The Oakland Athletics have now taken the first two games of a four game series against the Los Angeles Angels after a thrilling 6-5 win that had plenty of drama and tonight’s victory allows for more separation between the two teams. Here’s how the game got started.
Dan Straily did not make his night easy in the first two innings as he began the bottom of the first by allowing a single to Mike Trout and that got followed up with a hard hit ground ball by Torii Hunter that bounced off first basemen Brandon Moss which got Trout to third. That meant facing the heart of the Angels lineup with no outs.
Yet, Albert Pujols flew out to shallow right field that couldn’t get the run home even with Trout’s speed and the next two hitters Kendrys Morales struck out on three pitches and Howie Kendrick ended the threat by striking out.
After the A’s took a 1-0 lead in the second the Angels took the lead in the bottom half of the inning as Vernon Wells did not wait long. With Erick Aybar on with a lead off single Wells hit a two-run home run to give the 2-1 advantage and after Alberto Callaspogrounded out the inning got shaky again. Chris Iannetta got hit by a pitch and then a single by Trout put runners at first and third. Hunter then struck out and Pujols fouled out after Josh Reddick made a nice sliding catch to end the inning.
There wasn’t any more scoring until the top of the fourth as Cespedes singled and Moss connected for his 18th home run of the season. Josh Donaldson and George Kottaras hit back-to-back singles which got Donaldson to third and Stephen Drew took advantage by hitting a sacrifice fly off Nick Maronde who relieved starting pitcher Jerome Williams to give the A’s the 4-2 lead.
In the sixth the A’s got an excellent opportunity to add more runs after getting runners on first and second with one out and did not capitalize. Drew hit into a force play with the out being recorded at second and Cliff Pennington struck out on three pitches.
As for Straily he settled down until the last batter he faced in the bottom of the seventh inning as Hunter hit a solo shot to get the Angels within one and for his night work he went 6.2 innings, gave up seven hits, three earned runs and struck out eight while walking one.
Brought into face Pujols, Pat Neshek and got him to ground deep to short on the first pitch he saw. The out did not get recorded as the throw bounced up on Moss. That meant Sean Doolittle got brought into face Morales and he grounded it right back to him to record the out.
There was two out magic for the A’s in the ninth as Pennington singled and Coco Crisp lined a ball just fair into the right field corner where Hunter misplayed it Pennington scored and the error allowed Crisp to score and gave the 6-3 lead.
A’s closer Grant Balfour walked Iannetta and Trout ran the count full before walking giving Hunter an opportunity to make up for his blunder in the outfield and he came through with single right back up the middle driving in the run. He came back aggressively to get ahead of Pujols yet couldn’t finish the job and gave up a run scoring single.
Going to the bullpen Jerry Blevins came into face Morales and got him to strike out and even better he got the next hitter Kendrick to roll over on an inside fastball to Donaldson for the game ending double play and the A’s win 6-5. An emotional roller coaster of an inning for the A’s and like Straily, Blevins he became an escape artist and none bigger then that double play.
Making it greater is Blevins said “‘Where’s my pie? It was the perfect moment for a pitcher to get a little love.” Throughout the season the A’s have had a number of walk-off wins and the player responsible for the win gets a pie to the face usually from Reddick and with the win that’s 11 consecutive wins on the road and the A’s are now at a season high 21 games over .500 and even better getting separation. This is also after ending the six game winning streak of the Angels and after tonight’s win it marks the fifth consecutive win.
Also, Drew made up for his error with an outstanding play in the hole at short to get an out at second.