Donaldson: 'We feel we are pretty well-rounded throughout the lineup'
ANAHEIM -- Hours before taking the mound in Anaheim, A's starting pitcher A.J. Griffin was visiting with friends and family and posing for pictures with pugs on his Twitter page. He is comfortable in Southern California and it showed on the mound.
Griffin is from El Cajon, a city in San Diego's East County. With his win on Thursday, Griffin is now 2-0 against the Angels in two starts. He's thrown 16 career innings against the Angels and has only allowed one run.
"It's cool to be able to go out there and pitch at this level in front of friends and family," said Griffin, who improved to 2-0 on the season. "It's pretty cool to be a part of something so awesome with this group of guys and this team and be able to have the success we've had this year."
Griffin held the Angels' high-powered offense to one run over eight innings of work on Thursday. He allowed just five hits, walked one, and struck out two. His deep outing couldn't have come at a better time. The team's bullpen had been overworked recently with Jarrod Parker and Tommy Milone combining for 8 1/3 innings in the past two games.
"To be able to give the bullpen a full rest except for [Evan Scribner] is terrific going into the three games against the Tigers," A's manager Bob Melvin said.
Griffin knew he wouldn't have a chance to throw his first career complete game. Melvin told him that he had 10 pitches left when he went out to start the eighth inning.
"You don't want to get too greedy in this game," Griffin said.
It may not be considered greedy, but the A's aren't sharing wins with anyone lately. The 8-1 win over the Angels was their eighth win in as many games. It is the team's longest April winning streak since 1981.
Part of the reason the A's capped their first undefeated road trip of six or more games for just the third time in team history is because of the offensive output. A's pitchers are getting plenty of run support. Oakland's bats have exploded for 10 or more hits in the last eight games.
Sweeping the Angels, a team widely considered the preseason favorites in the American League West, sends a statement.
"We just had their number this series," Josh Donaldson said.
Donaldson was part of the Angels problem. He hit a two-run homer in the sixth inning to give the A's a 3-1 lead. Later in the same inning, Chris Young worked an 0-2 count to a 3-2 count before lacing a two-run double down the left field line. Yoenis Cespedes finished the offensive flurry with a mammoth home run that landed in the rock pile in center field to give the A's a 6-1 lead.
"It doesn't shock us any more how far he hits the ball," Melvin said.
Seth Smith drew a rare start against a left-handed pitcher and collected four hits and an RBI. He was the A's eight hitter on Thursday and he is hitting .500 this season. That's how good things are going for the A's lately.
"We really played a full game today," Melvin said. "The pitching was good, the defense was good, the base running was good, clutch hitting, all of the above. This was probably our best game all around."
The A's head home to face the Detroit Tigers with their heads held high. The Tigers ruined the A's magical 2012 campaign by eliminating them in the fifth game of the American League Division Series. They will surely have revenge on their minds.