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Eight IS Enough! First Inning Asplosion Piñs Loss On Joel

"No offense, Joel, but I'm putting myself in."
"No offense, Joel, but I'm putting myself in."

It might be a bit much to say that the A's brought their bats to the park today, because for a while they could have done just as well without one. Joel Piñeiro walked the first three batters of the game, Weeks, Crisp, and Willingham, and it wouldn't get better for the Angels' right-hander.

No, Hideki Matsui did not launch his 500th HR as a grand slam, but he did pull a sharp grounder into right field to score Weeks and Crisp. Sizemore walked to reload the bases, and then David DeJesus, perhaps feeling a pang of pity for Piñeiro, tried to make the inning's first out with a sharp bouncer to 1B. Mark Trumbo, who won't win any Rookie of the Year awards for his glove, threw home, or rather vaguely in the direction of home, short-hopping the plate around the left handed batter's box, and not getting anyone. Conor Jackson then delivered the crowning blow: A grand slam to make it 7-0, the first time the Oakland A's have scored 7 runs before making a single out.

When Kurt Suzuki bounced out, it was the only out Piñeiro would get. A Pennington double, a Weeks RBI single, and the Angels turned to their bullpen for 7.2 IP of mop-up duty.

Meanwhile, Gio Gonzalez was "All-Star good" in blanking the Angels for 7 innings. In the top of the 1st -- and remember at this point the game was scoreless -- a bloop single and strikeout were followed by Torii Hunter's two hopper to SS and what should have been a routine 6-4-3 DP. However, in the transfer from glove to bare hand Pennington bobbled the ball and wound up unable to get an out anywhere.

In Texas last week, "2009 Gio" showed up and got flustered by an Adam Rosales error at SS, serving up a grand slam later in the inning. Today, Gio struck out Vernon Wells and Howie Kendrick, striking out the side, then struck out the side again in the 2nd. Gonzalez settled for 8 Ks, but kept the Angels off the board before giving way to Jerry Blevins for the 8th and 9th. An unearned run in the 9th broke the shutout but left the A's 9-1 winners in the game and 3-1 winners in the series.

All in all, a great day and a fine start to the "second half" for the green and gold. Apparently, on '80s Throwback Day, Oakland decided to relive the late '80s, not the mid '80s. Onto Detroit for a two-game series Tuesday and Wednesday, sandwiched by two off days Monday and Thursday. Why two off days within a week of a four-day All-Star break? Don't ask qvestions.