Baseball, like life, is funny this way. One minute you’re flying high after taking three of four from the Angels and three of four from the Red Sox, nearly forgetting that the season didn’t, in fact, open up in Oakland (also, what is up with Seattle’s start?). And then you cruise into Houston to play the Astros and you blow a winnable game to open, and get absolutely pounded in the next two. To add insult to injury, you stumble into Baltimore as part of what feels like a 47-game-in-a-row stretch (in reality 18, which isn’t that much better), and drop the first in a sloppy affair, racking up your loss total to four in a row (still better than the other Chris Davis; ow, sorry about that). But luckily, the A’s found their bats (and their Khris Davis) and pounded the heck out of the baseball, buying five tickets to PoundTown last night (two by Khris Davis alone) and another five today (two more by Khris Davis alone, bringing up his season total to 9 in 17 games).
Aaron Brooks put together a terrific six innings (and started the seventh), and the bullpen held on to keep the win, and give the A’s another three out of four in these early four-game series to go over .500 before rolling back into Texas tomorrow (Rangers, not Astros).
This game, she was a doozy! And was way closer than the 8-5 final score implied, if you missed the early breakfast baseball this morning.
Of course the big story of today’s brunch game, (aside from the A’s starter pitching) is Khris Davis, who has four home runs in his last two games and is a big part of the offensive explosion of the last three; they scored 13 on Tuesday, 10 last night and 8 this morning. You will win most of the games with that kind of offensive output, but once again, today’s got closer than it had any right to be.
The Orioles actually scored the first run in this contest; an early solo home run in the first. They threatened again in the third after two walks and a single loaded the bases with two outs, but Brooks induced a ground ball for the third out.
And then, the all-A’s-all-the-time came alive. Marcus Semien doubled to open the fourth, and after Stephen Piscotty was unable to move him to third, Khris Davis decided to move him home with one swing of the bat; and the same swing moved the A’s in front 2-1.
They added on in the fifth as Laureano singled to open the inning in front of the Josh Phegley home run. Khris Davis hit his second home run in the top of the sixth to make it a 5-1 ballgame and in a nifty back-to-back number, Kendrys Morales hit his first home run of the season to increase the lead to 6-1. A little league triple by Chad Pinder (a single and an error) brought him to third and a sacrifice fly by Jurickson Profar scored him to give the A’s the 7-1 lead. They’d need it.
Fast forward to the bottom of the seventh inning. Staked to a comfortable lead, the A’s elected to keep Aaron Brooks in the game. A lead-off walk and a Baltimore fly ball single put the first two runners on and knocked Brooks out of the game. J.B. Wendelken walked the next batter to load the bases (zero outs), hit the next batter to score a run (zero outs, now 7-2) and left the game in favor of Lou Trivino. He recorded a pop-up for the first out, but wild pitched a run in (one out, now 7-3), and allowed a ground ball RBI (one out, now 7-4) and a double (two outs, now 7-5) before an amazing catch to end the inning by Stephen Piscotty that likely saved the game.
Despite their best efforts in the eighth, the A’s couldn’t score, and despite their best efforts in the eighth, Baltimore couldn’t score. The A’s opened the eighth with a Morales single and a Pinder double to put runners on second and third with no one out. After Profar struck out, Laureano couldn’t get the run in; the second out was made at home, and Phegley struck out to end the threat. A walk and an error put two on with one out for the Orioles in their half, but Chris Davis (cringe) struck out for the second out and Piscotty again made the final out to take the game to the ninth.
Marcus Semien’s home run in the ninth put the A’s up 8-5, and we all sighed a collective sigh of relief as Blake Treinen mowed them down for the save.
I will be your host tomorrow night for the opening of the series in Texas; A’s/Rangers, we’ll see you back here at 5:05PM.