It wasn't pretty. The Blue Angels constantly flew over, clearly to the annoyance of Korach and Cotroneo. It took 3 hours and 35 minutes. The pitching staff allowed 7 runs and 10 hits. Despite this, the A's did manage to sweep the Indians today using mostly raw power. They hit 4 HRs (Coco Crisp, Cliff Pennington, Josh Reddick, and Josh Donaldson), had 13 hits, and were the beneficiaries of 6 Indians walks. It always seems to be a different formula: two days ago, the A's struck out 16 times, and today they only K'ed 5 times. The normally solid pitching was just okay today, as Jarrod Parker struggled through 5 innings, 8 hits, 3 walks, and 3 K's. A's pitchers walked 7 Indians today, actually, as the bullpen wasn't much better. That said, Evan Scribner, Jerry Blevins, and Jim Miller did manage to save the top guys for the upcoming Red Sox series.
The A's clearly had a plan against Justin Masterson today, as the lineup was stacked with left-handers. Chris Carter sat initially in favor of Brandon Moss, George Kotteras started in place of Norris, and Yoenis Cespedes and Josh Donaldon were the only right-handed swinging starters Bob Melvin had in there. The game got off to an inauspicious start, as Jason Kipnis led off with a home run to right center. Indeed, Parker would struggle with his control early (and often), going to several 3 ball counts in the first inning. Parker would end up with only 57 of his 101 pitches for strikes. Some of it was an inconsistent strike zone, but some of it was Parker just not having his best stuff. Masterson, on the other hand, was sharp initially, retiring 8 of the first 9 batters he faced. In the 3rd, though, Crisp would tie the game with a solo HR of his own. The A's took the lead in the 4th, as Cespedes singled and two walks to Seth Smith and Donaldson, respectively, loaded the bases. Kotteras stepped up and cleared the bases, giving the A's a 4-1 lead. The next batter, Pennington, laced an HR of his own to make it 6-1.
An Ezekiel Carrera single, SB, and Jack Hannahan single made it 6-2 Indians in their half of the 4th. Of course, the A's answered right back in the 5th. Stephen Drew singled, and Josh Reddick powered Masterson's offering into the right-field seats, giving the A's an 8-2 lead, and knocking him out of the game. The Indians would score a single run in the bottom of the frame on a Shin-Shoo Choo groundout, and the A's would again answer back. This time, a Pennington single, Crisp double, and a Drew sacrifice fly made it 9-3 A's, and Reddick added a rocket of a single past Casey Kotchman to get the A's into double-figures. A single and a double in the bottom of the 6th chased Parker for Scribner, who really wasn't any better. He walked 2 batters, allowed one hit, and didn't do well as a garbage time reliever today. By the time the inning ended, it was 9-6 A's, and the Indians seemed to have some momentum.
Not to be outdone, of course, Tony Sipp came in, got the first out and the walked the bases loaded. A Carter SF made it 11-6 A's, and Sipp walked Crisp to earn himself a hook in favor of Joe Smith. Smith struck out Drew to end the inning. In the bottom of the 7th, Jerry Blevins decided it was his turn to join the walk parade (Santana and Carrera), and so the original garbage time reliever, Jim Miller came in to hose out the fire. After allowing a single to Lou Marson, he did get out of the inning. Indeed, Miller proved to be the bullpen team B answer, as he threw 2.1 scoreless innings. A Donaldson HR in the 9th, and a strike out of Jack Hannahan capped off the crazy contest.
So, the A's got enough offense, and were able to save the bullpen team A for the Red Sox series. Despite trading away Gonzalez et al, the Sawx still have Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, and some other guys. Can't let up now, especially with the White Sox not doing us any favors against the Orioles lately. Brandon McCarthy and Aaron Cook will face off tomorrow evening back in Oakland, as the A's look to continue this road trip's winning ways. It's a 7:05 PM PST start.
p.s. - 16 GAMES OVER .500!!
p.p.s - How does Bob Melvin NOT win Manager of the Year? For that mater, how does Billy Beane NOT win Executive of the Year?