You don't really want to look too far into a win against the Royals, but this was surely one of those games that could catalyze a string of good play from this young club. It looked like a doomed prospect for the A's early on, as Greg Smith got hammered in the first two innings and Zach Greinke looked dominant (3 K's in the first two innings). Smith gave up a 3-run homer to former Athletic Jose Guillen in the first and then a solo shot to Miguel Olivo in the 2nd. But, as is his MO, Smith regained his composure in the following innings to limit the damage and keep the A's in the game, eventually going 5 innings, striking out four and only walking one.
From the 3rd inning on, the A's bats finally woke up, getting baserunners in scoring position in the 3rd and 4th before finally breaking through in the 5th, putting up a 3-spot on a double, a walk, a single, a botched ball from Tony Pena and another single. In the 6th, facing a new pitcher, the A's would score another one after singles by Barton and Sweeney. In the 7th, Kurt Klutch finally made an appearance, driving in Denorfia who had a double to lead off the inning. Then Barton drove-in Suzuki with a well-struck triple to right-center against a very tough lefty in Jimmy Gobbel that would conclude the scoring for the A's.
Geren's bullpen management proved fortuitious as a parade of guys (Devine, Embree and Street) held the Royals to one run in the final 4 innings to seal the victory.
This was truly a full-team effort victory for the Green and Gold as nearly everyone on the roster played a part, but the player of the game most certainly was Daric Barton. After botching a routine pop-up in the second that would have retired Miguel Olivo (who would launch the aforementioned solo shot on the next pitch) Barton looked determined at the plate, going 3-3 for in his next at-bats, with a single, double and a triple. You've got to love the toughness Barton showed in this game, immediately making up for his error and making it stick. And that was the difference in the game: the A's, battered early and leaving guys on base at an alarming rate, hanged tough and eventually broke through with good at-bats and timely hitting.
As per the game thread, I am finished making predictions, but I'll allow myself one more after this great victory: this is a victory to build off of, and don't surprised if the Green and Gold and Travis Buck come out strong tomorrow against rookie Luke Hochevar.