A game after the A’s failed to complete the three game sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays, suffering a 7-3 loss instead, they went back to work Thursday night against the Minnesota Twins with their newly acquired ace looking for his second win in green and gold.
Jon Lester, pitching to Derek Norris with the full “Fosse Formation” in the lineup and two additional catchers (Stephen Vogt in LF and John Jaso at DH) starting in the lineup in support of him, wasted no time reinforcing why the A’s dealt for him in the first place, pitching a complete game shutout in his second start since being acquired from the Boston Red Sox, for a 3-0 win.
In addition to being Lester’s second win with the A’s, it was manager Bob Melvin’s 800th managerial win of his career. He became the eighth active manager and 76th manager in history to reach 800 wins. Since taking over the A’s on June 9, 2011, the A’s are a Major League best 307-230 under Melvin.
Lester was a big part of Melvin getting No.800 tonight though, flirting with a perfect game through five complete innings, setting down all 15 batters he faced in a row. He lost his bid in the top of the sixth inning when former A’s catcher Kurt Suzuki singled over the head of shortstop Eric Sogard for Minnesota’s first hit.
Lester pitched the complete game and earned his first shutout as a member of the A’s. He gave up just three hits and walked two batters. He struck out eight Twins’ batters.
After failing to get a runner on base through the first two innings, Alberto Callaspo lead off the bottom of the third inning with a walk to become the first runner for either team of the game. With that slump now broken, Stephen Vogt came up looking to break out of his own slump.
Batting to loud chants of “I believe in Stephen Vogt!” the A’s left fielder responded with a no-doubter home run into the right field bleachers to give the A’s a 2-0 lead.
Brandon Moss broke out of his own slump an inning later with a double off the top of the right-center field wall right by the 388 foot marker. Derek Norris followed up with a double of his own to bring Moss home and give Oakland a three run lead.
The A’s collected seven hits on the night, including a two-hit game from Sogard. Jaso, Donaldson, Moss, Norris and Vogt collected the A’s other hits.
Oakland and Minnesota will continue the series tomorrow night at 7:05PM.
It occurred to me at one point that there were a lot of current and former A’s catchers participating in this game with Suzuki catching for the Twins. The number wound up standing at eight catchers, count ‘em: Derek Norris (catching), Stephen Vogt (starting at 1B), John Jaso (DH), Josh Donaldson (3B), Kurt Suzuki (catching for the Twins), Bob Melvin (technically never caught for the A’s, but does manage them after all), Ray Fosse (broadcasting) and Terry Steinbach (Twins’ coach). It was a regular catchers’ convention at O.co Coliseum!