The A's may be last in the league in doubles, but if they keep pounding seven doubles in the first four innings every night they won't be last for long. Speaking of not lasting long, Jason Berken's 3rd major league didn't quite go as planned as the rejuvenated A's showed, in many different ways, what a successful offense looks like.
In the bottom of the 1st, following Cabrera's leadoff double Kennedy (fly ball) and Cust (ground ball) made productive contact to give the A's a 1-0 lead. In the 3rd, with a run already in and the bases loaded with two out, Jason Giambi came up with the "crooked number" hit, a bases-clearing double that made it 5-0. In the 4th, the A's chased Berken with four more, highlighted by doubles off the bats of Cunningham, Cabrera, and Kennedy.
You may have noticed a 0 at the end of the scores I keep noting. Trevor Cahill blanked the Orioles through 6 and did not issue a walk in his 6+ innings of work. Cahill was charged with 2 runs in the 7th, Brad Ziegler 2 runs, when the Orioles jumped back in the game with a scratched out run followed by a three-run HR by Nolan Reimold off of Ziegler.
A couple thoughts, as the A's pull to within 6 games of the .500 mark and 7.5 games of first place:
* To me, a defining moment was when Cust and Holliday walked to load the bases for Giambi in the 3rd. Understandably, Berken didn't want to give into Cust with first base open and understandably he didn't want to pitch to the red-hot Holliday either. Giambi made him pay and that's what this lineup was supposed to be: deep enough to punish pitchers who tried to avoid a slugger or two.
* The A's are 5-0 in "Mazzaro world." He must be wondering how the heck this team managed to lose all those games in April and May.
* The A's are not 7.5 games out of first place, in my opinion. If the goal is to catch Texas, the A's are every bit in this race. But I think the A's are 4 games off the pace with the much more difficult task of catching the Angels over the final 2/3 of the season. The Angels now have Lackey, Santana, and Escobar in the rotation to support Saunders and Weaver, and I will be very, very surprised if the Rangers are still the team to beat come the All-Star Break.
Once through the rotation without a loss. Back to Mazzaro on Sunday to try to keep the A's undefeated in their voyage into "Mazzaro world."
NOTE: If you missed this post earlier today about AN's charity drive to support Jon Wilhite's recovery, please take a moment to check it out!