The momentum is certainly in Oakland’s favor.
The Athletics trounced the Minnesota Twins 9-4 Sunday to complete a three-game sweep to begin the second half, and have now won nine of their last ten.
In the series, the A’s outscored the Twins 24-10. The offense, along with strong pitching from A.J. Griffin, Tommy Millone and Jarrod Parker allowed A’s fans to get their brooms out.
A lot is said about this team’s youth, but t’s not just the young guys who are running with the momentum.
Jonny Gomes batted in the top third of the order for the first time this season, and looked good doing so.
Gomes went 3-4 with 2 RBI and 3 runs Sunday. Batting a power guy second may not be the most conventional choice, but it worked out today, at least. Gomes provides power in the A’s lineup, but his contributions may not last unless his power stays consistent.
Jemile Weeks’ average is creeping up (2 hits today), and the combination of him and Gomes showed its effectiveness today when Gomes went yard in the second inning, scoring Weeks who singled in front of him.
Plus, Gomes seems to be a positive influence in the dugout. As Glen Kuiper and Ray Fosse pointed out during the broadcast, Gomes will be awarded the Heart and Hustle Award for the third straight year this week. Having a veteran like that is nothing but positive for the young A’s squad.
Chris Carter looks like he’s figuring it out after being disappointing the last two years during his call-ups. A big power hitter, Carter has battled Adam Dunn syndrome in the majors being nothing but a home run hitter. This year, however, his swing looks much more refined, and he looks like a much more complete hitter with a .346 average and 5 home runs so far this season.
Yoenis Cespedes and Josh Reddick didn’t disappoint, either. The heart of the Oakland order went a combined 5-10 Sunday and 12-28 (.429) in the series. They’re both young, and relatively new to the big leagues with Cespedes coming from Cuba and Reddick not playing full-time last year, but they keep getting better and better each game.
The A’s hit nine homers in the series (4 in back-to-back games for the first time since 2001), which is only two shy of the Oakland record, so it was a bit of an offensive explosion power-wise. The hitting may not be quite as strong at home in a bigger ballpark, but the A’s certainly like hitting at Target Field.
Oakland has a day off Monday, but on Tuesday the A’s play a quick two-game set against the first-place Texas Rangers at O.co and then welcome the New York Yankees to town for a four-game series. With the momentum on Oakland’s side, the team has a chance to show they can compete for one of the two American League wild card spots with strong play against the top-level competition they’re up against over the next week.