Well, that game ended better than it could have! After a spectacular complete-game, nine-inning start by Jarrod Parker and a positively Houdini-like performance in the eighth inning to keep the score tied, Parker was finally rewarded with the win in the bottom of the ninth, as Brandon Moss walked off deep into the Oakland night to the raucous strains of Celebration from the happy Oakland fans. With the A's bullpen nearly unavailable, Parker made sure he was the only pitcher of record, and he kept the A's in the game long enough for them to dodge two errors, and break the tie to win. The A's remain a half-game back in the AL West, and a half-game back from the first-Wild Card, secure for now in the second Wild Card spot with 38 games to play. Make no mistake, we are scoreboard watching every day around here. The A's took care of themselves tonight, and opened the series with the Mariners with a much-needed win.
It can absolutely not be overstated how fantastic Jarrod Parker was in tonight's game. Parker allowed 8 hits, walked none, and struck out 8 in his 9 innings of work; the only run for the Mariners was scored in the seventh inning, with a slight assist of an error, but the run would have scored anyway. He mowed down Seattle in a tidy, fast game, and kept the A's in the ballgame long enough to win.
The A's scored their first run in the fourth inning in a very banal way, as Josh Donaldson beat out a double-play, allowing Reddick to score, as Reddick and Cespedes opened the inning with singles, and Moss moved the runner to third with a deep fly ball. Aside from that inning, and Moss' blast to end the game, the A's had the following offense: a Moss single, a Sogard single, and a Lowrie double. But they made the one run stand up against Aaron Harang until they could get into the Seattle bullpen.
The Mariners would tie the game in the seventh as Reddick bobbled a leadoff single, sending the runner to second base. A ground ball would move the runner to third, and a Kendrys Morales single would tie the game. And then, Reddick would make up for the error. With two outs, Smoak hit a single to right field, and Reddick threw the ball to third base, well in time to nail Morales, who looked for all the world like he was out for a home run trot, sauntering into third base, unaware of the impending throw. He didn't even slide, and looked surprised when Donaldson tagged him out. The A's took the out to end the inning, and preserve the tie.
Things got even more interesting in the eighth as Seattle opened the inning with a single and Parker botched the subsequent bunt, throwing the ball down the line. Do you think that Parker has some pressure on him to be perfect in every start with the lack of A's offense? Luckily, the runner stopped at third, and with runners on the corners and no one out, Parker decided to win the game for himself, striking out Quintero, popping up Miller, and striking out Franklin to end the inning, and to once again, preserve the tie.
Parker threw a nearly perfect ninth inning, allowing only another single; at this point, everyone on the bench and beyond was yelling for the A's to get Parker the win. Cespedes missed the memo, striking out on three pitches, but Moss worked a 2-1 count before blasting a homerun to dead center to win the game. Sadly, he went pie-less, because the game credit went to Jarrod Parker, but maybe there will be pie tomorrow.
The A's just have to keep winning. They control their own playoff fate, and with 38 games to go, they're all going to feel like October! Isn't this fun? We do it all over again tomorrow; 7:05 start, Sonny Gray will make his third start against an old A's nemesis, Joe Saunders. We'll see you back here for all the action!