The Oakland Athletics came into tonight’s contest with the Los Angeles Angels looking to avenge the sweep they endured last week in Oakland. Jarrod Parker set the tone tonight quite nicely with a pretty solid outing against the Halos. The A’s were able to get some timely hits, although not in the conventional sense and secured the 3-1 victory in the first game of a 4 game set.
Coco Crisp started things off immediately as he hammered the first pitch of the game off the big wall in right field just beyond the reach of Torii Hunter. The ball bounced off the wall and rolled back towards the infield and before anyone knew it Coco was standing at 3rd base. Seth Smith would get Coco in with a grounder to first to put the A’s on the board almost immediately.
After the game opening fireworks Angels starter Dan Haren really settled down. He was too comfortable for anyone’s liking, getting through the first 4 innings in under 40 pitches. But Brandon Moss decided he’d seen enough. Leading off the 5th inning Moss deposited a Haren pitch into the right field bleachers. That run would give the A’s all they would need to hold this one down. Cliff Pennington would give the A’s a slight amount of breathing room with a lead off homer of his own in the 6th inning. Neither team would score after that.
The A’s though had a chance to add on and perhaps end the drama in the 7th inning when a single and 2 walks loaded the bases with 1 out for Stephen Drew, but Drew would fail to make contact, making a base hit necessary for the A’s to score. Cliff Pennington would not be able to deliver though, grounding out to end the threat.
Overall Jarrod Parker was on his game tonight. He did walk 2, allowed 3 hits, and seemed to find himself in a number of 3 ball counts but he managed to wiggle out of any tough situations with minimal damage. Ryan Cook would work around a Mike Trout single in the 8th inning to do his part in preserving the lead. Grant Balfour would emphatically shut the door in the 9th with 2 K’s to get his 17th save of the year.
With the win the A’s move to an incredible 20 games over .500 at 80-60. I had them going 79-83 this season, so this really is astounding. The Rangers and Orioles were idle today so the A’s now sit an even 3 games behind Texas in the AL West, and hold a 2 game lead over Baltimore for the top wild card spot. The Tampa Bay Rays are a game behind the Orioles so the A’s have a 3 game cushion at the moment.
Dan Straily (1-0, 3.18 ERA) will make his first start back in green and gold in place of Brandon McCarthy (who continues to make progress), he’ll be opposed by Jerome Williams (6-7, 4.59 ERA). The A’s can guarantee themselves a series split with a win tomorrow, and also continue to put distance between themselves and the Angels.