Last season, the Oakland Athletics were a team that had a knack for getting a hit when they needed it most and staying in games until the very last out, and if today’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks is any indication, there’s more where that came from.
In the first inning, Bartolo Colon gave up two early runs on four hits before gathering himself to strike out three and only allow two hits the rest of the way. That damage control proved to be all the difference for the opportunistic A’s, and a fourth inning rally accounted for the two Oakland runs, and the A’s would hold on for the tie on a sunny day in Phoenix.
In the fourth, left fielder Seth Smith hit a double to bring home pinch runner Shane Peterson, who’d advanced to second on a wild pitch right before. John Jaso doubled in the next at bat to score Smith. Other than a single from Yoenis Cespedes, these were the only runs the Athletics would get against former teammate Brandon McCarthy, who pitched four innings and struck out six.
The A’s nearly took the lead in the eighth when they loaded the bases, only for Adam Rosales to be called out at home on a would-be sacrifice fly from Grant Green to end the inning on an 8-2 double play.
Still, an encouraging result for a young ball club with some new parts at key positions. The tie was reminiscent of plenty of games last year where the A’s kept it close to ensure they’d at least have a chance to come back in the end. The A’s talented relievers make all of this possible, and they got two scoreless innings today from Jordan Norberto, and Ryan Cook struck out two in the seventh before Pat Neshek and Garrett Olson came in to wrap it up in the eighth and ninth.
It’s good to see new guys like John Jaso play a role in that too, and if you enjoyed last year’s team, I’d be getting pretty excited for 2013.