A's agree win against Angels was 'big'

September 11, 2012, 6:06 am
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ANAHEIM -- Sometimes simple things get overlooked in the aftermath of a ballgame. As the Oakland Athletics took down the Angels' six-game winning streak with a 3-1 victory, several obvious things stood out. One, the pitching of Jarrod Parker. Two, the A's two solo home runs. Three, the fact that Oakland has now won 10 road games in a row and are 20 games over .500 for the first time since 2006. Lost in the shuffle was the most important run of the game. The first one. The A's never once held a lead when they got swept in three games at home against the Angels last week. Coco Crisp started the game by smacking a lead-off triple off the jumbo electronic scoreboard wall in right field. Seth Smith grounded out scoring Crisp. That one run in the first inning that gave the A's a 1-0 lead seemed to change the tone of the whole contest. "It's always key especially on the road, especially against these guys," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "They're going to be very aggressive when they get ahead." That's not to say the pitching of Parker wasn't important. He shut down the red-hot Angels lineup with ease. He allowed just three hits and pitched seven innings of one-run ball. "I tried to get some early outs and early contact and it translated into going deep into the game," Parker said. "Pitching to their aggression was big because they saw me just a week ago."Parker's plan worked brilliantly. The rookie pitcher earned his 10th win becoming the 10th rookie pitcher in Oakland history to reach double-digit wins. "I'm not done so it's a feather in the cap and it is what it is," Parker said. "Moving on it's a big win today and we need to continue doing it." It was a big win indeed. So big in fact, that Melvin admitted it. "That's a big win for us based on the fact they handled us pretty good at our place and they've been playing so well at home," Melvin said. He wasn't the only one that felt that way. The A's usually stick to the company mantra of one inning, and one game at a time. They can enjoy this one at least until they wake up on Tuesday. "That was definitely a big game for us," second baseman Cliff Pennington said. "They came into our place and did what they did. We need to come into their place and take care of business too. To get the first one is a big step."Parker was poised in front of the crowd of 36,064. The hype and pressures of the playoff atmosphere seemed to play into his strengths. He had a poker face that even Lady Gaga would have been proud of. "He's a pretty calm guy," Melvin said. "You never know what's going on inside.""It's just kind of who I am and how I pitch," Parker said. "If I get too hyped up or too anxious I start trying to do too much." Parker got enough run support to win the game because the A's continued to have success with the long ball. Brandon Moss hit the go-ahead homer in the fifth inning and Pennington tattooed one of his own in the sixth. "A lot of us don't swing for singles," Moss said after his 17th homer. "You look at their club and a lot of good clubs, they all have the ability to change the score with one swing and that's something we have."Maybe more important than the home runs, was an inning-ending double play turned by Pennington. Yep, we are back to the underrated and overlooked theme. With two runners on base in the fourth inning and the Angels gaining momentum fast, Mark Trumbo hit a grounder to third baseman Josh Donaldson who flung the ball to Pennington, who stood his ground absorbing the blow of Erick Aybar's takeout slide before as he threw to first for the final out of the inning.The way Pennington handled the play impressed his skipper. Pennington is still learning second base but looked every bit the part at that moment. "For a guy that hasn't been playing the position that long he was just fearless," Melvin said. "And he has a great arm on top of it." Melvin said he was equally impressed with what Pennington did with his glove and bat this evening. Pennington elected to choose a side. Not surprisingly the long ball won out. "I'll take the homer," Pennington said laughing. "The double play we've been working at it and trying to get better at it."

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