The Oakland Athletics started the year by finishing the month of April 18-10 and establishing complete control over the American League West. However, their inconsistent play in May allowed the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to climb to within 1.5 games of the AL west lead. Given Los Angeles’ recent success this month, the Angels seem poised to take over the top spot in the division from the struggling A’s. That was not the case on Friday night in Oakland. The A’s rocked Angels starter Garret Richards, scoring five runs off of him and forcing him out of the game before the end of the first inning. The five run first inning set the stage for a big night for Oakland’s offense as the A’s cruised to a 9-5 victory over Los Angeles.
Oakland’s big night got started when their first three batters all reached base and first baseman Brandon Moss blasted a fastball from Garret Richards deep to right-center field for his first career gland slam that put the A’s up 4-0 before the Angels had even recorded an out. Richards was chased from the game a few batters later after he walked in a run with the bases loaded. Though the entire Oakland lineup performed well, the standout performance of the evening belonged to third baseman Josh Donaldson who finished the game going 3-4 with two home runs and four RBI’s, killing any hopes of a Los Angeles comeback in the process.
For the Angels, Richards’ poor outing matched the shortest start of his career three years ago against the Texas Rangers and he also picked up the loss in the game to drop to (4-2) on the season. In spite of Richards’ rocky start, the Angels actually managed to make the game somewhat competitive after picking up 3 runs in the 4th inning and 2 more in the 6th to cut the A’s lead to 9-5. Los Angeles failed to score after the 6th however and the game ended at that score. Howie Kendrick and C.J . Cron each had a pair of RBI’s for the Angels, Kendrick’s coming off a two-run homer in the 3rd and Cron’s coming on a two-run double in the 6th. Mike Trout also picked up a solo home run off Oakland starter Drew Pomeranz in the 4th inning to increase his homer total to 11 on the year. Pomeranz wound up with the win to improve to (5-2).
For Oakland, Friday’s win means that they will finish the weekend with their lead in the AL west intact. How big that lead is depends on the outcome of series’ final two games.