When's the last time the A's were at .800? Man, this season has been fun so far. Tonight, the A's finished off a sweep of the Angels in their own ballpark — the cumulative score for the series was 28-11. The A's hit six home runs, too. All without Josh Reddick.
Both pitchers were on their game early tonight, with A.J. Griffin and his mustache allowing just one run in 8 innings and notorious A's-killer Jason Vargas doing a fantastic job keeping the A's in check through 5 innings before getting bounced (and quite rudely, at that) in the 6th.
Oakland struck first, in the 3rd inning, after newcomer Andy Parrino made a fantastic first impression by doubling to left field on a sharp ground ball. Lowrie also singled on a grounder to left, scoring Parrino, and giving the A's a 1-0 lead after 2.5.
In the bottom of the 4th, Howie Kendrick took a hanging curveball from Griffin and lined it to left, scoring Josh Hamilton, who had reached base on a single earlier in the inning, which tied the game at 1.
Josh Donaldson put the A's in the lead in the 6th inning, doing a beautiful job of staying back on a lazy Vargas breaking ball and depositing the pitch about a foot over the left field fence, just out of the reach of Mike Trout. Andy Parrino followed Donaldson's act with a double, bringing up Coco Crisp.
Mike Scioscia curiously decided to walk Crisp in order to face Chris Young. Yeah...he walked Coco (batting righty) to face Young, a righty. His bold move didn't pay off — Young laced a double down the left field line, scoring two runs and putting the A's up 5-1.
The Mike Scioscia storyline will be an interesting one to follow this season, with posters on Halos Heaven already taking bets on how many months into the season he gets fired. That's definitely a tad premature, but there's no question that he's been out-managed this series, between his use of the Los Angeles bullpen, the call to intentionally walk Coco to pitch to Young, and more.
Yoenis Cespedes added a run in the 7th by just crushing a Sean Burnett fastball down the middle to left field — it ended up in the ivy that grows on the face of the Angels' ridiculous rock pile in left center field. It was a classic Cespedes blast, his third of the year.
The A's weren't satisfied, though. Derek Norris got hit by a pitch in the 9th, and did a great job hustling to 3rd base on Josh Donaldson's subsequent single. Seth Smith doubled down the right field line, and Howie Kendrick's error on the receiving end of the throw to second base allowed Donaldson to score, in addition to Norris. Smith was 4-5 for the night — so much for those of us who questioned Melvin for slotting him in at DH instead of Nate Freiman, for lefty/righty reasons.
On the pitching side, A.J. Griffin was absolutely fantastic tonight. He gave up 1 run (earned) on 5 hits, going 8 full innings. He walked 1, K'd 2, and despite giving up a few worrisome deep fly balls, generally looked great. That's the A's fourth starter, folks. Did I mention he grew a mustache? Personally, I'm not a fan, but keep it, A.J. It's obviously working. Overall A.J. wasn't absolutely dominant or anything like that, but it was a great effort, all the more encouraging given the way Jarrod Parker has looked in his first two outings.
Evan Scribner dispatched Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, and Mark Trumbo in order in the 9th, sealing the deal for Oakland and giving the green and gold its first three-game sweep in Anaheim since 2001. During Trumbo's at bat, you could here a HUGE "Let's Go Oakland" chant from the stands in Anaheim, which Angels fans tried to drown out with boos. Pretty awesome stuff.
The A's fly home late tonight, all set to begin a 3-game series against the defending AL Champion Detroit Tigers at the Coliseum. Bartolo Colon gets the start tomorrow for the A's, and Josh Reddick should be back in the lineup, just in case anyone is concerned about the A's home run-hitting abilities thus far this season. This team is red hot — it's going to be fun to see how long it lasts.