Both Parker and the Angels starter Garrett Richards had pretty much one task today: save the bullpen. To some extent, they both succeeded and failed. First, let's talk about Parker: his outing was much better than his last one. Then again, that's not saying much. He had decent fastball command, and was able to get his 3 of his 4 strikeouts on changeups. Over 6+, he allowed 6 hits, 4 runs, and walked 3 (hit one) before giving way to Evan Scribner. It wasn't a super clean outing, but it was better than Richards. Richards seemingly could not stop over-throwing his fastball, and put Hank Conger to work behind the plate blocking pitches in the dirt all evening. He couldn't block of all of them, though, and two of those wild pitches ended up leading to A's runs. Nick Maronde and Barry Enright, their "fresh" pitchers, didn't do the Angels any favors and contributed to 3 additional runs scored by the A's.
I had originally set the over/under on runs for this game at 9.5. Boy, was I wrong. After two scoreless innings, the left side of the A's infield decided that they needed to spot the Angels one. J.B. Shuck hit a slow roller towards Adam Rosales, but Josh Donaldson decided to try and pump his UZR by cutting in front of Rosales to make the play. Except he threw it 20 feet over Brandon Moss' head and allowed Shuck to get to second. Shuck was probably safe anyway, but it was a dumb play no matter what. After Erick Aybar advanced him to third, an Adam Rosales throwing error on a Mike Trout slow groundball allowed Shuck to score. So, you're welcome for that gift, Angels. The A's began their scoring in the 4th, as a Seth Smith single preceeded a Yoenis Cespedes double that was literally inches from clearing the high wall in right-center. Cespedes would advance to 3rd on the relay home and score on Richards' first wild pitch on the night to give the A's a momentary lead at 2-1. It wouldn't last long, though, as in the top of the 5th, one-out singles by Shuck and Aybar, and a double down the line by Mike Trout would reverse the advantage and make it 3-2 Angels.
In the bottom of the inning, the A's would take the lead for good. John Jaso blooped a double down the left-field line, scoring Derek Norris who had singled to leadoff. After Rosales walked (!!) and Seth Smith flied out, Cespedes this time crushed a Richards pitch again off the high wall, this time in left-center. His ringing triple on an 0-2 pitch plated both Jaso and Rosales, making it 5-3. The Angels would threaten in the top of the 6th, but in the first example of managerial ineptitude today, Mike Scioscia had the contact play on with Hank Conger on third and one out. A comebacker to Parker by Brendan Harris hung Conger out to dry in a pickle, and Shuck would end the inning on a harmless groundout. The A's would break it open in the 6th on a two-out rally. A Derek Norris walk preceeded an Eric Sogard infield single, with Derek Norris hustling to 3rd on the throw. Having seen enough from Richards, Scioscia brought in Nick Maronde for relief, and what relief he was -- for the A's. He walked John Jaso on four pitches a combined 9 feet off the plate, and had the count 3-1 on Rosales when Scioscia decided to simply walk him and bring in Barry Enright to face Smith. This literally made no sense; while Smith has been legitimately killing lefties this season, the platoon advantage is what should be played to here. After a good battle, Smith predictably laced a double into the right-field corner, blowing the game open at 9-3 and seemingly sending this one into cruise control.
Except not really. Evan Scribner was relief for the Angels in the same way that Maronde was for the A's. He immediately served up a triple to Trout, and a groundout by Pujols made it 9-5. Not to be outdone by Trout, Mark Trumbo crushed another home run into the left-center field bleachers, another tremendous drive well over 400 feet into the Oakland night to make it 9-6. A two out single (laced) up the middle by Howie Kendrick ended Scribner's night in favor of Sean Doolittle, one of the few fresh pitchers the A's had. Doolittle did what Doolittle does, striking out Conger on a high fastball at 95 MPH to end the Angels threat. He would also work an uneventful 8th, dominating pinch-hitter Chris Iannetta for the K and getting Brendan Harris and Aybar to groundout harmlessly. Cespedes would add a sacrifice fly in the 8th, and Grant Balfour would close out the 9th after walking Mike Trout to lead off the inning.
All part of the plan, right? The A's got just enough pitching, played kind of poor defense, and scored enough runs to overcome both. All in a tidy three hours and forty minutes. The A's will go for a sweep tomorrow, and try to keep it less than 3 hours this time. Billy Frijoles will have your game thread at 12:35 PM for the businessman's special.