Athletics: 6 Angels: 5
I’d say that last night’s game was the scariest of the season so far. I’d say most of these games are “must” wins at this point, but last night was a MUST win for the A’s. The A’s needed to gain ground on their division rival before the next two games, as they have to face two pitchers they have struggled with in the past.
The A’s got on the board first again, this time a Yoenis Cespedes hit a solo home run to give them the lead in the second. The Angels took the lead immediately after when Vernon Wells hit a 2-run home run to put the Angels up 2-1. The A’s retook the lead in the fourth on Brandon Moss’ 2-run home run (his second home run in two days). In the same inning, Josh Donaldson and George Kottaras followed with back-to-back singles and Stephen Drew hit a sacrifice fly, putting the A’s up by 2.
The Angels cut their lead down to one after a Torii Hunter home run in the seventh. The A’s scored two more runs in the top of the ninth, which ended up being the most important of the game. Cliff Pennington singled with two outs and Coco Crisp came up and drove a ball to right field, thanks to bit of fumbling by Hunter, both Pennington and Coco himself scored. The play would later be ruled as a triple and an E9.
With a 3-run cushion Grant Balfour came in to save the game. Balfour has been good for the A’s since he took over at the closer spot, having only allowed 3 runs over the last 10 outings (and no blown saves). Last night he was not at his best, to say the least.
Grant Balfour walked Chris Iannetta to lead off the inning. He then walked Mike Trout. Torii Hunter came up and singled and Iannetta scored, cutting the lead to only 2 runs. Balfour then gave up a single to Albert Pujols and Trout scored and the A’s saw their lead cut to just 1 run. Then with runners on first and third and no outs Jerry Blevins came in to replace Grant Balfour.
Blevins was put in a tight spot, he needed to record three outs without letting the runner on third cross the plate to tie the game. That’s exactly what Blevins did. The first batter he faced was Kendrys Morales and he got him to strike out swinging. The following batter, Howard Kendrick, hit a 2-1 sinker right to Josh Donaldson who threw out Peter Bourjos (who was pinch running for Pujols) at second and then Cliff Pennington threw out Kendrick at first. It was Jerry Blevins second career save and the first of this season.
Dan Straily, who made his first start since August 16, did pretty well tonight. The last time he faced the Angels he allowed four home runs to them, tonight his only two hiccups were the two home runs he allowed to Wells and Hunter. Through 6.2 he allowed 7 hits, 1 walk and struck out 8. Pat Neshek tried to record the final out of the seventh, but an error by Stephen Drew put the runner on first and Sean Doolittle came in and relieved Neshek. Doolittle did record the final out and pitched a clean eighth.
In other good A’s news, Brandon McCarthy was released from the hospital yesterday after having surgery 6 days prior. Hopefully he will be able to resume baseball activities within a few months.