Triples Fuel Athletics Over Astros in Tight 4-3 Win
By Sean Davis
The Oakland Athletics had defeated the Houston Astros in each of the 4 games they had played so far this season, and each of them came in rather comfortable fashion. Tonight’s game was the first that was closely contested throughout the entire 9 innings between the two teams. But instead of the typical use of the longball that A’s fans have grown accustomed to, it was three triples (tying an Oakland record) that helped the A’s overtake the Astros and ultimately take this game 4-3.
Might the bespectacled Sogard be finding his stroke? (Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports)
A.J. Griffin had a rather rough start to the game as he struggled to find the strike zone through the first 3 frames. During that span he walked 4 batters, which was more than he had in any of his starts in his young career. He got himself into big trouble in the top of the 3rd inning though, when he started to find the zone to get a big strikeout of J.D. Martinez with the bases loaded and 1 out, then a spectacular diving catch by first baseman Shane Peterson to allow Griffin to minimize the damage to just 2 runs. Peterson was in Oakland and in the lineup in place of Brandon Moss who left the team as his wife gave birth to their second child.
Griffin’s night was a tale of two starts, as shaky as his first 3 innings were, his final 3 were dominant as he didn’t allow a single baserunner. All told, Griffin’s line was 6 innings, 4 hits, 2 ER, 4 walks, and 8 strikeouts. He would receive a no decision though after Sean Doolittle surrendered the tying run off the bat of Carlos Pena in the 8th inning.
The A’s struggled a bit against former farmhand Brad Peacock, failing to reach base until Eric Sogard tripled from the number 9 spot in the order in the 3rd inning. They would fail to score that inning, but the crack in the armor Brad Peacock had built up would be enough to get him out of the game in short order. They would get on the board in the 4th in a wild pitch by Peacock, and a Coco Crisp triple to score Sogard, and a Seth Smith RBI single would put the A’s in front 3-2 and get Peacock out of the game in the 5th inning in the process.
Ryan Cook pitched the 7th inning, and allowed a base hit in an otherwise clean inning. Sean Doolittle, as I pointed out earlier wasn’t so fortunate as he gave up the tying run on a Carlos Pena homer. The A’s would get that run right back in the bottom of the 8th though when Josh Reddick drew a walk, and Josh Donaldson connected on the team’s third triple of the night to score Reddick and take the lead for good. Grant Balfour worked a clean 9th inning with 2 strikeouts for his second save of the season.
The A’s offense was highlighted by the suddenly hot hitting Eric Sogard, who finished a home run shy of the cycle in his 3 for 3 night. He has raised his average up to .297 on the season. Josh Reddick on the other hand went 0 for 2 with 2 walks, his average is down to .103.
The Athletics are now 11-4 on the season, and improve to 5-0 versus the Astros this year. They go for the sweep on getaway day tomorrow afternoon as Bartolo Colon (1-0, 4.15 ERA) faces Bud Norris (2-1, 1.96 ERA) at the O.co Coliseum.