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Game #83: A’s Win Fifth in a Row Behind Blackburn

Streaking A’s win fifth straight, 11th of 13th to rise seven games above .500

MLB: Cleveland Indians at Oakland Athletics Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

“I don’t know if the A’s are any good, but they sure seem to think they are.” —Nico

Happy, happy Friday! Tonight was as good as it gets, as the A’s won their fifth in a row, eleventh out of thirteenth and are genuinely heading toward a winning season, beating a legitimate contender and an outstanding pitcher tonight by the score of 3-1.

Tonight’s game thread.

You know it’s going well for you and your team when Paul Blackburn flat-out out-pitched Trevor Bauer in the opening game of the series. Both pitchers pitched into the seventh inning tonight, but Bauer left after allowing six hits and two runs (true to prediction, he struck out 8 A’s), while Blackburn was nearly perfect, allowing just three hits on his night, far and away his best start of the year.

The A’s clung to a 1-0 lead for most of the game, only adding insurance runs in the sixth and the eighth. The only A’s pitcher to give up a run tonight was Buchter (well, his run, but Petit technicality gave it up); before Treinen slammed the door in relief of Blackburn, even if the ninth inning was tinged with drama. When all was said and done, the A’s and literally the starting rotation equivalent of The Island of Misfit Toys found themselves winners yet again. It’s almost enough to forget that the A’s only path to the postseason is also riding a five-game winning streak.

The game started out on a less than auspicious note as the Indians had a hit and a walk; one of the runners only erased by Lucroy’s throw to second to cut down the would-be base-stealer. Likewise, the Indians put two more on in the second with some interesting defense, but a double-play erased the threat, and Blackburn was untouchable from then on.

Meanwhile, a one-out Olson double and a Semien single plated the game’s first run; one that held up a long time. Both teams were quiet until the sixth inning, where a single by Matt Joyce and a double by Khris Davis gave the A’s the insurance run they were so desperately seeking. It was much-needed too, as back-to-back doubles by the Indians in the eighth scored their only run, cutting the deficit to 2-1.

It took a review to make it official, but Jed Lowrie did it again, homering to lead off the eighth inning, and giving Treinen the two-run cushion. And yes, the ninth got a little interesting. The inning started out with a single, and the next pitch was hit to deep center field; Canha catching the ball in the ballpark. Would it have tied the game during a day game? We’ll never know, but definite MVP to the marine layer for the help. With two outs, Treinen walked Rajai Davis to put two on, but a harmless fly-out ended the game. It was a terrific, solid win; the A’s had the game in hand, and in control, pretty much from the second inning on. As this train keeps rolling, enjoy the ride.

We go for six in a row tomorrow, 1:05PM, Edwin Jackson on the mound for the A’s. We’ll see you back here with all the action; enjoy your (almost) holiday weekend!