While the A's only had 2 errors on paper, miscues by Chris Young in right field and Scott Sizemore at second base directly led to 3 Angel runs in their half of the 6th. The A's would answer right back, though, scoring 5 times in the top of the 7th on a John Jaso two-out pinch-hit three-run home run, and a Brandon Moss two-run shot two batters later. The bullpen then settled down, as Ryan Cook, Sean Doolittle, and Grant Balfour came on to get the last 9 outs of the game.
Way back around the time of the Clinton administration - or so it seemed - C.J. Wilson and Jarrod Parker started this game and both were pretty miserable. The A's definitely executed the lawyerball plan tonight, choosing to start with two outs in the top of the 1st. After Jed Lowrie and Yoenis Cespedes walked, Derek Norris punched a single up the middle to give the A's an early 1-0 lead. A Donaldson single loaded the bases for Brandon Moss, who dunked a donut into right in front of Josh Hamilton for a 3-0 lead. Wilson would walk Nate Freiman and get Scott Sizemore to ground into a force out, but not before he threw 40+ pitches.
Jarrod Parker came on for his half of the inning, and promptly loaded the bases on two walks and a single. It did look like Wilson was getting squeezed a little in the top of the inning, and Parker got a similar small zone. Not that it would have mattered, because he simply could not locate his fastball all night. Nevertheless, Parker escaped the inning unscathed as he struck out Hamilton on three change-ups (Parker's only K of the night) and got Mark Trumbo to ground into a 5-4-3 double play. Parker threw 74 pitches tonight, only 40 of which were strikes, and was lucky to only give up 2 runs on the 9 hits and 3 walks he allowed. Were it not for a sparkling over-the-shoulder catch in deep left field by Cespdes that started a 7-5-3 DP in the third, he would have fared worse. Wilson, however, settled down, but not before Crisp's home run to left leading off the 2nd made it 4-0. He went on to have an okay outing over 6 innings, allowing 6 hits, striking out 7, and walking 3.
It would be Chris Resop who followed Parker, and got out of the 4th unscored upon. In the 4th also, not only did Erick Aybar leave with a left heel contusion, but Scott Sizemore left the game after misplaying a bloop over his head for a single. To be fair, Chris Young probably got a poor jump on the ball, but that's not the real issue here. Sizemore apparently sprained his left knee -- the surgically-repaired one -- on the play, and hobbled off the field. While Eric Sogard came into to replace him, and we won't hear more about his condition until after the game, it looked like a DL-worthy injury to me. At least, if he gets injured, 2B is one position the A's have tons of depth at. Grant Green, Jemile Weeks, or Andy Parrino could each get the call if necessary.
Resop pitched an uneventful 5th, giving way to Pat Neshek to start the 6th. He promptly gave up a triple to Mike Trout, and allowed what looked like a routine fly ball by Brendan Harris to right field. For a guy learning right, though, it was not routine, and Young dropped it, allowing Trout to score and Brendan Harris to make it to second on the error. Now, Young is an accomplished CF, and moving him to RF with Reddick out for the series makes sense in theory. In practice, however, corner spots change the fielder's perspective on the way the ball comes off the bat. It's not a given, in my opinion, that a good CF can slot into a corner immediately. Of course, now that I have said that, the next play wasn't any better. Lowrie, a natural SS, booted a routine groundball from Albert Pujols. After a sacrifice fly from Hamilton tied the game at 4, and Jerry Blevins came on to relieve Neshek, he got one out before Young had another misplay again due to his inexperience in RF. He took a poor cutoff route to Howie Kendrick's routine base hit, and allowed it to roll into the corner for a triple, giving the Angels a 5-4 lead.
From here on out, it would be a battle of the bullpens. With Wilson at 110 pitches, Scott Downs came in with hopes of setting the A's down in order. Coco Crisp led off the 7th with an infield single, but Downs came back to strikeout a flailing Young, and got Lowrie on a shallow fly to CF. Kevin Jepsen entered and allowed Crisp's first steal of the year, and gave way to Kevin Jepsen. He threw several high fastballs, and ultimately allowed a walk to Cespedes. With Downs now out, though, Bob Melvin was free to use John Jaso, a known righty masher, in a pinch-hitting role for Norris. Advantage: Melvin. Jaso killed a high-and-inside pitch that hit the top of that short wall in right-field and bounced over for a home run. After a Donaldson single, Brandon Moss then took Jepsen deep into the right-field pavilion, over the high wall for a 9-5 A's lead.
Enter the A's bullpen. As they showed at the end of last year, the Cook-Doolittle-Balfour combination can be lethal in late-game situations. Those three combined for 3.2 IP, no runs, 2 hits, 1 walk, and 3 K's. Unequivocally, the A's bullpen is an advantage against the Angels, and they showed it today in closing out the A's sixth consecutive win.
Tomorrow, the A's face our old friend, Cupcakes Joe Blanton. He gave up 3 HR in his Angels debut last week; the O/U on HR tomorrow is set at 4. He will face Tommy Milone.