By Jason Wojciechowski on April 5, 2006 at 10:31 PM
The A's evened their record last night, taking a nailbiter from the Yankees. Marco Scutaro (who else?) came up with the game-winning hit in the bottom of the ninth against Scott Proctor. Can we all thank Joe Torre for having Proctor in the game instead of Mariano Rivera? Ken Macha outmanaged Torre in that regard, as Macha was unafraid to bring in his ace reliever, Huston Street, in the top of the ninth with the score tied 3-3.
Nick Swisher and Eric Chavez each connected for their first homers of the year, hitting solo shots off of Mike Mussina. Mussina was fairly sharp, giving up five hits and two walks (one intentional) in seven innings while striking out six. Rich Harden was not sharp, but he just managed to keep the A's in it despite seven hits and four walks in 5 2/3 innings. The bullpen won this game for Oakland, as Justin Duchscherer, Joe Kennedy, and Huston Street threw 3 1/3 scoreless innings, giving up two hits and two walks.
It wasn't the most impressive of wins (I'd rather the A's have won 15-2 and lost 4-3, for instance), but a win is a win, and the highlights mentioned above outweight the lowlights (Harden's game, the 0-12 put up by the 4-7 hitters).
Elsewhere in the majors, this is what happened:
- Cleveland evened their record against Chicago (and as I write this, the teams are in extra innings, playing for the series win), winning 8-2. That's pretty much a perfect score to win by, isn't it? It's not 15-2, where the game was probably boring after the first hour or so, but it's still a convincing margin that shows you hit well and defended/pitched well. Only Aaron Boone's 4-5 day, with a double, a homer, and a stolen base, jumps out at me from the individual lines.
- The game I pegged as the best pitching matchup wasn't the duel it could have been, as Toronto beat Minnesota 6-3. Johan Santana got tagged for ten hits in 5 2/3 innings, including a Bengie Molina homer. Only Aaron Hill went hitless for Toronto, while Shannon Stewart had 60% of the Twins' hits, as well as 50% of their homers. BJ Ryan notched his first Blue Jay save.
- Texas beat Boston 10-4 behind Vicente Padilla's six-inning, one-run performance. The Ranger bullpen (Akinori Otsuka and Francisco Cordero) gave up some garbage runs in the 8th and 9th to make the score look better (for Boston) than the game really was. Disappointing to me was that Tim Wakefield got slapped around for seven runs in just 3 2/3 innings. The last thing baseball needs is Wakefield losing his touch and having to retire with no decent knuckleballers around to take his place.
- Seattle beat the Angels (apparently, no one in the AL is capable of winning two games in a row), 10-8. Anaheim, like Boston, scored some late runs, but while going from 10-1 to 10-4 is all show, going from 10-3 to 10-8 actually makes the game interesting. JJ Putz (best name in baseball) and Everyday Eddie Guardado were the culprits in the Mariner 'pen. There were five homers hit in the game, including one by Tim Salmon, pinch-hitting for Adam Kennedy, and one by Kenji Johjima, his second of the year. Maybe power can translate from Japan.
- Continuing the 1-1 trend, the Dodgers beat the Braves 5-4, withstanding a spirited three-run eighth inning by Atlanta. James Loney, just up from the minors because of Nomar Garciaparra's injury, had a single and a walk.
- Florida crushed Houston 11-2, with both Astro runs coming in the bottom of the ninth. The Marlins hit four bombs, including two by Josh Willingham. I knew there was a reason everybody was talking about this kid's bat. Hanley Ramirez also knocked out three singles and a double.
- The Brewers were the best team in baseball coming into today, being the only team to manage two whole wins in a row. The Prince Fielder watch continues as he went 0-5 with three strikeouts, stranding seven men. Fielder is 0-9 with seven strikeouts this year, and I haven't been this happy since the A's won the World Series in 1989.
Today's best pitching matchup is probably Mark Mulder vs. Brett Myers as the Cardinals play in Philadelphia. St. Louis took the first game of that series behind some powerful hitting. I'll be rooting for Mulder against everyone but Jimmy Rollins.