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Gio Bounces Back, Allen & Willingham Provide The Thunder

John McDonald had an E (I-E-I-O).
John McDonald had an E (I-E-I-O).

Two nights in a row, early in the top of the 1st the game had the look of a potential Blue Jays route. Unlike Harden, who loaded up the bases and then struck out the side, Gio Gonzalez didn't escape the 1st unscathed -- but he limited the damage to one run, left the bases loaded, and then proceeded to mow down the Jays the rest of the evening. Gonzalez struck out 9 in 8 innings and combined with Andrew Bailey on a 4-hitter.

Meanwhile, the A's scored in a variety of ways. Oakland tied it in the bottom of the 1st on three consecutive hits: a double by Cliff Pennington, infield single by Coco Crisp, and RBI single by Hideki Matsui. The A's took the lead 2-1 on a DP ground ball, following a 1st & 3rd nobody out opportunity created on an error by the normally reliable John McDonald. Run #3 came in the 8th courtesy of a long double to left-center by Brandon Allen, his second hit of the night, and an RBI single from Ryan Sweeney. That easy swing, generating off-field power, is one of the reasons I'm so excited about Allen's potential. In Allen and Willingham, the A's have two hitters whose power actually play fine at the Coliseum. Speaking of which, the last two runs? A pinch-hit 2-run bomb by Josh Willingham, his by-far-team-leading 22nd of the season. A nice introduction to the fireworks that Elvis is serenading on this AN Day.

All in all, a 10-hit day for the A's offense, with two each from Coco Crisp, Matsui and Allen, a gem from Gio to snap his 5-game losing streak, a SB by Weeks, an efficient 10-pitch 1-2-3 9th from Bailey, and pristine defense. And fireworks. And Elvis. Not bad, eh?