The A's get back to .500 tonight (and take over second place!) with a gem of a win, as Bartolo Colon and the A's finally, finally beat Felix Hernandez. This was a solid win for the A's, who displayed offense, defense, and actually quite a bit of grit and moxie, as they fought hard to get runs across the plate and even harder to keep the Mariners off the board.
Bartolo Colon (although he gave up some hard hit balls), ended the night with a seven inning, three hit, five strikeout performance that bested Felix Hernandez. Every single A's hitter (with the exception of Cespedes) had a hit tonight, and although the A's got lucky with a couple of calls, they would have won the game anyway.
The game started on an ominous note; it took Felix all of nine pitches, all strikes, to record the first three outs of the game. Colon labored in the first inning, allowing a single and a walk, but ultimately getting out of the inning. Seth Smith recorded the first A's hit off Felix, but was erased on a double-play.
The A's would get on the board in the third inning, as a broken-bat Barton single and a ringing double by Pennington (that nearly went out) scored their first run. After Jemile walked, Coco Crisp took what should have been a called strike three, but given new life; singled to Figgins (who bobbled the ball), and Pennington scored run number two. Despite leading off the fourth with a double and loading the bases with one out, the A's couldn't push across another run.
The score would hold until the 8th inning, when Reddick singled, stole second, and reached third on a passed ball. The Mariners walked Smith to face Suzuki, but Suzuki had a tough at-bat, and finally was rewarded with a sacrifice fly to increase the A's lead to 3-0.
The game-changing inning was the bottom of the 8th, as set-up man Ryan Cook came in and promptly walked the first two batters. However, the next hitter (Chone Figgins, of all people) grounded back to the mound. I have seen this play a number of times; the pitcher fields the ball, throws wildly to second base, the ball lands in the outfield, and all hell breaks loose. Cook calmly stabbed the ball, made a perfect throw, leading Pennington to the bag, who threw to first for the much-needed double-play.
The Weeks ninth inning homerun was gravy, as Balfour pitched a perfect ninth to finish the game, and give the A's the win in the series opener. This was a great game. Really.
The A's and Mariners face off again tomorrow night; 6:10PM, Milone against Noesi.