Oakland beat the rival Angels for the second time in as many days as the A’s won 2-1, securing the series win and a chance at a sweep tomorrow.
It was a pitching duel for most of the game between starters Paul Blackburn and Griffin Canning. You wouldn’t have thought that’s how this game would go after last night and the first inning today. The Angels got to Blackburn for their one and only run in the very first frame. Two walks, a single and bases loaded sacrifice fly did the job, but they really should have cashed in more against Blackburn because he was about to lock in. And the A’s avoided an injury when Nick Allen caught the sac fly and slid awkwardly:
Nick Allen remained in the game after slipping awkwardly on this play pic.twitter.com/E5OYAlAAQg— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) September 2, 2023
Luckily he stayed in the game, and his defense didn’t look to be affected at all:
The defense really pulled its weight today, that’s for sure. And Blackburn sure appreciated it. Last year’s All-Star locked in after the first inning and kept the Angels off the board for the rest of his day. When his job was over, he had fired 5 innings of 1-run ball on 86 pitches. Another great start from him as he continues to be on a tear in this final leg of the season.
All he needed was some run support though. Oakland had managed just one hit for the first three innings against Canning. They needed a big hit to get the bats going. That big hit finally came in the fourth when this year’s All-Star Brent Rooker stepped to the plate with a runner on:
Break out your tape measure for this Rooker BOMB pic.twitter.com/9eea2nXQXN— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) September 2, 2023
That blast, Rooker’s 23rd this season, gave the A’s a slim lead, but it would end up being enough. Neither team would score the rest of the day, thanks in huge part to the defense. Exhibit A:
That catch saved a run and quite possibly the game. And we were also treated to a nice play from the recently recalled Tyler Soderstrom, who was behind the plate today:
Oakland ended up using a huge chunk of their bullpen as they used five different arms to cover the final four inning: Snead was the first, followed by Spencer Patton, Sam Long, Dany Jimenez, with Trevor May getting the ninth. It was a little dicey at the end when May put two runners on, but he eventually nailed down the save for the A’s to secure the series win and his 16th save this season.
Excellent baseball today from the Green & Gold. A quality performance from Blackburn. A well-timed home run. A group effort from the bullpen backed up by terrific defense in the field. And a chance to secure a series sweep for the first time since early June. Oakland hasn’t determined who is starting yet, but whoever it is will be facing lefty Tyler Anderson for the Angels. Let’s get the sweep!