Just two days after admitting to having "dead" legs, Jason Giambi's wheels were given no rest Monday night in an 8-2 win over the Boston Red Sox.
The Sox struck first when Kevin Youkilis opened the second inning with a home run to left off starter Dallas Braden, but Jack Cust returned the favor in the bottom half with a blast to center field. The A's immediately put two more runners aboard on a single by Kurt Suzuki and a hit batsman (Bobby Crosby). Boston starter Jon Lester came oh so close to limiting the damage, striking out Rajai Davis and Ryan Sweeney, but Orlando Cabrera dropped a base hit between Dustin Pedroia and J.D. Drew, scoring Suzuki to give the A's a 2-1 lead. Jason Giambi followed with an opposite-field 2-run, 2-bagger that barely evaded the mitt of Jason Bay, and the 38-year old hustled home with a nice slide- sore groins and all- on a base hit by Matt Holliday to make it 5-1.
Staked to a lead for the first time in 2009, Braden thanked his offense by setting the Sox down in order in the third.
Lester settled into a little bit of a groove after the second until Nomar Garciaparra poked a home run to left field in the fifth, in what had to be a very satisfying trip around the bases.
After having retired 11 of 12 batters, Braden allowed a run in the sixth before striking out Youkilis and getting Drew to fly out to center with two men on to end the threat. The southpaw hit the showers in the seventh having given up two runs on six hits, while walking one and striking out three in a solid effort.
Giambi was hit by a pitch with two outs in the seventh, and was off and running again on a triple by Holliday that- like Giambi's double in the second- just missed leather, this time past a diving Drew in right field.
Michael Wuertz and Santiago Casilla held the Sox in check with a scoreless inning each, in which they retired all six batters they faced combined.
The good guys tacked on another run in the eighth. Cust walked, Suzuki doubled, and Crosby drove in the former with a sacrifice fly.
Brad Ziegler shook off his troubles from Saturday (easy to do with an 8-2 lead, hmm?) by not allowing a Red Sox batter to reach base in a 1-2-3 ninth to seal the deal.
But the night belonged to the young (Braden, who evened his record at 1-1) and the old (Giambi, 2-for-3, 2 runs scored, 2 RBI's), as the A's improved to 3-4 on the season.