Drink it down, Athletics Nation. Oakland has secured yet another series victory, and this one went down oh-so-smooth. Last night, Sean Doolittle committed a party foul by allowing a bad team to come back in the late innings and snatch victory from the claws of defeat. Today, however, Bartolo Colon chugged through seven quick innings of work while Josh Donaldson and Brandon Moss helped the A's score a 6-pack of runs en route to a victory in the rubber match against Milwaukee's best.
The Brewers broke the seal early against Colon when Carlos Gomez tripled in Jean Segura in the 1st inning. Coco Crisp nearly made the catch of the year sprinting straight back toward the wall in dead center, but the ball glanced off of his glove. Luckily, that was enough for the Brewers to reach their legal limit of runs per game; what a bunch of lightweights.
Colon cruised after that brief hiccup. The keystone of his game plan is usually superlative control and weak contact, but Colon didn't possess the eye of the hawk today; he walked two batters, including rookie Scooter Gennett (who later recorded his first Major League hit), raising his season total to six free passes in 77.1 innings. He also allowed a bundle of hits, but the arrogant bastard danced his way out of every jam with his normal nonchalant style. He also received some help from his defense; Yoenis Cespedes showed off his hops in the 3rd with an impressive catch in left field to rob Gomez of another extra base hit, and Josh Donaldson poured a throw home to nail a runner at the plate in a key spot in the 5th.
Meanwhile, Oakland's offense took its time getting to Milwaukee starter Yovani Gallardo. The right-hander faced the minimum through four innings, but Jed Lowrie and Donaldson led off the 5th by uncorking back-to-back singles. With runners on the corners, Seth Smith bounced into a double play which plated Lowrie; the play may have marked dos equis in the "outs" column, but the game was now tied.
The scoring came to a head in the 7th inning. The A's loaded the bases with a leadoff walk to John Jaso, an infield single by Cespedes, and another hit by Lowrie. Donaldson followed with yet another opposite field hit to score two of his buds, knocking Gallardo from the game in favor of left-hander Mike Gonzalez. With one out, Bob Melvin switched from his normal course and allowed Brandon Moss to face the lefty. This time, the runners would not be left to ferment on the bases; Moss rewarded his manager by shotgunning a blast into the second deck in right field for a three-run homer, giving the team a 6-1 lead which it wouldn't relinquish.
Ryan Cook and Jesse Chavez barreled through the last two innings to close out the game, and Oakland completed their 6th straight series victory. Don't look now, but Chavez has a 2.57 ERA with 11 strikeouts to just three walks. He's allowed two of his four inherited runners to score this year, but he's still looking like a completely different pitcher than he was last year. It's starting to become clear why Billy Beane held on to this guy for so long.
It's difficult to predict what will happen with Colon in the coming weeks in regards to the Biogenesis scandal and a possible PED suspension, but for now he is still looking like the best starter in Oakland's rotation. As Philip Christy pointed out in the Game Thread, Colon's ERA is now 3.14; it seems quite appropriate that he would have pi for an ERA.
I'll be honest with you. I was feeling pretty bitter about last night's loss. However, nothing takes the sting away like an ice-cold victory the very next day. This team is a rolling rock, crushing opponents like aluminum cans. They won't play like this forever, and last night's game was a sobering reminder that this squad is in fact made up of 25 human beings. It's sure fun while it lasts, though.
The A's now travel to Chicago to play four more games against the White Sox. If it seems like Oakland just played the Sox, that's because they did last weekend. Seven games in ten days against the same team, comprising the entire season series? Someone in the MLB scheduling department fell asleep at the wheel on that one. The series cracks open tomorrow at 5:10pm, with DanK Straily facing Jose Quintana. Cuppingmaster will have your thread.