Josh Reddick, the unquestioned A's first-half MVP, provided the knockout blow this afternoon at the Coliseum. Weeks led off the 13th with a solid RHB single to RF off of Oliver Perez, and Reddick came up not waiting around. He took a 93 MPH sinker to left center, slicing away from Michael Saunders, and all the way to the wall. Weeks scored without a throw, as the A's head into the all-star break as winners.
It started as another 2012 A's and Mariners special this afternoon, despite the throwback uniforms. Both Felix Hernandez and Bartolo Colon were on their games tonight, pumping two-seam fastballs for strikes. Felix had the offspeed pitches working as well, throwing the hard changeup, inducing 6 K's and 8 GB's from A's hitters. Colon was his usual efficient self, working through 8.2 innings on only 93 pitches, 79 strikes, and inducing 12 GBs and fanning 5 Mariners.
Now, I'm going to write a lot to make it look like this was an offensively-driven game but in reality this is where I make a lot of words out of few runs. In the first, after a leadoff singles by Crisp (trade value rising!) and Weeks (sophomore slump! :( ), Reddick unintentionally moved them both to 2nd and 3rd by grounding out to Smoak. Cespedes then came through with an infield single to Ryan, making it 1-0 A's early. Unfortunately, however, after Smith struck out swinging, Cespedes jammed his thumb stealing 2nd base. What's worse, the steal would ultimately be fruitless, as Moss popped out to the end the inning. He would stay in to play defense, but eventually be lifted for Gomes and diagnosed with a left thumb sprain. So, I suppose we will see him again in August? In all seriousness, while I'd like to think Cespedes has simply had a string of freak injuries, it is possible he is injury-prone. That doesn't bode well for the A's, who need him as a fixture in the middle of the lineup for years to come.The Mariners would score in the 6th after two were out. Ackley singled to right, and then Ichiro looped a BABIP monster-approved single approximately one nanometer fair over Inge's head. Michael Saunders promptly replicated Ackley's single with one of his own, typing the game at 1-all. The M's would threaten again in the 7th and 9th, both times getting runners to 3rd with two outs and both times for Miguel Olivo. Olivo failed to come through both times, grounding out to Pennington and striking out on a vicious slider from Ryan Cook, respectively.
The first extra frame proved to be a frustrating one for the A's. While Cook pitched a 1-2-3 top of the 10th, the A's got a leadoff hit from Pennington in the bottom half. Of course, things unraveled after. Crisp attempted a sacrifice, but bunted it too hard back to the pitcher, who nailed Pennington at 2nd on the force. Crisp was then picked off 1st. Despite a Weeks walk, steal, and advance to 3rd on a wild pitch, Gomes was until unable to come through after Reddick was intentionally walked to get to him.
The teams traded zeros until the 13th. The M's got a seagull-induced double off the bat of Michael Saunders in the top of the 13th with two outs, but that was quickly erased by an excellent running pick and throw by Weeks and a stretch by Carter. Reddick's heroics would follow in the 13th, ending the affair and giving the A's a .500 record going into the break. Who would have thought?