After three miserable losses, the A's managed to pull out a victory out in Boston today by the score of 5-3. Tonight, Jarrod Parker kept the demons of Fenway Park away for the A's. His final line: 6.2IP, 1ER, 4H, 2BB, 4K, 98 pitches, 59 strikes While, ideally, Parker would have had a greater than 2-to-1 strike/ball ratio, the A's have to be encouraged by his mound poise and good results for his 3rd MLB start. He's certainly more deserving of a rotation spot right now than its former occupant, Graham Godfrey.
The A's opened the scoring early, with Jemile Weeks leading off with a single and scoring on a Yoenis Cespedes single up the middle off of Felix Dubront. The score would remain 1-0 until the top of the 4th. With 1 out, after a Kurt Suzuki single and Kila Ka'aihue walk, Recker struck out and now with 2 outs, the A's made their moves. Pennington doubled to left-center, scoring Suzuki and sending Kila to 3rd. With runners in scoring position, Jemile Weeks then singled home both and advanced to 2nd on the throw home by Marlon Byrd. After stealing 3rd, Weeks streaked home on a wild pitch by Dubront.
That would be all she wrote for the elephants' scoring. After Parker came out with 2 outs and a runner on 2nd for Sawx in the 7th, Brian Fuentes got Mike Aviles to ground out on a great play by the newly-acquired Brandon Inge. Inge ranged to his right on a tough hop, then lunged forward on a dive to tag Cody Ross just before he slid into 3rd for the 3rd out. Ryan Cook allowed a walk and nothing else in the 8th, striking out Lars Anderson and David Ortiz on a pair of devastating sliders. Grant Balfour appeared in the 9th for a non-save situation, and, after allowing a rocket of a double to Cody Ross, and striking out Saltalalalallalaalamacchia, basically lost it. He allowed a hard-hit single to Byrd, walked Nick Punto, allowed a single to Mike Aviles after going 3-0 on him (and getting a very generous 3-1 called strike), and was then pulled for Jordan Norberto. Norberto then struck out Lars Anderson on a pair of great sliders of his own, and got Dustin Pedroia to roll over on an outside fastball to save the game for Balfour, Parker, and the A's.
Some observational notes
- Cespedes has some crazy plate coverage. He practically hit that single off the ground in the 1st inning. This is, of course, the same guy who whacked a low and outside pitch over the wall in dead LF at the Coliseum last week. He gets better every day.
- If Cook can actually throw strikes, that slider is as good as pitch as anyone else on the pitching staff has.
- Kila made a nice pick today. He also had 2 hits and 1 walk. Regardless of what you think about Daric Barton, he's got to be feeling the Kila Monster's breath at his neck.
- Grant Balfour is a mess. At this point, he's better going back into the setup role to at least regain some confidence; he's certainly not doing anyone any favors the way he's pitching right now. Given that the A's don't have any one dominating reliever, I'd advocate for a true closer-by-committee of Norberto, Cook, and Fuentes depending on the matchups.
Tune in tomorrow for the rubber game. Same bat time, same bat channel with baseballgirl!