Brett Anderson was as dominate as ever in his first start in over a year. He was phenomenal over seven innings, leading the A’s to a 4-1 victory.
In his first start since June 5, 2011, Anderson showed great command of all his pitches, mixing his fastball and change up effectively and delivering his nasty slider which the Twins couldn’t touch. He had six strikeouts, most of them swing and misses on the slider. His velocity was there, his slider broke like crazy, his change up and curve were solid and he looked like the dominate ace A’s fans and management expect him to be. Anderson needed only 86 pitches to make it through seven innings of one run ball.
“I thought he was about as good as you can be the first time out.” Said Melvin, “For the first time out I don’t know how you could expect anything more.”
Oh yeah, there was a triple play as well.
The Twins led off the fifth inning with back to back singles. Trevor Plouffe came to the plate and hit the perfect triple play ball, if there even is such a thing, to third base. Donaldson made a the smart quick step to the bag at third and hurled it to Rosales who made a beautiful turn and throw at second with the base runner baring down on him, making the out at first in time for the 8th triple play in Oakland A’s history.
The A’s offense struggled early to put any semblance of a rally together against Twins starter Cole De Vries. Although De Vries struggled with his command early on, he managed to settle down and threw one of his few solid outings of the season allowing only two runs over 5.2 innings.
Josh Donaldson, who had looked absolutely terrible earlier in the season, got the A’s on the board with an RBI double off the wall in left field in the second inning. Donaldson is now has four doubles and six RBI’s in eight games since being called back up from Sacramento. Smith scored from first on the play and showed that his hamstring is feeling just fine. Smith would finish the night 2-2 with two walks.
The newest Oakland Athletic Stephen Drew failed to impress in his first start with the ball club. He was 0-4 with a strikeout.
The A’s offense perked up once De Vries was out of the game. With Swarzak pitching in the seventh, the A’s rallied to score two runs after a Reddick RBI bloop single and a Chris Carter RBI double. They were in prime position to add on more with the bases loaded and only one out. Donaldson came up to the plate and tapped a ball to the catcher. The catcher grab the ball, stepped on home plate and threw down to first where the ball smacked Donaldson in the back. Inexplicably the umpire called Donaldson out, claiming he was outside of the base path. An argument from Melvin changed nothing, so it will remain a mystery how you can be out of the base path while in the process of stepping over first base.
The bad call wouldn’t matter though as Doolittle would come in and pitch a perfect eighth, striking out two hitters in the process. Balfour pitched a perfect ninth for his 12th save of the year and fifth in a row since returning to the closer role.
The A’s will wrap up the series and the home stand tomorrow at 12:35 PM. Tommy Milone will look to get back on track after going 0-3 with a 7.50 ERA over his last four starts. Liam Hendriks will pitch for the Twins. The right hander was just recalled from Triple-A and is 0-5 with a 7.04 ERA in the majors this year.