A’s Sweep Angels, Extend Division Lead
Notorious A’s slayer Jered Weaver took the mound for the Angels Sunday afternoon in Oakland, bringing a 0.41 ERA against Athletic batters in his previous six starts against the team (5-0, 2 ER in 44.1 IP).
However, the A’s batters finally found a way to unweave the deceptive righty on the afternoon, plating four runs in the third inning en route to sweeping the Angels to increase their lead in the AL west to four-and-a-half games with the 6-3 victory.
“He’s always difficult, you never know what he’s going to throw, he’s as unpredictable as any pitcher in the league,” said Bob Melvin.”For the first time we squared some balls up, and found some holes.”
The look on Weaver’s face after giving up a solo home run to Jed Lowrie in the fifth inning summarized the game perfectly, as he watched the ball fly into the right field bleachers in disbelief, sagging his shoulders and shaking his head as Lowrie rounded the bases.
Josh Donaldson continued to produce in the clutch, knocking in two runs with an RBI single to the tune of 32,231 fans at O.co chanting “MVP! MVP!” Donaldson has now reached base safely in each of the last 47 games, the longest streak by a third baseman since Alex Rodriguez in 2004 (53 games).
“I really want to come through for my team, I’m in a situation where I get opportunities pretty often to drive some runs in, and I like to do those kind of things. It’s fun,” said Donaldson.
The slugger has established himself as a legitimate superstar this season after finishing fourth in MVP voting in 2013. Donaldson is batting .284 on the season with 15 home runs (3rd in AL) and 48 RBI (4th in AL).
Sonny Gray pitched his way out of trouble, limiting the Angels to three runs on the day as he earned his sixth win of the season.
The young ace tossed a season high 113 pitches with five strikeouts. In 11 of 12 starts this season, Gray has thrown at least six innings while allowing three runs or less.
This was the first time that the A’s swept a series of at least three games from the Angels since 2004.
Stephen Vogt , a key contributor to the success of the ’13 team, returned to the big league club for the first time this season.
The A’s will enjoy an off day Monday before starting a three-game set at Yankee stadium to kick of a nine-game road trip. Scott Kazmir (6-2, 2.36) will take the hill opposed by Hiroki Kuroda (4-3, 4.57) with first pitch scheduled for 4:05 PST on Tuesday.