Tonight's game inspired all sorts of slogans as I deliberated on the perfect title for the recap: Canha Have a Game? Be Like Ike. We like Ike. I like Ike. Working on a Fuld house. Zorilla. I don't yet have one for Semien that is appropriate to print in a public blog, but I'll work on it.
Indeed, Mark Canha, Ike Davis, Sam Fuld, Ben Zobrist and Marcus Semien with a little help from Stephen Vogt and Billy Butler, put the game in hand early on, scoring three in the first, two in the second, and sixth in the fourth. They cruised from there, adding one more for emphasis late. Davis went 3-5 with two doubles and four RBI and Canha went 3-5 with three runs scored and two RBI. He probably should have had a fourth hit, as well, but was robbed on a nice play down the line by Kyle Seager.
Nearly lost in all the offensive merriment is the gem that Drew Pomeranz spun in his first start of the year. It's been no secret that I have not been Pomeranz's biggest supporter, for a few reasons. First, to me, it seems his games are indeterminable. A lot of pitches, a lot of time, a lot of me yelling at him to throw the ball. None of which happened tonight, mind you. He was quick and efficient and seemed content to watch the fireworks from the bench while the A's were batting. Second, if I'm going to hold a grudge against Tim Hudson for the rest of his career for getting into a bar fight and missing his playoff start, I'm going to give the side eye to a pitcher who broke his own hand in a fit of pique. I'll never buy the "heat of passion" excuse; if you're truly out of control, you break your dominant hand; if you have enough forethought to hit an object with your other hand, you're in control enough not to hit anything with your body parts at all. Also, get off my lawn. Third, I love Jesse Chavez and I think he got a raw deal from the starting pitcher carrousel.
All that aside, Drew Pomeranz pitched a true gem tonight; seven innings, two hits, zero runs and six strikeouts is a sparkling gem, no matter how much run support one happens to collect along the way and he made a strong statement to open his 2015 campaign.
After Pomeranz opened the game with two strikeouts and weak ground ball from Cano, the A's wasted no time in getting on the board. Sam Fuld was robbed of a hit leading off the A's half of the first, so he could have been 4-5 just as easily as his 3-5, but Mark Canha beat out an infield hit and Ben Zobrist doubled him in for the A's first run. After Butler struck out, Ike Davis singled Zobrist in to make it 2-0. Brett Lawrie was 0-2 in the count and fought to 3-2 before walking to extend the inning. That was his last good at-bat of the night. Stephen "IBISV" Vogt singled in Davis to greet Taijuan Walker with three runs to open his start. Spoiler alert: He would leave with 9. It wasn't easy to give up more runs than Kendall Graveman yesterday, but he did.
The A's picked up right where they left off in the second, as with one out, Fuld singled. Mark Canha wasted no time and absolutely blasted his first home run into the seats in the cold Coliseum air, showcasing his power and making a statement. Likely that statement was "I'm not hitting the ******* wall again", but it was a strong one. Alternatively, he could have made a strong case for starting tomorrow's game, as well.
Staked to a 5-0 lead, neither Pomeranz nor the A's needed more offense, but that didn't stop them from putting up a six-spot in the fourth as they batted around. Semien opened the inning with a double and moved to third on a ground ball by Sogard. Fuld singled him in, Canha hustled himself to a double after Fuld took third on the hit. After Zobrist was intentionally walked, an infield hit by Billy Butler (yes really!) scored Fuld. Davis unloaded a two-run RBI double and only Butler as the runner prevented it from being 3 RBI. The fifth and sixth runs of the inning came from the bat of Semien, on his second hit of the inning. All was quiet until, just for good measure, Ike Davis drove home another in the eighth.
Obviously, Graveman wasn't the only young pitcher to struggle in his first start of the year, as the A's knocked Walker around much in the same way that Texas systematically dismantled Graveman yesterday afternoon. For obvious reasons, Walker didn't make it out of the fourth. Fernando Abad replaced Pomeranz in the eighth and for the third straight day, we saw R.J. Alvarez.
A quick note on the only lack of offense: Lawrie wouldn't do anything in his remaining at-bats. It didn't matter tonight, but leaving runners on third with fewer than two outs is never noticed in a blowout, but rather the close games, something the A's yet know nothing about this early season. The other 0-4 on the scoreboard tonight was Eric Sogard, who is all but useless on offense, but he made a truly amazing play at second in the eighth inning to stop the Seattle "rally" against Fernando Abad.
Things around the league to watch: The Yankees and the Red Sox are still playing in the 16th. I'm not kidding.
The Rangers lost half of their team today in their loss to Houston. Also not kidding.
As much fun as tonight was, and it was really, really a pleasure, remember, as no doubt the Mariners are reminding their club after the game, no matter how many runs the A's scored tonight, it counts but for a single win. The game the A's should have won to take the Texas series early this week was Tuesday's, during Hahn's start. The game the A's need to win to take the series is tomorrow's, as they face their nemesis Felix Hernandez on Sunday. Sonny Gray will take the mound tomorrow at 1:05. We'll have all the action right here for you.