The A's are developing all kinds of good habits these days. Even on an afternoon when they were outhit, 5-2.
Take the opening frame, for starters. Orlando Cabrera got things going today with a single, and came around to score. This is not a recording. It was the third straight day that O-Cab made like Rickey (he even stole second!) as the A's rode three first-inning runs to their sixth straight victory, 3-0.
Making those scores stand up was Vin Mazzaro, who was not as charitable as his counterpart, Rich Hill (2/3IP, 1H, 3ER, 4BB). In his second big-league start, he allowed as many runs as his first go around- that would be none- exiting in the seventh inning to a well-deserved standing ovation. Make that 13-2/3 consecutive scoreless innings for the 22-year old right-hander.
In sweeping a three-game series for the first time this season, the A's outscored the O's 21-5, including 10-0 in the first inning.
After Cabrera swiped second base with one out in the first, Hill became intensely generous. He walked Jack Cust and Matt Holliday to load the bases. Then Jason Giambi earned a base-on-balls to plate Cabrera. Hill hit Kurt Suzuki with a pitch to score Cust, and Bobby Crosby made it 3-0 on a groundout to third (replays showed he was safe at first). After walking Rajai Davis to re-load the bases, Hill's day was done.
As was the case for the A's offense which produced only one more hit the rest of the way (an Adam Kennedy single in the fifth).
In a normal A's universe, such ineptitude would be cause for cursing. But in Mazzaro World, it was merely an inconvenience for a team that has outscored its opponents 38-8 during the win streak, and has spun three shutouts.
Mazzaro was brilliant, pitching 7-1/3 innings of five-hit ball, walking none, and striking out four. At one point he retired 15 of 16 batters. Michael Wuertz, Craig Breslow, and Andrew Bailey finished up the win, with Bailey earning his fourth save.
It was yet another quick game (2:13) following Friday's 2 hour, 14 minute affair.
The Twins are in for four beginning tomorrow. Start time at 7:05PM.