The A's easily defeated the white hot White Sox today at US Cellular Field by the score of 6-2 to set up the series rubber match tomorrow. With the victory, the Oakland 9 have preserved the chance to complete a .500 road trip against two of baseball's hottest teams.
Today's game reminded me a bit of wiffleball. Specifically, when Dallas Braden would throw a change up and whoever happened to be standing in the box for the White Sox looked silly swinging at it. This repeated off balance hack at a 70 mile an hour pitch has become the hallmark of a good Braden start. The kind of game, like today's, where Braden silently dominates and we look at the TV and think "It's the 6th inning already?"
Braden breezed through 5, scattering 2 hits while keeping the Chicago hitters off balance with a mix of changing locations and speeds, before running into trouble in the 6th when Juan Pierre and Alexei Ramirez led off with back to back singles. Both Alex Rios and Paul Konerko flew out on thunderous drives before Braden induced a grounder from Carlos Quentin to keep the Sox off the board.
Braden was not as lucky in the 7th, surrendering 2 runs on an Andruw Jones HR. The lefty then gave up an infield single to Pierre, putting the tying run in the on deck circle, before striking out Alexei Ramirez to thwart the only serious White Sox threat of the game.
The A's offense was led by Kevin Kouzmanoff, who went 3 for 5 with 3 Runs, a Double and a Home Run. Kouzmanoff's first hit of the day, a single, kicked of a 4 run rally in the 2nd Inning. The rally, which proved to be all the offense Braden needed, was fueled by 5 Singles and a Base on Balls.
The A's complete the series and the road trip tomorrow morning, at 11:05 Pacific. Oakland will send Gio Gonzalez to the hill in search of his 10th Win this season. The White Sox counter with Gavin Floyd.