If the Oakland Athletics can keep up their stellar record against the AL West this season, they’ll be in the playoffs for the second straight year without having to win on the final day of the regular season to get there.
The A’s are now 13-2 within the division, and Jarrod Parker got his first win of the season behind 10 runs — seven of them off the bats of Seth Smith and Yoenis Cespedes — that put the team’s record run total for the month of April at 158, a mark that leads the American League. Oakland is now two games behind the Texas Rangers for the top spot in the AL West, while the Los Angeles Angels have now matched the worst start in franchise history with a 9-17 record.
The Angels actually struck first Tuesday when J.B. Shuck scored on what should’ve been the second out of the third inning, but Adam Rosales threw a ground ball from Mike Trout too far off the bag for Brandon Moss to allow the Angels left fielder to score from third.
The A’s would take the lead with a two-run fourth inning, and Cespedes had an RBI double was about three feet short of clearing the wall in right-center, and he’d advance to third on an error by Erick Aybar. Cespedes would score on a wild pitch in the next at-bat to give the A’s a 2-1 lead.
The Halos tied the game on an RBI double from Trout in the fifth, but the A’s hit up Angels starter Garrett Richards for three runs in the bottom half of the inning. Cespedes again came agonizingly close to a home run when he crushed a fastball to right-center, but he’d have to settle for a bases-clearing triple that gave the A’s a 5-3 lead.
Parker pitched an effective game, and he got out of a few trouble spots and left the game after the sixth inning with four strikeouts, three walks and three earned runs. His teammates rewarded his efforts by following his exit with a four-run outburst, highlighted by a three-run double by Smith that gave the A’s a 9-3 lead.
Those runs would come in handy after Evan Scribner gave up three runs in the seventh, capped off by a solo shot by Mark Trumbo, but Sean Doolittle and Grant Balfour didn’t allow a hit the rest of the way and Cespedes garnered his fourth RBI of the night on a sacrifice fly in the eighth to give Oakland a 10-6 victory.
The A’s will go for the sweep tomorrow when they return to the Coliseum for a 12:30 PST start.