I'm so relieved that I had to scrap my original headline, which was "Parker Pitches Like Poo..." He did, but despite being down 5-0 early and despite Parker issuing 7 BBs in 5 IP, the Never Say Die A's came back to grab a season high 6 game lead in the AL West. It's unclear whether the A's could have pulled it off without some help from the Angels outfield, plenty of which they got at just the right times.
Parker walked the first 2 batters of the game, along with the last 2 he faced and 3 others in between. He was within a strike of surviving the 1st inning unscathed when Howie Kendrick banged an 0-2 pitch for an RBI single. Mark Trumbo followed with an RBI hit, Alberto Callaspo knocked home 2 more, and the A's faced a 4-0 deficit before they even came to bat. When Erick Aybar led off the 2nd with a triple and scored, it was 5-0.
However, Parker stopped giving up hits at this point, finishing the afternoon with 4 hitless frames as the A's came back against Tommy Hanson and the beleaguered Angels bullpen. Oakland got back in the game in the 3rd when Stephen Vogt walked and Eric Sogard doubled him home -- the first of 3 hits for Sogard. The A's wound up loading the bases with 2 outs for Yoenis Cespedes, with a 4-pitch walk to Brandon Moss setting the stage for Cespedes. Yoenis did not go up looking to take. He got a fastball and drilled it to left-center for a 2-run single that brought the A's to within 5-3
In the 5th, the A's tied it and chased Hanson. Coco Crisp walked, Jed Lowrie singled Crisp to 3B, and after Josh Donaldson struck out Moss bounced into a fielder's choice to bring home Crisp and cut the deficit to 5-4. That's when the Angels outfield made its first contribution.
Cespedes hit a high fly ball to right-center field. Mike Trout called for it, lost it in the sun, looked at RFer Cole Calhoun, Calhoun looked at Trout like "What?" the ball dropped, and Moss scored the tying run.
The Angels did briefly retake the lead in the 6th, but even in that inning things rolled pretty well for the A's. Parker walked the first 2 batters and was yanked in favor of Jesse Chavez, who got J.B. Shuck to fly out to CF. Erick Aybar's double gave Los Angeles a 6-5 lead and left runners at 2B and 3B with only one out and Mike Trout batting. Chavez struck out Trout, then retired Josh Hamilton on a fly ball to LF, and gave the A's a chance to come back again. Thanks in part to the Angels' outfield again.
Batting against J.C. Gutierrez, Seth Smith didn't get out of his now 0 for 29 funk but he did draw a key 9-pitch BB to open the inning. Vogt then lofted a high fly ball to left-center. Trout and Hamilton converged, they looked at each other, the ball dropped, Trout and Hamilton clipped each other (that's a 15-yard penalty), the ball rolled behind Hamilton, Smith scored to tie it at 6-6, and Vogt stood at 2B with nobody out.
Sogard lined a single to CF to score Vogt and give the A's their first lead, 7-6. One out later, Lowrie doubled into the RF corner to score Sogard, winding up at 3B when Calhoun couldn't dig the ball out of the RF corner. Mike Scioscia thought he would try another reliever, Kevin Jepsen, but Jepsen walked Donaldson and Moss drilled an RBI single to score Lowrie. Finally, Cespedes drove one to right-center -- that's correct, right-center -- a laser to the gap. Calhoun made a valiant and desperate dive but missed it, Donaldson scored, the A's had a 5-run inning and a 10-6 lead.
Chavez, Doolittle, and Otero took it from there, Chavez credited with the win for his 2 shutout innings. The A's survive a subpar effort from Parker (5 IP, 5 hits, 6 ER, 7 BB, 3 K) and in winning the series pretty much bury the Angels at 13 games out.
If there's a best part of this day, it's probably the batting of Yoenis Cespedes. Along with the line shots sizzled to LF and right-center, in his last AB Cespedes drove a ball that took Trout right to the CF wall. That's using the whole field, and he came up big when the A's really needed him to. Hopefully, it's a game he can build on.
With the Rangers losing earlier today, 6-0 to the Indians, Oakland takes a 6-game lead into the upcoming series with the Toronto Blue Jays. A.J. Griffin vs. Esmil Rogers at 7:05pm tomorrow night. Who knows what these Amazing A's will pull off next...