As the last strand of the band fades away and the Saturday night parties begin to die down as the night gives way to Sunday morning, I can finally report back from Angels' Stadium, where the A's stunned the Angels by taking the first three of the series to win it, and will look for the sweep tomorrow (today) afternoon in what is Christmas in Anaheim. You have to hand it to the Angels' marketing department; they went all-out with the theme. From Santa hats on all the players, to Christmas-themed fireworks, to live reindeer in the outfield, to Christmas songs during every break to three separate (yet adorable) Rally Monkey videos, it might as well have been Christmas in June. Even the 75 degrees gorgeous night could have been a Los Angeles winter.
Despite giving up three solo home runs in his 5 2/3 innings, Overton made a very credible major league debut, earning the win thanks in large part to the A's bats; who collected 14 hits last night and 12 more tonight. Two of the home runs came early; the key to Overton's success was the outs he recorded from the end of the first inning to the end of the fifth; he allowed one run in that time. The game was barely underway and Overton hadn't even yet seen the mound when the A's struck for their first two runs; Coco Crisp walked to open the game, and two outs later, Danny Valencia put two runs on the board with his eleventh home run on the season.
Staked to a two-run lead early, Overton did a very bad thing and allowed back-to-back home runs to Calhoun and Trout, getting the crowd into the game, and erasing the early lead. But he settled down to get out of the inning and the A's came back. In the third inning, a Crisp double and a Vogt sac fly put the A's ahead 3-2, and with runners on first and third and one out in the bottom of the third, Overton struck out Pujols for the second out and got out of the inning with a ground out.
The A's would tack on an insurance run in the fifth after a Crisp double (have a night, Coco!), a Lowrie walk, and a Khris Davis single plated a single run to make it 4-2. A walk, a single and a bunt by Semien, Muncy and Burns loaded the bases in the sixth for the hero of the game, Coco Crisp, who drove in two runs. A single by Valencia brought the score to its final 7-3 and it should have been an easy win behind Hendriks, Dull and Doolittle, right? Dull cleaned up the eighth after Hendriks left two on, but Doolittle was the one who gave us a scare; loading the bases full of Angels, bringing up the tying run with one out in the ninth. But a pop-up and a fly out completed the game, and just like that, it's been as good of a weekend in A's baseball as they've had all year.
They go for the four game road sweep tomorrow behind Sonny Gray. Let's finish this!