Recap: Reds @ A’s Game 79
Wrap: Oakland 7, Cincinnati 3. A’s 45-34 (1st Place, tied)
Interleague is all weird this year. Interleague on Opening Day. Interleague to end the season. Interleague every day. But the way it is weirdest for the A’s is how it manifests itself with these two game series’ like this one against Cincinnati. The A’s who faced off against their World Series foes of the 1972 and 1990 World Series came out victorious in the first of two which precedes two three-game series’ against both St. Louis and the National League’s Chicago franchise. All of these games are in Oakland so the designated hitter was present (thank goodness) and the baseball can be the way it should be and all is right in the world. The A’s got out to an early lead and did not look back against one of the NL’s finer squads (Cincinnati would find themselves in first place in all but one division of the American League [the East] whereas they are in third place in the Central – though they’d be in the playoffs – behind St. Louis and improbably Pittsburgh).
The A’s put together some nice rallies to get their runs and by the fourth inning were done all their scoring. Seven runs on seven hits care of an effective 4-for-6 with runners in scoring position and only stranding four baserunners. Donaldson was the only Athletic with a multiple hit game going 2-for-4 with two runs scoring and two driven in while striking out once, the big hit being a third inning home run off of Arroyo, his eleventh on the 2013 campaign. Stellar year for Donaldson continues as he is now at .308/.374/.498 with 3.1 WAR to his credit to go with a solid .376 wOBA and 142 wRC+, he is certainly the “bringer of rain” on the year and was in this ballgame too. Making his Oakland debut, Vogt went 0-for-3 though he managed a sacrifice fly to earn an RBI. Moss also had a sac fly to get an RBI and also hit a double on his 1-for-2 with a walk night with Oakland’s other double being an RBI double off the bat of Reddick.
Milone got beat around a bit in this game just four and two-thirds innings of work, not enough to earn the win, allowing three earned runs on six hits (including a Joey Votto dinger), uncharacteristically walking four compared to just two K’s. It took him an incredibly inefficient 103 pitches to get through these 14 outs as he faced 23 batters. Neshek who replaced him got the win care of one inning on the mound during which he surrendered two hits and struck out one though most importantly stranded the three runners he inherited from Milone by striking out Chris Heisey. Blevins finished the sixth inning with a two-runner mess inherited from Neshek. He then hit a batter before getting Votto to fly out with the bases full. There was less tough sledding for the other A’s relievers as Cook and Otero pitched perfect seventh and ninth innings, split by Doolittle throwing an inning of ball with two hits in there.
The pitching wasn’t fantastic but Neshek striking out Heisey might’ve earned the nod if he didn’t leave such a mess behind for Blevins. So the hero is Donaldson. Donaldson had a solid offensive game and took part in three of the runs that scored. That sounds good enough to me in a game where there really wasn’t a standout performance.