Based on the first four pitches of the game, it appeared as if A.J. Griffin was going to be in for a long afternoon. Or better yet, an extremely short one. The four pitch walk to Shin-Soo Choo did not bode well. Another walk to Joey Votto put two runners on base with just 1 out. Griffin would strike out Jay Bruce and Todd Frazier to escape any damage in the first inning.
The game proceeded in an uneventful fashion through the first time through the order, but once the A’s got their second shot at Reds starter Homer Bailey they began to get some hits. After Jed Lowrie and Yoenis Cespedes singled, Brandon Moss drove Lowrie in with an RBI double. Josh Donaldson came up and hit a first pitch slider from Bailey for a no doubt 3-run home run into the left field bleachers.
With a 4-0 lead now, the Athletics were able to put this game on cruise control as A.J. Griffin got his legs under him. In fact, Griffin didn’t allow his first hit until the 5th inning on a line drive from Devin Mesoraco that should have been caught by Chris Young in center field. The play could have been ruled an error, but since Young had to run quite a ways and would’ve made a somewhat difficult play it was ruled a single. Griffin would allow a double to Xavier Paul in the 7th inning to remove any potential controversy about a no-hit bid.
Griffin would allow just those two hits in his first ever complete game shutout. He only walked those two batters in the first, and he struck out 7 overall, including Jay Bruce 4 times.
Nate Freiman added the final run in a pinch hit role, doubling in Eric Sogard against lefty Tony Cingrani. Jed Lowrie had another solid game, collecting 2 hits in his 4 at bats. Josh Reddick and Eric Sogard each had one hit, a double for Sogard. Chris Young had the toughest time of all, striking out each of the 4 times he came to the plate.
The Athletics will get to enjoy another day off tomorrow as they prepare for the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday as they mark the halfway point in the 2013 regular season. They remain tied atop the AL West with the Texas Rangers, who defeated the New York Yankees tonight. Friday night’s contest will feature Bartolo Colon as he continues to build his All-Star resume with a 10-2 record and an ERA of 2.93, he’ll be opposed by the talented young hurler Shelby Miller who boasts a nice 2.35 ERA that doesn’t support his 8-5 record. It should be quite the weekend as two of MLB’s best teams battle it out.