The Oakland Athletics beat the Texas Rangers Monday night by a score of 5-1, and the A’s are now back to .500 with a 20-20 record. Oakland is now five games behind Texas for first place in the AL West, and they’ve beaten the Rangers in the last five matchups at the Coliseum.
The A’s looked upbeat and happy to back in their home ballpark after a tough 10-game road trip, and some home cooking appeared to be exactly what they needed as the offense awoke and the team generally looked more like the group from 2012 that leaned on strong pitching and came up with big hits when they needed them while displaying the enthusiasm of a bunch of Little Leaguers.
Both teams came out of the gate swinging, and the Rangers jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Mitch Moreland smacked a fastball left up by Griffin over the scoreboard in right center.
The A’s responded quickly, rallying with two outs in the bottom of the second behind RBI singles from Eric Sogard and John Jaso to take a 2-1 lead they would never relinquish. Yoenis Cespedes added a solo home run to center field in the third, and Brandon Moss hit to the same spot in the very next at bat, but about 20 feet higher, almost reaching the luxury suites to give Oakland a 4-1 lead. Derek Norris added an RBI double in the sixth to account for the final run of the game.
The Rangers threatened to score several times, but Griffin handled each situation with poise. He struck out Moreland with Nelson Cruz on third base to end the fourth inning and induced double plays in the fifth and the seventh after giving up lead off singles. Griffin finished the day with eight strikeouts, six hits and no walks, with the only run coming on Moreland’s homer.
Sean Doolittle and Ryan Cook worked through the final two innings without incident to give the A’s their 20th win of the season.
The shot by Moss was the 7,000th home run in Athletics history in their time in Oakland. John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle provided a nice history of the other milestone home runs on Twitter.
Cespedes left the game in the fifth inning with an undisclosed stomach illness. No word on whether or not it will affect his status for tomorrow’s game.
Bartolo Colon will match up against Derek Holland in tomorrow night’s pitching matchup, and we’ll be here with the breakdown when it’s all said and done.