Exactly a week ago, the Angels absolutely decimated our A's, beating them in three straight games to sweep the series, breaking up the A's nine game winning streak, clearly looking like the superior team, and threatening to overtake the A's tenuous hold on the Wild Card lead. Tonight, thanks in large part to a monstrous performance by A.J. Griffin on the mound, the A's have returned the favor in spades, taking the first three games of the four game series, breaking up the Angels' own six game winning streak, and setting up the series sweep tomorrow. Three out of four is already a devastating blow for the Angels, who had just begun to crawl back in the race. With tonight's loss, they are now 5.5 games behind the A's with 20 to play.
On the other hand, the A's rolled past the Angels without any trouble for the third straight night, bettering their record to twenty-two games over .500, ensuring they will finish over .500 for the first time since 2006, upgrading their date to Miss .577, stretching their road streak to a franchise-best 12 games in a row, and increasing their current winning streak to 6.
Like his rotation-mates, Griffin may not be old enough to rent a car, but he became the second member of the A's pitching rotation to stay undefeated with the win tonight; Griffin has started his career with a perfect 6-0 record, becoming the first pitcher in Oakland history to do so. Dan Straily improved to 2-0 with yesterday's win, and Brett Anderson will take on Jered Weaver tomorrow afternoon in his attempt to go 5-0 on the season.
Griffin was positively electric in tonight's start, pitching eight complete innings, allowing six hits, no runs or walks, while striking out six. He had an outstanding night, completely baffling the Angels from the very start. The A's stellar defense bailed him out of his only jams; Coco Crisp threw out a runner at third in the third inning (stop laughing; it really happened!), and after Josh Reddick uncorked a ridiculous throw to third in the fourth inning that would have nailed the runner had Donaldson not dropped the ball, Griffin got out of a first and third, one out jam with a pop-up and a fly out to preserve the shutout. Coco would also make a nifty running catch in the game, as well.
Meanwhile, Ervin Santana pitched well, per usual against the A's, but the A's won anyway. They happily took a run on a silver platter in the first inning as Reddick doubled and Cespedes hit a ball deep to short. Aybar butchered the play, and Reddick scored. Cespedes would add a real run on a homerun in the sixth, increasing the A's slim lead to 2-0. They would double this lead in the eighth off Isringhausen as Donaldson and Norris hit back-to-back doubles, and Crisp singled the last run in. The Angels would add a garbage homerun by Pujols in the ninth, before Doolittle, who got smoked, was replaced by Ryan Cook. Funnily enough, even at 1-0, the game never felt that close; Griffin was that good, and Cook ended the game before it could induce last night's level of panic.
It's a good time to be an A's fan; there is tremendous pride in the little team with the tiny payroll that could, who came back from a crushing series last week to prove that they are exactly where they belong, on top of the Wild Card, with eyes on the Division, getting ready for the playoffs.
The A's try to complete the rare 4-game sweep of the Angels tomorrow at 12:35PM. Brett Anderson will take on the newly-returned Jered Weaver. It's our turn, LET'S GO OAK-LAND!