The A's win! The A's win! The A's have evened their record at .500 behind a masterful start by Scott Kazmir in his Oakland debut; the second A's starter in a row to blank the Indians. Kazmir pitched into the 8th inning today, throwing 94 pitches in a fantastic performance. He allowed just three hits, walked no one, and struck out 5 in a tidy gem, saving the bullpen for Game 2.
Meanwhile, the A's did what they couldn't on Monday night; got the bats rolling. Both Alberto Callaspo and Derek Norris made strong cases for playing time in this one; and we finally learn who has the first RBI for the A's (Yoenis Cespedes; not on a homerun), first run scored; (Coco Crisp, thanks in large part to a stolen base), and first homerun (Alberto Callaspo; to much surprise). The A's did absolutely everything right in the first game today, and look to take the series with another win tonight.
The A's started off the scoring right away, as Coco singled to lead off the game, and stole second with one out, against a catcher with a pretty great arm, I'd like to add. He advanced to third on a Lowrie fly out, and scored on an opposite-field single that Cespedes smashed up the first base line, as A's fans everywhere (and probably Chili Davis, as well) breathed a sigh of relief. It was a great swing, trying only to get the run in, and it was a very welcome sign after his struggles during the Spring. The A's wouldn't need much more offense than that, but they got it anyway.
The A's scored again in the second, as they loaded the bases with Callaspo and Norris singles and a Sogard walk. Callaspo would score on a Coco Crisp sac fly, and then the A's got a chance to use a replay! With one out, Josh Donaldson hit a chopper to third and Santana threw home to try to get Norris out. The call on the field was that Norris was out at the plate, and although Bob Melvin challenged the call, the call was upheld. In the post-game conference, Melvin said something to the extent that he will only challenge with clear evidence, since close calls are likely to be upheld. I'll find the exact quote printed later, I'm sure.
Luckily, it was a non-issue--a moo point, if you will, as Lowrie promptly singled to score Sogard, and give the A's a 3-0 lead; insurmountable with Kazmir on the mound today. But the A's still weren't finished with the scoring portion of the game. In the very next inning, Reddick walked (!!!) with one out, and Alberto Callaspo hit the first homerun of the A's 2014 season. Remember that for future AN trivia games.
Staked to a 5-0 lead, all Kazmir had to do was throw strikes, and he did. He pitched into the eighth inning, helped by a double-play in the fourth and a nice play by Sogard in the sixth. The A's would tack one more run on the Indians in the sixth on back-to-back doubles by Lowrie and Moss. Dan Otero would relieve Kazmir and allow two hits and a run to ruin the shutout. Absolutely everything else was coming up Oakland today as the A's win a commanding game. Who needs the walk-off?
Get ready for more baseball! The A's play the final--and rubber--game of the series at 6:00PM! We'll see you back here with all the action! --baseballgirl (secretly disappointed that there is so much time between games)