Riding a season-high five-game winning streak, and also coming in a season-high nine games over .500, the A’s sent Drew Pomeranz to the hill for his second start since taking over a rotation spot from Dan Straily last week.
Following an eruption from their offense and a dominating performance from Pomeranz, the A’s were able to make it six-straight wins, and 10 games over .500, on the heels of their 11-0 route of the Chicago White Sox.
Pomeranz, who threw five scoreless innings in his first start of 2014,picked up right where he left off and struck out the side in the first inning, setting down Marcus Semien, Gordan Beckham and Jose Abreu.
Following Yoenis Cespedes’ two-out single off Chicago starter Scott Carroll (1-2, 3.63 ERA entering play), Brandon Moss hit a ball to deep left field that was misplayed by Dayan Viciedo and dropped, allowing Cespedes to score from first and Moss to wind up on second. The official scorer awarded Moss with a double, though from the look of the play it could easily have been an out if Viciedo had tracked the ball properly.
Pomeranz worked his way through another 1-2-3 inning in the second. After getting Viciedo out on line-out to center field, Alexei Ramirez walked for the first Chicago base runner of the evening. Paul Konerko allowed Pomeranz to maintain the minimum batters faced through two innings though by grounding into a 6-4-3 double play.
Tyler Flowers connected for the first White Sox hit against Pomeranz in the top of the third inning with one out. Leury Garcia nearly kept Pomeranz at the minimum, grounding into what looked like an inning-ending double play to Eric Sogard, the flip to Lowrie and relay to first was too slow though and Garcia beat out the throw to extend the inning. Semien struck out for the second time on the evening to end the White Sox half of the inning.
It was more of the same in the fourth inning as Chicago could only muster a single base runner, coming on Jose Abreu’s sharp single to center field after a nine pitch at bat that seemed to take forever. Viciedo and Ramirez followed with back-to-back ground outs to strand Abreu though.
Oakland responded with their first offense since the first inning in the bottom half of the fourth. Josh Reddick proved his superstitiously driven choice to stick with “Careless Whisper” as his walk-up music proved a good decision, collecting a single on a line drive to left in the bottom of the fourth inning. Alberto Callaspo followed with a walk to put runners on first and second with two outs for Craig Gentry. Gentry singled up the middle and Reddick beat the throw from the center fielder, Garcia, sliding around the tag at home to score all the way from second and give the A’s a 2-0 lead.
Pomeranz struck out Tyler Flowers, Leury Garcia and Marcus Semien for his sixth, seventh and eighth strikeouts of the game in the top of the fifth, stranding a pair of runners on base. Having reached 82 pitches, and still being stretched out into a starter after beginning the season as a reliever, that would be the end of Pomeranz’s night. He finished with a pitching line of five scoreless innings pitched, three hits allowed, two walks and the eight strikeouts. He lowered his season ERA to 1.14 and has not allowed a run in 10 innings pitched as a starter this season.
The A’s offense gave Pomeranz a little extra cushion as he gave way to the bullpen to hold onto his bid for a win. Jaso lead off the bottom half of the fifth inning with a double into the right field corner. Cespedes drove Jaso in from second with a one out RBI double. Moss moved Cespedes to third on a long fly out to right field. Derek Norris further extended the lead to 4-0 with a RBI double of his own to bring home Cespedes from third with two outs. A wild pitch past Flowers allowed Norris to move up to third. Reddick connected for his second home run of the season to bring in Norris and push the score to 6-0.
The fifth inning would prove to be the end of the line for both starters, as Carroll exited with a final line of five innings pitched, six runs allowed on 11 hits, one walk and two strikeouts.
Jaso connected for his third hit of the game in the bottom of the sixth inning against White Sox reliever Frank Francisco with one out. After a lengthy eight pitch at-bat, Lowrie lined a double into center field that was misplayed by Garcia, allowing Jaso to score from second with Oakland now in front with a commanding 7-0 lead.
With one out and Lowrie still on second, Cespedes launched a ball to center field that looked like it was going to make it was headed over the fence, but Garcia timed his leap perfectly and pulled the ball back for the second out. One pitch later, Brandon Moss left no room for fielder heroics by launching a no-doubter to right field to push the score to 9-0.
Callaspo walked and Gentry singled to right field to get things going again in the bottom half of the seventh inning. Sogard flied out to center for the first out. A wild pitch allowed both Callaspo and Gentry to move up 90 feet each to put runners on second and third with just one out. The White Sox were finally able to retire Jaso, getting him to strike out for the second out of the inning. Nick Punto pinch hit for Lowrie with two runners in scoring position and two out. He was unable to push the A’s lead into the double-digits though, grounding out to second base for the third out.
Daric Barton, who entered the game as a defensive replacement for Cespedes (moving Moss to left field), got in on the hit parade with a single in the bottom of the eighth. Moss, following Barton, connected for a very long home run to right field, his second of the game, to push Oakland ahead 11-0.
The two-homer game is the fifth of Moss’ career with the last coming on August 28 of last season against the Detroit Tigers.
Dan Otero came in and pitched a perfect sixth and seventh innings for the A’s and Fernando Abad tossed a 1-2-3 eighth inning. Joe Savery was called upon to pitch the ninth and came through with a perfect frame. The A’s bullpen combined to shutdown the White Sox in order for four straight innings on just one hit, wiped out by a double play.
Jaso entered the game batting .288 but on the strength of his 3-for-5 performance pushed his season batting average to .306. Moss also went 3-for-5 and pushed his average from .273 to .286 to go along with the two homers (eight on the season) and five RBI on the night (33 for the season). Lowrie, Cespedes, Reddick and Gentry all had multi-hit games for Oakland as well.
- Josh Donaldson was given his first true scheduled day off of the season.
- Coco Crisp took batting practice left handed prior to the game and could be nearing a return.