believe it did. Tommy Milone got himself into some potential major trouble in the 1st, Miguel Cabrera came up with runners on the corners and no outs, an obvious RBI situation for one of the game’s best hitters. Milone though managed to get Cabrera to ground into a double play, the runner on 3rd scored, but the rally was snuffed out as Prince Fielder waived at a curveball to end the inning. Then in the bottom half of the 1st, the A’s managed to mount a 2 out rally and scored on a Kila Ka’aihue double that drove in Josh Reddick, and a Brandon Inge single that drove in Kila. An immediate deficit was erased just like that, and from that point on the A’s knew they could get to Rick Porcello.
ON THE HILL: This was the start Tommy Milone needed, after having been knocked around in his two previous starts, nobody needed a confidence boost more than the soft tossing lefty. Milone had much better control than he has displayed at times this year, and had the strikeout pitch working as well, as the aforementioned Prince Fielder learned a couple times. He allowed the first runs of his career at the O.co Coliseum, but only 1 run was earned in his 7 innings of work. After Milone exited, the janitors came in for their mop up duty. Andrew Carignan was first up, just called back to Oakland from Sacramento he pitched the 8th and struggled mightily with his command. Just from watching his body language it was obvious he was frustrated and feeling down about how his outing was going, hopefully he can get it together next time around. Jerry Blevins had a much more uneventful 9th inning than his line may indicate, a broken bat leadoff single that really wasn’t his fault was erased by a nifty double play turn by Jemile Weeks and Cliff Pennington, he walked one, but managed to shut the Tigers down before they could mount any real offensive attack.
AT THE PLATE: Josh Reddick and Brandon Inge will certainly grab the headlines for their gaudy RBI totals, but it was a team effort no doubt. Reddick had his first career multi HR game, and a career high 5 RBI to go along with it. Brandon Inge continued to fuel the fire of “Ingesanity” with his RBI single in the 1st and his 3 run HR in the 6th inning, he now has 4 homers and a mind boggling 16 RBI with the A’s. It’s been posted all over the place, but it’s worth noting that according to the Elias Sports Bureau the last time someone had 4+ RBI in 4 out of 5 games was in 1931 when some guy named Lou Gehrig did it. That’s the only other time it’s happened, ever. As my Dad appropriately texted to me during the game, he is The Term-Inge-nator. As for the non headline grabbers, Kila Ka’aihue and Seth Smith have been very impressive lately. The Kila Monster went 2-5 with 2 doubles and an RBI, and Smith went 3-4 with a walk and a run scored, finally being retired in the 8th after reaching base on 8 consecutive plate appearances. Daric Barton continued to struggle at the dish going 0-5 with 2 backwards K’s and a rally killing foul pop up in the 1st.
FINAL THOUGHTS: It was great to see a big crowd out at the O.co, like everyone else I wish it wasn’t even worth noting, but that’s the reality we face in Oakland right now. I struck out on getting my hands on one of those sweet Swingin’ A’s fleece blankets (if anyone cares to make a donation I’m more than willing to accept!), but the show the A’s put on was more than enough to make for a satisfying night out at the ballpark. The A’s have put themselves in good position to at least hope to gain a split against a tough American League team, I’m not quite at the level of optimism to be hoping to beat Justin Verlander on Sunday, but the A’s know Saturday’s starter Doug Fister very well from his time in Seattle, and can get to him. If batting practice goes well tomorrow, expect to see Yoenis Cespedes back in the lineup for even more potential fire power. Brandon McCarthy makes his return to the bump after skipping his last start with a sore shoulder, assuredly the A’s staff will be watching him very closely to make sure all is well with the oft injured starter. We are all riding an emotional high after tonights game, but it’s hard not to think we see glimpses of a foundation being built in Oakland.
Topics: Andrew Carignan, Brandon Inge, Brandon McCarthy, Cliff Pennington, Daric Barton, Doug Fister, Jemile Weeks, Jerry Blevins, Josh Reddick, Justin Verlander, Lou Gehrig, Miguel Cabrera, Oakland Athletics, Prince Fielder, Rick Porcello, Seth Smith, Tommy Milone, Yoenis Cespedes