Brandon Moss' first go-around in Pittsburgh was not a joyous one, as his career stalled for the second time and by the time he left town he was ready to be sold for parts. Tonight he launched a 2-run HR in the 4th inning off of Gerrit Cole to provide all the runs the A's would need -- which is good, because it was also all the runs the A's would get.
Dan Straily, fresh off of a 7 IP, 1 hit performance against the Cubs, pitched into the 7th and allowed just 2 hits in 6.1 IP. One of the hits was a booming HR in the 2nd off the bat of Pedro Alvarez to CF. It traveled so far it could have been counted for 2 runs, but luckily it wasn't. A harmless 3rd inning single by Starling Marte was the only other hit off Straily, who walked 3 and struck out 7.
Cole was excellent, featuring a fastball that often clocked in at 95-96 MPH, often on the corners, and a deceptive changeup that, at 88 MPH, is also called "Tommy Milone's fastball". With two outs in the 4th, John Jaso confuzzled the shift by poking a 2B down the third base line and then on the next pitch Moss unloaded on Cole's only real mistake. Cole went 7 IP, 2 ER, and deserved a better fate.
The A's bullpen was nails. Sean Doolittle came on in the 7th with a runner at 2B and one out, froze pinch hitter Gaby Sanchez with a nasty slider and then retired Jordy Mercer -- whose full name must be "Little Jordy Mercer" -- on a pop fly. Ryan Cook dominated the 8th and Grant Balfour came on in search of consecutive save #42.
Jose Tabata's leadoff single provided a scare, especially in front of scary-as-all-git-up hitters Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez. Balfour struck out both, then retired Russell Martin on a swinging bunt to 3B.
In The Book, a passage from John 3:16 reads, "And so God created the Pittsburgh Pirates and decried 'Thou shalt dress as bumble bees and wilteth in August, but thou shalt never defeateth the Oakland A's for as long the sands of time creep e'er forward.'" And then He rested because it was a run-on sentence and He was tired, but it was good. And there was much rejoicing. Except in Pittsburgh, obviously.