Angels 12 Athletics 7
The Angels are in Oakland, land of the worst parabolic & atmospheric stadium sounds of any TV broadcast in the league, for a Father’s Day weekend series. They just faced Oakland last weekend at home, where they won the series but lost the last game to a stout looking Sonny Gray. They would face Gray again today, and looked to finally figure out the crafty youngster.
Matt Shoemaker was on the hill for the Angels, who last time out had a decent outing. As for this evening, he unfortunately took a step back. His command was gone early on, and in the first inning he got into a two on jam, and then gave up a three-run dinger. In the second, the A’s were still tagging Shoemaker and Billy Burns got an RBI single on a grounder past Erick Aybar.
Meanwhile, Gray was looking quite formidable, but slightly more penetrable than last Sunday. The Angels were getting knocks here and there, and even got on the board in the second from a Johnny Giavotella double, making the score 4-1. The game would turn into a duel of scoring, with each team taking turns plating a run or two in the first half of the game, and then stepping back and allowing the other to reciprocate. The Angels would strike against Gray in the fourth on a Johnny Giavotella sac fly, his second RBI of the night.
Shoemaker settled down somewhat in the third and fourth, and regained his control over his fastball, but just ran out of juice in the fifth. Steven Vogt got a homer off of Shoebacca and that was it for him on the evening. Too many big hits to get excited about this start, but Shoemaker has bounced back before. Hopefully he can do it again. Steven Vogt would continue to haunt the Angels in the sixth as he doubled home a few runs off of Jose Alvarez, driving the score to 7-2 A’s. Another night, another lackluster performance. Another somber, sad post-game reflecting on how average and inept this team was. Right?
In the seventh, with over 100 pitches on his scorecard, the Angels FINALLY opened up a can on Sonny Gray. To start the inning off, Erick Aybar and Johnny Giavotella walked. Then, our reputable and dominant DH, Matt Joyce, singled home Aybar. Chris Iannetta then singled to load up the bases. The A’s had seen enough of Gray at this point, and lifted him for Drew Pomeranz, who only served to walk in a run with pinch hitter Daniel Robertson. The Halo Blitz was on. Edward Mujica got the call for Pomeranz, and gave up what should have been a sac fly from Mike Trout, but ended up getting dropped, allowing the bases to remain juiced.
Up stepped Alber Pujols, The Machine in all it’s sublime offensive power, and he jacked a ball down the left field line and GONE! Grand slam Albert Pujols, and a run scoring avalanche turns a 2-7 game into a 9-7 commanding lead. The entire Angels dugout rushed to the steps and poured out to the grass, just to give praise and props; high fives hung in the air to laud the man who has regained a ferocity many thought to be gone. The Maraschino cherry on top of the seventh inning sundae was a Johnny Giavotella single, giving him his third RBI of the game and the Halos in front 10-7. In the end, four of those runs belonged to Sonny Gray, a marked improvement of the cowering performance they gave against him last weekend.
We saw some Trevor Gott to get the Angels through the seventh, and the rookie can hang his head high tonight. He gave up one hit and had one K, but he held the A's. Good job. Joe Smith, coming into the game second in the AL in holds, came into the game in the eighth. Smith had a quick inning, aided by a textbook DP, and it was on to the ninth.
In the top of the inning, Albert Pujols would continue his insane play with an RBI double down the right foul line. Albert would finish the evening 2-5 with 5 RBI, solidifying his case that he'll be on the All Star Game in some form. He's the most fearsome 1B in the AL right now, and it's a joy to watch this man play baseball like this again. Not much more I can say. The Angels would eventually get double digits in hits, and get the score up to 12-7, stifling the obnoxious Oakland Coliseum human white noise machines. All that was left was Huston Street to come in and lock these division rivals down, and that's exactly what he did, with the help of a diving catch by Robertson to record the third out. Game over, Light That Baby Up.
A game where they're down by five runs turns into a commanding, come from behind win; they fought back in the seventh with patience, power and MORE POWER. Blunt. Force. Trauma. That's the name of the game when a slugger like Pujols is locked in, and when even Little Italy Johnny Giavotella is having a three RBI night. Tonight, Heaven WAS a place on Earth; it was the Top of the 7th. It was divine.