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Game #156: A's Drop Angels and Magic Number to Four

Well, it wasn't the overpowering win tied up with a neat bow that the score might indicate, but it's a win against a Division Champion bound for the playoffs and a win that effectively lowered the A's magic number to four with six games to play. And I think I speak for all of us when I say that we are not picky about our wins. The A's rode nine walks to a 8-4 victory and finally, a win for Samardzija after he turned in another gem. No one cares that the Angels handed the A's a few runs or that they outhit the A's by three. Donaldson flashed the leather, Samardzija showed off, the A's actually had two big hits, but the only thing we care about is another "W" on the scoreboard.

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Sound the alarms! Cue "Celebration"! Because the Oakland Athletics have beaten the Los Angeles Angels' (almost) full team and starting pitcher! Add tonight's game to last night's walk-off win and the A's have started a modest win streak of two!

The A's were slated to face a left-handed pitcher in tonight's game, and I guess they sort of did, but C.J. Wilson didn't make it out of the first inning. The A's platoon was all but gone by the fourth, so just about everyone got to play. This game started for all the world like more of the same, and the ninth inning got dicey in a familiar way, sending all fans into a protective crouch, instinctively warding off the impending doom that luckily never came, but between the bottom of the first and the top of the ninth, the game was really quite pleasant.

Tonight's game started as poorly as possible. On just the second pitch of the game, Kole Calhoun launched a ball out to left field. Instead of a) catching the ball b) stopping the ball c) trying not to compound errors or d) making any attempt to do any of the above, Jonny Gomes let the ball skip over his head and rattle around in the field, and by the time he threw the ball back in, Calhoun was standing on third. And to think, all I objected to initially was Gomes hitting cleanup in tonight's lineup. Of course, Mike Trout picked up the sacrifice fly and the Angels were on top 1-0 before most people had turned on the game.

Luckily for the A's tonight, C.J. Wilson was worse at pitching than Jonny Gomes was at fielding. Coco singled to lead off the game for the A's, and after Sam Fuld took his place at first on the fielder's choice, Donaldson and Gomes both walked to load the bases with one out. Derek Norris came up to bat, and in the exact rhythm of the "I believe" chant, I think I heard "Don't hit into a double play". That also may have been in my head. Norris walked to tie the game.

Lowrie must have not been watching the results of the last three batters, because instead of walking, he popped out to first on a 3-1 count, leaving the bases loaded, now with two outs. Last week's A's would have stranded the rest of the runners, but this team? Never a doubt. Nate Freiman took the walk that Lowrie wouldn't and the A's led 2-1. Geovany Soto came up with the biggest hit of the night; his two-run single extended the inning, the A's lead, and knocked Wilson out of the game. The Angels spotted the A's two additional runs on a throwing error on Punto's ball, and before the second inning even started, the A's led 6-1.

That score would hold through the bottom of the seventh inning. Samardzija threw zeros, Donaldson threw leather, and the A's were all but cruising to the finish line. They would add on in the seventh inning after back-to-back walks to Moss and Dunn and a single by Lowrie loaded the bases with one out. Last week's A's would have been daunted by the bases-loaded opportunity, but not this week's. Stephen "IBISV" Vogt singled to plate two more, and the A's led 8-1.

This cushion allowed them to survive both Albert Pujols' three-run home run off Scribner in the eighth inning; the first time all night the Angels had more than one man on base, and the two-on, one-out situation in the ninth off Gregerson. The tying run stayed in the on-deck circle as Gregerson induced a game-ending double-play to notch the win for the A's. It was an almost-perfect day on the scoreboard, as the Royals lost one and won one, while the Tigers and Mariners both lost.

The A's will try for the elusive third win in a row tomorrow behind Sonny Gray as the A's try to knock out another left-handed pitcher in the first inning. We'll be here with all of your action!