"Today was a good day." -Ice Cube
Gio Gonzalez was spectacular through three, and good enough through four more innings, to lock down a win for the Oakland Athletics today, at home against the AL West leading Texas Rangers, 6-2. The game pitted Gonzalez against former Athletic Rich Harden, and was expected to be a pitcher's duel.Gonzalez held up his end of the deal, with some help from Jerry Blevins, Craig Breslow and solid defense all around.
The A's offense, led by patience at the plate and Coco Crisp (2 for 2, BB, HR, 4 RBI), pounced on the shaky performance from Harden. The hard throwing righty was done after getting just one out in the third inning. By the time Harden was heading to the clubhouse, he had walked five batters and surrendered three runs.
The Rangers vaunted offense didn't mount much of threat throughout the game. The only runs scored came late, well after the A's were on cruise control. It is interesting to note that one of the runs Texas scored came on an 8th Inning solo HR by new A's nemesis Taylor Teagarden, his third of the season against Oakland pitching. The young Rangers catcher has a single hit on the season against any team other than the A's.
In general, I think it is too early in the season to call individual games "must win." There is still plenty of time to make up for a rough game. The same can not be said for series like the one the A's are playing in now. The A's had a must win game today, if only because they cannot afford to lose this series, and the same will be true tomorrow.
The A's send Trevor Cahill to the mound to square off with Colby Lewis in the final game of this series. Game time is 1:05 PM (in the best timezone). A win tomorrow will put the A's 7.5 games behind the Rangers with 52 games left to play.