Final Score: A's 7, Rays 1
I am a motivator; it's what I do. All the grief I gave Dana Eveland this week about the fact that he gives up lots of hits and walks and only goes about 5 innings? Just hoping someone who knew someone who knew someone who knew Dana would see it, causing a chain of events that would end with Eveland being determined, motivated, a changed man in his quest to prove me - some blogger on the internet - wrong.
It kinda happened. Eveland only went 5+ innings, and he walked the leadoff man twice, but in general he was quite solid, limiting the Rays to 1 run on 4 hits before turning things over to the A's bullpen for 4 shutout innings of relief.
Meanwhile, after falling behind 1-0, the A's put up 4 runs in the bottom of the 2nd against Andy Sonnanstine, with a walk to Holliday followed by singles from Cust and Garciaparra - surprise, it came on the first pitch - and a two-run double by sizzling Suzuki. Ellis capped the rally with an RBI single.
In the 5th, the A's chased Sonnanstine and put the game away with 3 more, getting RBI singles from Cabrera and Holliday and a bases loaded walk to Suzuki. Every A's starter had at least one hit in the 10-hit attack.
I thought the A's had a great approach against Sonnanstine, often swinging at the first pitch instead of letting Sonnanstine get ahead in the count. Sonnanstine is a "get ahead, the best pitch you'll see is the first one" type of pitcher and the A's did not let him get away with centering a lot of first pitches.
Props to Michael Wuertz, who inherited a two on, nobody out mess in the 6th, coaxed a DP ground ball and went on to hurl 2 scoreless innings. Casilla (9 pitches) and Springer (2 Ks) each threw a perfect inning to close it out. If there has been a consistent positive in the first 17 games, it has to be the outstanding work of the A's bullpen. It would just be nice if they didn't have to pitch around 4 innings a game, but with the A's on route to Texas for their next series...don't wait up.