Try and savor the moment because the A's are officially tied for first place in the AL West. At least until the Rangers play tonight.
It's tough to give credit for a game to one player, but Dan Johnson would come very close this game. The man was 4-4 and now has a 1.428 OPS for the month of June. Esteban Loaiza pitched well enough to win despite the rough second inning (albeit he had to get five outs that inning).
But the A's have now won seven in a row and are a ML best 11-2 in June. This is going into interleague play, where the A's have traditionally excelled. For some unexplainable reason, the A's have dominated the Mariners this season, going 9-1, winning the last nine against the team from the Emerald City. If the M's just split the series than the division looks awfully different.
But let's talk about DJ for a moment. Many, including myself, were calling for DJ to be sent down to Sacramento to get his swing back. This is why I'm glad that I don't have anything to say about the decision-making with the team because patience is not just a virtue when it comes to baseball, but it's a necessity. Especially when there isn't a better option elsewhere (Daric Barton's injury might've had an impact on this). Because the natural tendency of the fan is to overreact to the minute details rather than view the big picture. The truth is that the A's might've been close to doing just that with DJ, but we'll never know. One thing is for sure is that the A's need DJ to produce, especially being without Big Hurt over the next two weeks.
Johnson was basically the difference today with four runs driven in in key situations. Bobby Kielty also deserves credit as the former clown now is hitting .282 on the season, and newsflash, he's hitting from the left side. If he can do it from the right side against left handed pitching like he has in the past, he suddenly becomes a serious candidate for regular playing time.
Loaiza pitched fairly well, even though he wasn't as dominant as he was in Cleveland and the usually unflappable A's defense came unglued a little bit. Maybe I put too much pressure on them by calling it out last night? Regardless, it's good that Loaiza is now contributing to the team and stopping the cries of a public hanging. Although that might come once he gets his day in court for the DUI.
A couple of lineup changes by Macha went two different ways today. Payton, moved to the three-hole, produced well against Washburn and Scutaro, who had had success against the former Angels pitcher, went 0-5. But I don't mind if Macha is going to make out the lineup to whatever opposing pitcher the A's face. I won't complain about that. Also, the A's avoided using Calero today, which is also nice since he's been so taxed this year.
And one final thought: how many times do you think A's fans will have to see the Gibson home run this weekend? Dear God, spare me that. Come to think of it, I probably will be spared that considering most of the games are on KICU. Phew.