Well, the A's continue daily to make their case for the postseason, as Josh Donaldson continues daily to make his case to be an everyday player; both were red-hot today. When the smoke had cleared, our A's--yes our A's--find themselves winners of five in a row, an unfathomable fifteen games over .500, courting Ms. .558, a small four and a half games behind Texas, a game ahead of Baltimore, a game and a half over Tampa Bay and two over Detroit. They have already won the Cleveland series, taking 3 out of 4 from the struggling team, with a chance for the rare four-game sweep tomorrow morning.
Josh Donaldson went 2 for 5 tonight with a huge three-run homerun, making his case to be a starter on the team, even with the impending return of Brandon Inge. Yoenis Cespedes had three hits tonight, as did Josh Reddick, batting sixth. Carter and Crisp also had two hits; in fact, every player in the lineup tonight had a hit, with the exception of Pennington. Travis Blackley did exactly what the A's needed him to; he provided a very serviceable fill-in spot-start and ended up with a win in his almost-six-innings.
Blackley got in trouble in the third, giving up a homerun and a triple to start the inning. Cliff Pennington made a nice play to record the groundout as the second run scored, and despite walking a batter (something A's pitching has not done recently), Blackley got out of the inning without further damage. His night would finish with 5 1/3 innings, three hits, two runs, two walks, and five strikeouts. Tyson Ross, he is not; it was a very good start, and gave the A's a good chance to win.
Down 2-0 in the fourth inning, Cespedes singled to open the inning, and after Smith struck out, Carter doubled to put runners on second and third. After Reddick struck out, Donaldson took matters into his own hands and hit a three-run homerun to give the A's a lead they would never relinquish. The Indians would help the A's out in the sixth; after Reddick singled with one out, and Donaldson reached on an error, Derek Norris hit a RBI groundout for the A's fourth run. They would put two more on the board in the seventh on a Crisp double, a Smith double and a Carter single.
The Indians would make one last stand in the eighth. Neshek closed the sixth for Blackley and started the seventh, and was pulled for Doolittle. Doolittle would finish the seventh with no damage, but he couldn't escape the eighth. He allowed a walk and a single to open the inning, but an error by Josh Donaldson, who was about to tag the runner out when the ball squirted right out of his glove, loaded the bases for the Indians with the tying run at the plate. After Doolittle allowed a sacrifice fly to close the gap to 6-3, Jerry Blevins allowed a RBI ground-out, but no further damage. The A's still led 6-4, going to the ninth. They wouldn't let Balfour get a save, as Stephen Drew led off the inning with a double and Cespedes singled him in. Reddick would double him in, and the game was safe at 8-4.
This team is rolling. Even their 15 hits today seem to say, "It doesn't matter who starts; we're going to back them up." The A's are playing as if it's 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2006, but they have one more month to get through to continue on. But boy, is the journey fun along the way. And they are doing exactly what a playoff team should; beat the teams you should beat. It's been a long time since it was this fun to be an A's fan.
Meanwhile, Jemile Weeks got the game-winning hit for the Rivercats, as they won their unprecedented sixth title, and are heading to the playoffs, yet again.
The A's go for the sweep tomorrow at 9:00AM; breakfast with the A's, Parker vs. Masterson.