And with that start, Brett Anderson just passed the 1.0 WAR mark in only four outings. Congrats!
(baseballgirl note: I don't want to hear any yapping about how I didn't warn you that the A's play at lunch, not dinner today. So if you're looking for the game tonight, don't! It starts at 12:30 as the A's try to sweep the Red Sox. Enjoy the pretty recap below and we'll get started soon!)
Brett Anderson was the entire story tonight, showing off exactly what makes him such a deadly pitcher to face. He had everything working and it showed, as he struckout 8 in 8 shutout innings, allowing only four hits. In fact, saying he allowed four hits is a bit misleading, because three of them happened in the eighth inning. For the rest of the game? It was smooth, smooth sailing.
It brought back shades of Brett's magnificent start in Fenway on July 6, 2009, when he threw a two-hit shutout against the Red Sox in his first career complete game.
Most of the game was a taut, well-pitched, 1-0 affair, but the wheels came off for Boston in the 8th inning. The A's scored four runs (no, seriously!), three with two outs. Two of the runs came off of a booming Matsui double, which would have left the yard in pretty much every other park with less damp air. This one bounced off of the top of the wall, which scored Daric Barton and Josh Willingham.
But if you want to pick a moment that deflated hearts of Red Sox fans everywhere (including, annoyingly, the thousands in the Oakland Coliseum), it was in the top of the 8th. Brett was starting to tire, and David Ortiz had just hit a single to leadoff the inning. Knowing that it was a one run game, the Red Sox replaced Ortiz with the speedy Jacoby Ellsbury, in an attempt to make something, anything, happen. Mike Cameron was up to bat, and with a 3-2 count, he struck out at the same time Ellsbury attempted to steal 2B. I'm not sure if Cameron realized what was going on, but he dejectedly hung his head and walked back to the dugout—crossing home plate and earning a batter's interference call while blocking the view of Kurt Suzuki as Ellsbury scampered for 2B. And just like that? Boston went from having the tying run on 2B with no outs, to having the bases empty with two outs in the span of one pitch. Boston wouldn't make any more meaningful noise for the rest of the game, and the A's cruised to victory on the strength of Matsui's double the bottom half of the 8th.
When it comes down to it, as A's radio color commentator tweeted tonight, Oakland's starting pitching has allowed one earned run in this series and the last, a total of 33.2 IP. A team with that kind of pitching is going to be very, very good indeed.
Athletics lead the series 1-0
WP: Brett Anderson (1 - 1)
LP: John Lackey (1 - 2)
|5 - 0 win|