I have never been so thrilled to be wrong about a series as I am right now with how this one has played out. I fully expected an Oakland Athletics team that has been scuffling in all facets of the game recently to be truly outclassed by the mighty Detroit Tigers and Miguel Cabrera. Turns out, it has been the A’s who have outclassed the Tigers so far in their own ballpark. Whether it was a gutty seesaw battle, a vengeful win versus a hated foe, or an all out offensive assault, the A’s have found many ways to emerge victorious this week.
Tonight, it was the Brandon Moss show. Much as it was last night. Only the sequel was much more explosive than the original. Moss helped turn this game from a nice one-sided affair into an all out annihilation. Moss went 4 for 5 tonight with a pair of home runs and a total of 6 RBI. He now has 24 home runs on the season and really appears to be heating up just when the A’s need him the most as they begin the home stretch towards October.
While Moss will appear in the headlines for his massive night, the 14 run outburst really was a team effort. Every starter but Coco Crisp reached base, and only Daric Barton didn’t have a multi-hit game among the others. The 21 hit attack came from all angles, and Tigers starter Doug Fister was unable to contain them. Eric Sogard, and Kurt Suzuki kicked off the scoring with RBI singles, and Josh Donaldson added their third run with a sacrifice fly in the second inning.
After a Torii Hunter home run got the Tigers on the board in the third, the A’s answered back with four runs in the top of the fifth. This is when Brandon Moss kicked off his big night with an RBI double. RBI singles by Yoenis Cespedes, Alberto Callaspo, and Eric Sogard would add three more runs and blow the game open. A Jed Lowrie RBI double preceded the first of Brandon Moss’ two home runs on the night, which jettisoned the A’s into double digits. The A’s capped off their barrage in the eighth with a Josh Donaldson RBI single followed by a Moss three run homer.
Dan Straily was the beneficiary of the run support tonight, although he didn’t really need it. He wasn’t at his best, but he held down the Tigers offense for six solid innings. He allowed eight hits and just the one earned run, he walked two and struck out four. Brett Anderson made his return to the mound tonight as well. He looked good during his first inning, but he got knocked around in his second inning, giving up four hits and three runs. He settled back down to work the ninth inning to mop up the game. Anderson was credited with his first career save in the process.
The significance of a win like this cannot be understated. The offense is clicking right now for the first time in a long time, and the A’s have won an extremely tough series against a very good team. The A’s will now have a chance to sweep the Tigers tomorrow morning as Bartolo Colon makes his anticipated return to the mound after his brief DL stint. It won’t be easy though as he’ll be opposed by the 19-1 Max Scherzer, who is just about everyone’s leading candidate for the AL Cy Young Award. A win and a series sweep would be sweet, and handing Scherzer his second loss of the season would be a nice feather in their caps as they head back to Oakland. The A’s have stretched their lead in the wild card race up to 4 games over the Cleveland Indians, and remain 2.5 games behind the Texas Rangers who rocked Felix Hernandez en route to sweeping the Mariners this afternoon.