Last time out, Bartolo Colon completely shut down the Los Angeles Angels for his third shutout of the season. This time around Mike Trout made sure that there would be no repeat performance when he put the Angels up 2-0 after just two batters had stepped up to the plate. From the get-go it looked like Bartolo might have his first rough outing in quite some time, but after Trout’s impressive home run the Angels would be unable to muster anymore offense against the big righty for the rest of the night. Coco Crisp had the highlight reel play of the night as he gunned down Mike Trout attempting to tag from first to second base on fly ball. It was a fairly well hit ball, and Crisp, who isn’t known for his arm strength put the ball right on the bag and was able to get the fleet footed Trout for the double play.
Jed Lowrie answered Trout’s dinger with a solo home run of his own to cut the instant deficit in half, and it would be a precursor to a solid offensive performance by the Athletics tonight. Eric Sogard would tie the game with a soft single to center in the 2nd inning, and Lowrie would put the A’s up by a 4-2 count with a hard grounder down the right field line. Lowrie would add an almost identical single later to notch his 13th 3-hit game of the 2013 season. Stephen Vogt would crush his second home run of the season into the right field bleachers to give the A’s a 6-2 cushion that would prove extremely important in the late innings.
Bartolo Colon wasn’t quite at his best tonight, and the Angels had their share of baserunners – he allowed 7 hits and 2 walks in his 6 innings of work. He threw only 96 pitches, and surely Bob Melvin wanted to make sure to limit his pitch count tonight after the 116 pitches he threw last Sunday in Anaheim. There’s no telling whether or not the extra workload had any impact on tonight’s game, but Colon was able to battle through it and earn his 14th win of the season.
Things got a little too interesting in the top of the 9th inning when Jerry Blevins continued his recent struggles by walking the first two batters he faced before being lifted for Grant Balfour without recording an out. Balfour induced a pop up on the first pitch to J.B. Shuck, and struck out Mike Trout before Albert Pujols came to the plate. A wild pitch moved the two runners into scoring position, and Pujols cashed in with a single down the left field line to pull the Halos to within 2 runs once again. Pujols was in obvious discomfort, and was lifted for former Athletic Collin Cowgill on the basepaths. Balfour was effectively wild as Josh Hamilton came to the plate, and struck him out chasing a would-be ball 4 fastball to end the game and seal the victory.
The win evens the series at 1 a piece, and most importantly puts the A’s up by 4 games in the AL West over the Texas Rangers who lost to the Cleveland Indians tonight. They can guarantee themselves a series split tomorrow as the two teams turn back the clock and Tommy Milone (8-8, 4.18 ERA) battles Garrett Richards (2-4, 4.66 ERA). Richards is replacing Joe Blanton who has had a terrible season for the Halos, and was replaced in the rotation for this start. The Athletics found their offensive stroke tonight, and will look to continue that productivity tomorrow afternoon.