The A’s have won their last three games thanks to their pitching, allowing two or fewer runs in each game while scoring just three runs a game. On Tuesday night they had to break out the bats in a 10-9 victory over the Angels in an extra-inning affair down in Anaheim.
Josh Donaldson, who recorded three hits on the evening, provided the game-winning double in the 11th inning. With Jed Lowrie on first, Donaldson hit one over the third-base bag and down the left field line, scoring Lowrie all the way from first.
Jim Johnson, who pitched a scoreless 10th inning, was the winning pitcher after closing things out in the bottom of the 11th. He definitely didn’t make it very easy on himself, allowing an infield single to Mike Trout. Trout made it all the way to third with two outs after an intentional walk to Albert Pujols and a groundout by Raul Ibanez, but Johnson got Howie Kendrick to ground out on the first pitch to end the game.
The A’s held a 9-6 lead in the eighth inning, only to have the Angels battle back. After they scored a run in the eighth, the Angels tied it on one swing of the bat in the ninth – a two-run homer by Trout to dead center field off Sean Doolittle.
It was a seesaw game from the start. The Angels knocked Straily around early, scoring two runs in the first inning on RBI hits from Trout and Howie Kendrick. But the A’s responded with three runs in the third. With the game tied 2-2, Lowrie lined a hit to left that scored Eric Sogard and gave the A’s the lead.
Straily never was able to settle down, however. He allowed four hits in the fourth inning, the latter of which a two-run homer by Kole Calhoun that put the Angels ahead 6-3. Straily was lifted after 3.2 innings, giving up six runs on seven hits and 67 pitches.
Relieving him was long man Drew Pomeranz, who held down the fort in the middle innings while the A’s made a comeback against the Angels’ weak bullpen. They scored two runs in the seventh on an Eric Sogard RBI single (he was promptly thrown out after turning too far at first) followed by a wild pitch to narrow the margin to one, then exploded off Joe Smith in the eighth for four runs. After Jed Lowrie walked and Josh Donaldson singled, Brandon Moss hit a shot to first that was mishandled by Pujols, ricocheting into foul territory in right field. A walk to Yoenis Cespedes and two singles by Alberto Callaspo and Derek Norris later, and the A’s had a 9-6 lead.
The A’s wound up with 16 hits, while the Angels had 12. It was quite an aberration to how the A’s have been winning games thus far this season – solid pitching and just enough runs to win – but tonight they showed that they can pick it up on offense when necessary.
At 10-4, the A’s maintain the best record in the American League and are tied with the Brewers for the best record in the majors.