On the 11th anniversary of the famous walk-off home run by Scott Hatteberg that capped off the A's 20th win in a row, the 2013 A's put up 11 runs of their own on this September 4th game, but this time held on to the sizable lead, allowing the Rangers 4 runs, but no more. Lost in the barrage of runs from the sixth inning on was the pitcher's duel of the first five innings, a dramatic 3-2 game, highlighted by Jarrod Parker throwing out Jurickson Profar at the plate in the fifth to keep the lead for the A's. That was a particularly fitting moment for A's fans, as Profar celebrated his hit last night as if the Rangers had won the West. They might want to look again. The A's, with their lucky four home runs, are officially making a bid for the Division; they are tied with the Rangers today after making up ground all week with a sweep of the Rays and a series win against Texas. For a series that could have sent the A's to as many as four games behind the Rangers, the A's powered up and clawed their way to a share of first place, no games behind anybody.
Jarrod Parker racked up his 11th win in today's game; he hasn't been beaten in 18 games, and the A's only hope this continues well into October, as he emerges as the ace of the 2013 season. He only pitched six innings today, but it was perfect enough as he gave way to Brett Anderson, who recorded another 3-inning save. Meanwhile, the A's destroyed Yu Darvish, forcing six walks and five earned runs in his five plus innings. "Beat the Ace" seems to be the battle-cry of late August, early September as the A's keep rolling along, this time from the lofty perch high above the American League West.
The A's got on the board in the very first inning as Lowrie was issued a two-out walk and Moss followed it up with a 2-run home run. Both Moss and Crisp are positively red-hot. This would be the first of three hits that would punish Darvish for his wildness today. The A's would add on in the third as Barton and Sogard both walked to lead off the inning, Vogt advanced Barton to third, and Coco would hit a sac fly to give the A's a 3-0 lead. Parker worried us a bit in the Ranger's third as a single, double and a single plated two, and moved Texas to within a run, but the A's ran away and hid after what would have been the third Texas run was thrown out at the plate during a stressful fifth inning.
The A's opened the bottom of the sixth with yet another walk from Darvish (Callaspo), and he scored on a home run by...wait for it...DARIC. BARTON. who gave the A's some breathing room at 5-2. Darvish was pulled from the game, so the A's carved up the bullpen instead. Sogard would single, Vogt would double, Coco singled Sogard in, and Josh Donaldson hit a three-run home run, blowing the game wide open and capping off the A's six-run sixth. I like six run sixth innings, Fox in Socks.
Brett Anderson started the seventh inning with a minor fire; a double and two singles scored the Rangers' third run, and even though no one panicked yet; we've all seen an 11-run lead disappear before. Luckily, the pitcher's best friend, the double play, took care of the Rangers, and they would score just one more on a Geovany Soto solo HR.
But the A's weren't done. Just for fun, in the eighth, Vogt doubled and Coco hit another home run, his eighteenth of the year. A couple of cameo appearances were made in the inning: Andy Parrino got an at-bat (fly out), so did Jemile Weeks (strikeout). But the damage was done, the A's take the series, and tie the Rangers for first place.
No rest for the streaking A's; the Houston Astros come into town tomorrow night at 7:05 to decide the fate of the American League West. This is the team that beat the A's in the last series match-up, and it is the team that will determine the AL West winner, so the A's had better play them like they are the Tigers, the Rays or the Rangers. A familiar name will pitch for the Astros tomorrow; Brad Peacock will take the mound against Sonny Gray. No mercy; LET'S GO OAK-LAND!