Blevins Saves the Day, A’s Win Their Fifth Straight


Sep 11, 2012; Anaheim, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics center fielder Coco Crisp (4) is congratulated by second baseman Cliff Pennington (2) after scoring on a fielding error after a triple in the ninth inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium. The Athletics defeated the Angels 6-5. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

In what appeared to be the A’s game after the 5th inning, things changed very late. This reminded me of all the A’s-Angels battles back in the early 2000’s.

The game started out with Dan Straily struggling to put batters away. He was leaving a lot of balls over the plate, but when he was in a jam he found a away to buckle down and get out of jams. He would give up a two run home run to Vernon Wells in the second inning and then settle down after the second to make it all the way to the seventhth inning.

The A’s would take an early lead on Cespedes home run in the second ending his 21 game homer less streak. After Vernon Wells’ home run, it was 2-1.

Then in the 4th inning, Brandon Moss would come up and blast a two run homer for his 18th of the year. This would also be his 6th homer in the last 12 games. A’s were now up 3-2 and would add another run on a sacrifice fly by Stephen Drew in the fourth.

The A’s cruised through most of the game up 4-2 until Torii Hunter hit a solo home run in the seventh which would drive Straily out of the game.

All things considered it was great to see Straily make it all the way to the 7th being that he labored through the first two innings. The A’s would enter the 9th inning up 4-3 and looking to add insurance. With two outs Cliff Pennington would single followed by a Coco Crisp inside the park run (triple and miscue by Torii Hunter) which would make it 6-3. In most cases this year the A’s would have no problem shutting the door. This was not the case tonight.

Grant Balfour entered the 9th walking the first two batters. While the box score shows two walks, the pitches he made could have been called either way and he was on the short end of those calls. With the tying run coming to the plate Torii Hunter proceeded to single up the middle scoring one, 6-4. Then Pujols would come up and single to left field with Torii Hunter running which allowed him to advance to 3rd base. So now it’s 6-5 and the Halos have 1st and 3rd and no outs. Melvin would pull Balfour and bring in Jerry Blevins.

On Balfour’s exit he would bark at the home plate umpire – rightfully so. Blevins inherited a mess and proceeded to strike out Kendrys Morales.

What happened next was typical of the 2012 A’s. Blevins would make the perfect pitch and have Howie Kendrick ground into a game ending double play.  Cliff Pennington once again hung in tough at second base taking a hit from Peter Bourjos while turning the double play. Game over A’s win 6-5.

Bob Melvin once again pulled the right strings by pulling Balfour at the right time. The A’s would make it interesting, but at the end of the day they are now owners of a five game winning streak, 11 straight road wins and a potential playoff team.

We do it all again tomorrow as AJ Griffin faces Erwin Santana. Griffin has yet to lose this season and he will face a very inconsistent Santana that has pitched the A’s very well over the years.