So in case you missed it this afternoon, Texas just about hung double-digits on Felix Hernandez in their game, en route to a sweep of the Mariners, well before the A's started their game. Wouldn't it be nice to score 12 runs in a single ballgame against a great pitcher, we all lamented, as the A's got into the box, ready to pick up where they left last night. Well, the joke was on us, as the A's picked up their sticks and banged out twenty-one hits and fourteen runs against Doug Fister and the Tigers' bullpen, exorcizing demons along the way and probably raising their collective batting averages a tick. There is so much to sum up, but the offensive hero of the night was clearly Brandon Moss, who went 4-5 with 6 RBI in today's game. You know all those runners we've been leaving in scoring position? We might have rescued them tonight. I can't be positive, but I think the Detroit announcers, in one of about six rants of despair about our Oakland Athletics, said that we only left 4 in scoring position tonight. We sent a lot of them home; 14 runs will do that for us. The only starter not to record a hit was ironically, Coco Crisp, who has been the offensive hero all week. The rest of the team picked him up as Donaldson went 3-4 with 2 RBI, Lowrie went 3-5 with an RBI, Moss went 4-5 with 6 RBI, Cespedes went 2-5 with an RBI, Barton went 1-4, Callaspo went 3-5 with an RBI, Sogard went 2-5 with an RBI, and Suzuki went 3-5 with an RBI. Have a night, Oakland!
Most importantly, the A's have strung 3 wins together in a row, taking out the fantastic pitching triad of the Detroit Tigers, with one pitcher left to rough up. The A's will be gunning for Scherzer (no small feat) tomorrow morning as they try to make it four in a row against the best pitching staff in the AL. These were not small victories, and it says a lot about the A's that they took all of the stress off the fans; this game was over from nearly the moment that it started; once Straily cleared the second, third and fourth innings, nothing mattered anymore. And you want to hear something funny? Straily pitched his six innings, and Brett Anderson, of all pitchers, closed and saved the game, pitching the three required innings for the save. He was fabulous in the seventh and ninth, and I promise, no one noticed the three runs Detroit scored in the eighth. When you have a 14-1 lead, you don't stress even a grand slam.
So how did we get here, to stress-free baseball? I'll tell you. The game started out innocuously enough; the A's stranded a one-out double by Donaldson and the Tigers stranded a one-out single in the first inning. Then the A's remembered that they left the bases loaded with no one out the last time they took the field (and I have a text message saying that they should be spotted the bases loaded in this one...spooky) and they did just that in the second. Cespedes opened the inning with a single, followed by a single by Barton and a single by Callaspo to load the bases with no one out. Did I mention the weirdest stat of the night? The A's collected zero walks. That's right; everything they did tonight, they did. They hit their way to 14 runs without any extra baserunners. That's awesome. So the singles brigade kept rolling in the second; Sogard singled a run in and Suzuki singled a run in. Put that together with Donaldson's sac fly and the A's held a 3-0 lead.
Straily did his best to follow suit in the second, giving up 3 singles of his own, but a well-timed double-play in between the hits (turned gorgeously by Eric Sogard) kept the Tigers scoreless. He would give up a homerun to Torii Hunter in the third, but it was a solo job, and despite two more singles, the Tigers wouldn't score more. The only two walks of the game were issued in the fourth, but another double-play kept the Tigers off the board. The score was 3-1, going to the fifth, and that's the last time the Tigers would be within a touchdown of the A's. And if you don't think I'm going to go through all of the A's runs, you're crazy. I've waited too long for this game.
With one out, back-to-back singles by Donaldson and Lowrie put runners at 1st and 3rd, and instead of leaving them there, the A's brought them home, adopted them, loved them, hugged them, squeezed them and called them George. Indeed, Brandon Moss' double brought Donaldson in to increase the score to 4-1 A's. Cespedes looked every bit like the player we want him to be as he singled in the A's 5th run, Callaspo singled in the A's 6th run, and Sogard singled in the A's 7th run. In fact, the only reason the Tigers even got out of the fifth was that they threw out Callaspo at third. The A's didn't make the out at the plate, and never would have.
Although the fun was over for Fister, it was just getting started for the A's. Kurt Suzuki greeted Fister's replacement, Alvarez, with a single and moved to second on a passed ball. Lowrie doubled him in for the A's 8th run, setting up for Moss' first homerun, plating the A's 9th and 10th run. They rested in the seventh, but were right back at the Tigers' 'pen in the eighth. Suzuki doubled to lead off this inning, and Donaldson singled him in for the 11th run. The Tigers put in someone called Smyly, and he was, at least for the A's. Lowrie doubled Donaldson to third, bringing up Moss again. He needed a triple for the cycle, but his second homerun was so much more fabulous. Enter runs 12, 13 and 14, and finally, finally, the A's were done scoring.
The first three games of this series have been so surprising, so fun, so, well, playoff baseball, that it wouldn't seem right not to go for the sweep tomorrow. And here we are. Bartolo Colon, hopefully well-rested and first-half-likeness will take on Max Scherzer at 10:00AM, so have your work coffee and listen to some A's baseball. A's for the sweep; tomorrow morning. LET'S GO OAK-LAND!