The A's came into the game today desperately needing a win as badly as they have all season, and pulled off the feat convincingly. Bartolo Colon was at his strike-throwing best, throwing only 21 balls all evening and keeping the Angels off-balance with his two-seamer and cutter. C.J. Wilson, meanwhile, continued his penchant for walks: coming into the day 5th in the AL in BB/9, he added 5 walks over 5 IP. Indeed, the A's definitely Matlock'ed him up all evening, consistently laying off the outside pitches, surely much to Wilson's chagrin.
Jonny Gomes opened the scoring in the 1st inning, lining an 0-2 pitch into the BBQ Terrace in LF with one out. The A's would load the bases in the inning, actually, but Derek Norris would be called out on strikes to end the frame. That was actually one of three times Norris would come to bat with the bases loaded in the game. His next time up, in the 3rd inning, is when things started to fall apart for the Halos. Norris hit what appeared to be a routine double-play chopper to 3B, but Alberto Callaspo completely muffed it, allowing the ball to go into left field, scoring Yoenis Cespedes and Chris Carter. A sacrifice fly by Adam Rosales, and an RBI triple for Jemile Weeks (batting right-handed!) would make it 5-0 A's after 3. In the 4th, Norris would again hit with the bases loaded, this time grounding out to Wilson himself on his 93rd pitch of the night. Indeed, Wilson would only make it through 5 complete tonight; his final inning consisted of a Coco Crisp double to the LF gap, a steal of 3rd, and an RBI infield single by Gomes to make it 6-0.Meanwhile, Colon was dealing, retiring the side in order in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 6th innings. He would exit after 7, allowing only 4 hits and striking out 5 (including Mike Trout twice). The A's would continue the scoring in the 6th, getting a two-out infield hit from Brandon Inge and a towering 2-run home run by Derek Norris that was briefly under review but very clearly a homerun by Coliseum ground rules (the ball hit atop the scoreboard and bounced back onto the field). Adam Rosales would follow with a line drive HR of his own to make it 9-0, and Josh Reddick would hit a towering blast in the 7th to bring the A's to double digit runs.
The Angels would add meaningless single runs in the 7th and 8th innings, on a Maicer Izturis single and an (admittedly) impressive Mike Trout homerun to the camera well in dead center. Indeed, once the A's scored 9, Mike Scioscia promptly went to garbage time mode, bringing in Vernon Wells and Peter Bourjos for Torii Hunter and Albert Pujols, respectively. Yes, folks, that's a $21M/year defensive replacement right there. Not to mention a criminal underuse of one of the best defensive CFs in baseball.
All in all, it added up to a great night for the green and gold, save for the struggles of Travis Blackley. He gave up the crush job to Trout, as well as a two-run HR to Erick Aybar with 1 out in the 9th. Indeed, were it not for a highlight reel robbery by Crisp of a Kendrys Morales drive to CF with no outs, he would have given up 3 HR. Not the way to end the game, but he did do his job of saving the more seasoned bullpen arms. At least he finished in style, handing Trout the silver sombrero on a 93 MPH high-and-outside fastball. I suppose he has to get used to being a short-use reliever and all.
Join baseballgirl tomorrow for the obligatory 12:35 start. It promises to be a great matchup: A's rookie starter and pro baseball K leader Dan Straily will face recent Angels' acquisition Zach Greinke. See you there!