May 28, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics athletics catcher Derek Norris (36) congratulated by Athletics second baseman Jed Lowrie (8) after Norris hit a two run home run in the second inning against the San Francisco at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

Kickham When He's Down; A's Defend O.co in 5th Straight Win

Yeah, I had to.  Another prominent Athletics blog resisted, but I had been thinking about doing a headline like this since it became apparent that Michael Kickham was the leading candidate to replace Ryan Vogelson in the Giants rotation.  So there, what’s done is done and I’m not ashamed.

This was a good game on many levels by the Oakland Athletics, solid pitching, timely hitting, and mostly good defense.  And this game was an important one to win, if for nothing else than for the sake of the fans who undoubtedly take this rivalry much more seriously and personally than the players do.

For Jarrod Parker, today’s game was a story of making an adjustment after a rocky first inning in which Hunter Pence drove in the first run for the Giants.  Parker settled down nicely and would work 7 total innings in getting his third win of the season.  Save for an RBI groundout by Buster Posey in the 6th inning, he didn’t get into much trouble the rest of the night.  His line of 7 innings, 5 hits, 2 ER, 1 BB, and 4 K’s was once again more indicative of his talent than many of his starts thus far in 2013.

Derek Norris rudely greeted Michael Kickham in the 2nd inning with a 2 out 2-run home run, his second of the season.  Prior to the game, Norris said on CSN that he wanted to make an impact against Kickham and leave a lasting impression like hitting the first home run he would give up.  Norris must have had some idea of what was to come because the only doubt about the rocket he hit was whether or not it would stay fair.

Kickham was rattled at that point, and he wouldn’t make it through the 3rd inning.  He lost the strike zone, and by then it was just a matter of time before he would be gone.  He walked Jed Lowrie with the bases loaded and allowed an RBI single to Nate Freiman before being pulled.  The game would settle down as Chad Gaudin came in for some long relief.  Adam Rosales would add the exclamation point with an 8th inning solo home run.

Josh Donaldson would have a banner night once again, going 2 for 3 with a walk to raise his batting average to an impressive .330 on the season.  As our Andrew Brown pointed out today, he’s making a strong case to be an All-Star in 2013.

With this win the Athletics have guaranteed themselves a split in this 4 game series with the Giants, and most importantly improves their record to 30-23, and have moved to within just 2.5 games of the first place Texas Rangers.  As the series moves to enemy territory, the A’s will send out Tommy Milone (4-5, 3.80 ERA) against former ace Tim Lincecum (3-4, 4.75 ERA).  A win here would assure the A’s of taking this series versus their cross-bay rivals, and would give some level of bragging rights for all the A’s fans.

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Tags: Derek Norris Jarrod Parker Josh Donaldson Oakland Athletics

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