In what was a nice nod to the ultimate base-stealer during his "month", Rajai Davis made a bid to showcase his talent with two walks in the leadoff spot (to offset his 0-3), wreaking havoc on the basepaths. He stole an A's run by inducing a two-base error from a throw-over, and he put himself in scoring position again by stealing second and third later in the game. (Cust and Ellis also stole bases in the game.)
But the night really belonged to Gio Gonzalez. Emboldened by his recent successful outings at Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park, Gio took that success home to shut out the Rangers tonight, pitching almost seven innings and striking out seven; allowing only three hits.
Mark Ellis went 3-4 tonight with 3 RBI's on what had to be the luckiest set of hits I've ever seen from a single player in a game.
After Kurt Suzuki's solo homerun in the very first inning set the tone for the offense tonight; Ellis made with the magic. In the second inning, his easy ground ball struck first base to score Everidge, who was on second with a double, to increase the A's lead to 2-0. In the fourth, with the bases loaded, Ellis' could-have-been-a-DP didn't end up getting anyone out; scoring the third run. Rajai Davis stole the fourth run in the fifth inning; driven in by a Hairston sac fly, and in the eighth, Ellis singled on a bad throw by the second baseman to bring Everidge in, who was on second with a double, again. Pennington singled to drive in the sixth run, just for good measure.
Gio Gonzalez was absolutely fantastic, and at one point had retired 10 batters in a row. This was stretched to 11, thanks to a marvelous catch by Jack Cust. Yes, you read that right. Cust ran back on a smoked ball, and caught it up against the wall, in what was really a great play.
Gio had the no-hitter going until two outs in the fifth, and there were certainly times he appeared unhittable. This is a nice change from the Gio we've seen in the past, and hopefully a trend for the future. He also lowered his ERA by a full point tonight, after Ziegler came in with two outs in the seventh to finish his line.
In the eighth, the A's took no chances in the outfield with the 4-0 lead, replacing Hairston and Cust with Patterson and Sweeney. Ziegler started the inning with a double and a single that Ryan Sweeney picked up off the short hop, but probably should have caught outright. He was replaced by Wuertz, who did nothing much except strike out the next two batters to end the inning.
Everyday Breslow closed the ninth inning out to send the fans home happy.
As was mentioned today, by Susan Slusser (thanks micdog2001):
**UPDATE**GM Billy Beane just confirmed that it’s a roster issue that’s keeping Jason Giambi on the DL tonight. The team’s still weighing its options, but Giambi is essentially good to go. So speculation below, in the original post, still stands – this could be very interesting if the A’s don’t just simply send Tommy Everidge down.
Another possibility: The team might go with 11 pitchers briefly if Dallas Braden has to go on the DL and if Edgar Gonzalez makes the start. Usually, the A’s could have counted on someone else being hurt by now and making the move for them. Braden is hurt, which fits, especially considering how random the problem is – that’s very Oakland A’s – but that doesn’t clear a first-base spot.
As iglew pointed out in the game thread, Rotoworld thinks this is an easy call:
The A's are weighing their options as to who they'll send down. It seems pretty obvious to us: Tommy Everidge, the 26-year-old first baseman they called up in Giambi's absence, is just 7-for-28. But perhaps they've really lost that much faith in "The Giambino" as a starting option.
iglew: ZOMG, only 7-for-28? That’s a crappy batting average of .250! Does it not also seem obvious to you, Roto, that .250 is actually good on this team? Yeah, let’s get rid of Everidge (.250) to make room for Crosby (.219) Giambi (.193), or Barton (.147)!
You can add two more hits to that total tonight, which does make Tommy Time one of our better hitters, and in a somewhat unusual abberation for Rotoworld, they don't appear to take into account that almost half of Tommy's hits have been for extra bases, including his two doubles tonight. Maybe I'm out on a limb, but I love seeing Everidge in the lineup, and there are at least half a dozen players I'd jettison before him.
The A's try to win three straight from the Rangers tomorrow, but they will not have their ace on the mound to do it. Dallas Braden has been sidelined with a rash on his foot (incongruous to me with the pitcher who took a batted ball of his person and stayed in the game) and will miss tomorrow's start. Chad Reineke will be called up to take his place; stay tuned for roster news!