Tonight’s victory was the prototypical game at lively Coors Field in Denver. The preeminent hitters park in the Major Leagues lived up to its reputation tonight. The A’s found themselves in an immediate hole as Bartolo Colon surrendered 4 runs in the bottom of the 1st as the Rockies batted around. The A’s bats took charge though in the 3rd inning with a power display that was definitely a welcome sight.
TURNING POINT: Jeremy Guthrie dodged a bullet in the top of the 1st inning as former Rockie Seth Smith‘s 2-out double bounced over the wall in left field, keeping Coco Crisp at 3rd. Guthrie wouldn’t be so fortunate in the top of the 3rd. Jemile Weeks led off by being hit with a pitch and was subsequently bunted to 2nd by Coco. After a Josh Reddick walk Seth Smith came up again in a big RBI spot, and he came through big time smoking a ball to center to drive in Reddick and Weeks. Then the attack of the Brandons spelled doom for the Rockies. Brandon Inge quickly lined a double just past Carlos Gonzalez in left, scoring Smith. Then the hero of the day stepped up, and Brandon Moss showed Jeremy Guthrie he was very unimpressed with the sliders he had to offer, giving the fans in the 3rd deck in right field a souvenir opportunity (which they blew) that gave the A’s the lead.. Cliff Pennington added a solo shot of his own to make it a half dozen runs in the 3rd. The A’s had a lead they would not relinquish tonight.
ON THE HILL: Bartolo Colon was not the sharp Shrek we saw last time against the Texas Rangers. He dug what would have been a sizable hole for the A’s if they weren’t playing in Denver, giving up 4 runs in the 1st. His teammates did pick him up tonight, and got him his 6th win of the season. The bullpen slammed the door shut on the Rockies for the duration of the game, with Sean Doolittle taking care of the 6th inning despite giving up a hit and a walk. Grant Balfour baffled the Rockies for two innings, allowing not a single baserunner and striking out 3 in the process. Then we caught a glimpse of the “committee” that Bob Melvin said would be responsible for closing out games after Brian Fuentes‘ recent struggles as Ryan Cook came in to finish off the game. He wobbled a bit to start off the inning, walking Tyler Colvin and allowing a single to Marco Scutaro, but quickly regained his dominance by striking out Carlos Gonzalez and Michael Cuddyer and inducing a weak groundout to Todd Helton.
AT THE PLATE: Brandon Moss had the night of his life tonight, for the first time in his Major League career he went deep twice and drove in 3 runs in the process while going 2-4. Seth Smith went 2-4 as well, showing the Rockies what they gave up last offseason with his two ringing doubles. Cliff Pennington went deep in the hit parade during the 3rd inning, and was robbed of another homer by Tyler Colvin in center field so he seems to be seeing the ball better and making much more solid contact than he was during his prolonged slump. Coco Crisp was the only starting position player to not reach base in tonight’s game.
FINAL THOUGHTS: This was a win the A’s desperately needed in order to stop the snowball from tumbling down the mountain and building another big losing streak. At the outset of this game, it looked like the A’s were staring down a 4th straight loss but like the Diamondbacks did agains them they roared back and took control of the game. As Jane Lee reported, Brandon McCarthy‘s shoulder is bothering him again and he’s been sent back to the Bay Area for an MRI, this is an extremely disconcerting turn of events as it’s clear his shoulder is not well even after the DL stint he’s already been through. When he’s been on the mound, he’s been exceptional this year so losing him for any lengthy period of time will be a big blow to the Athletics. Tommy Milone will move his start up to tomorrow to cover for McCarthy. Milone has a 6-5 record with a 3.77 ERA this season. The A’s will face one of the men whom they traded for Seth Smith in the lefty Josh Outman who is 0-2 with a 8.18 ERA and was shelled for 5 runs in 3 innings in his last start against the DBacks. I was a big fan of Outman in his time with the A’s, especially those socks he wore, and I was bummed to see him shipped out of town. He may never fully recover the momentum he had in his career before he went down with the elbow injury in 2009, and unfortunately for him the A’s are going to try and keep him from regaining that momentum for at least one more start.