Another inauspicious start for the A's and Bartolo Colon today, as the Rockies batted around in the 1st. Tyler Colvin led off the game with a homerun and Marco Scutaro tripled as the 2nd batter. Colon would eventually strike out 2 batters in the inning, Carlos Gonzalez and Jeremy Guthrie, to end it, but by that time the Rockies had built a 4-0 lead.
The A's offense today was keyed by a Seth and two Brandons. Seth Smith opened the A's scoring in the 3rd, with a rocket of a double over Michael Cuddyer's head, cutting the Rockies' advantage to 4-2. Brandon Inge followed that with a RBI double to LF, cutting their lead to one. Brandon Moss then came to the plate and put on his best Todd Helton impression, launching a 461' 2 run HR into Coors Field's 3rd deck, only the 32nd such shot in the stadium's history. Cliff Pennington would add a solo shot after a Kurt Suzuki groundout, and the A's would finish the inning up 6-4.
The Brandons weren't done though. In the 5th, Moss came up and again launched a deep RF homerun, this time only making it to the middle of the 2nd deck and making it 7-4 A's. In the 6th, Inge launched a no-doubter to dead LF to make it 8-5 A's, as Todd Helton had hit a homerun of his own in the 5th off of Colon, who was clearly tiring by then, having thrown 107 pitches on the night. A parade of relievers, including Sean Doolittle, Grant Balfour, and Ryan Cook came in to finish out the game. Doolittle allowed a hit and a walk (and were it not for a sparkling defensive play by Inge, would have allowed the tying runs to score), but came back to mow through Carlos Gonzalez to end the inning. It was a beautiful sequence, as CarGo was buckled on a 77 MPH slider, watched a 95 MPH fastball go by, and flailed at another slider down and away. Indeed, Doolittle continues to impress for a guy who started pitching professionally at Stockton in April. Balfour pitched 2 good innings, striking out 3, and Ryan Cook came in in the 9th -- you heard that right -- for the save. After a walk to Colvin and a single by Scutaro (and a "calm down, man" talk from Curt Young), Cook rebounded to strikeout CarGo and Cuddyer and then got Helton to groundout weakly to Pennington to end it. Cook earned his first MLB save and a potential closer's job tonight.
Speaking of Colon, a curious thing about his outing today was that the radar gun had him at 95 and 96. At first, this looked like an anomaly, but Jeremy Guthrie was clocked at 92-93 (his average velocity), and Sean Doolittle also came in and was clocked at 94-96. Was the gun hot? Was this Colon letting it fly with a 4 seamer tonight? Did he have another fat injection in his elbow since his last start? I'm curious to hear if anyone asks Melvin about this postgame.
At any rate, this must have been an uplifting win for the A's after a disappointing sweep at the hands of the Diamondbacks. Tomorrow, the A's look to take the second game behind Tommy Milone. Join baseballgirl for the gamethreading action at 5:40.