Pratt's Instant Replay: A's 6, Orioles 1

July 29, 2012, 2:08 am
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The A's hit the century mark of the season, winning their 100th game 6-1. As the team hit triple digits, these are the numbers that really matter -- the A's are 10 games over .500, are 18-3 in July, have won nine of their last 10 games, and are just 3.5 games behind the American League West-leading Texas Rangers.At the PlateYoenis Cespedes continues to amaze. This time he put a monster hack on a hanging slider that landed with a thud 10-plus rows deep in left field. The ball was on the outside part of the plate but that didn't stop the powerful slugger from arching out with his bat and somehow pulling it out of the park.Cespedes now has 14 home runs and nine of them have come with a runner on base. He tried to admire his blast at home but he didn't have much time to do -- the ball left the yard very quickly. He added an RBI-triple in the eighth inning driving in Jemile Weeks. He went the other way on an outside pitch perfectly and then turned on the jets, flying around the bases before gliding into third.Kurt Suzuki doubled with one out in the fifth inning. That wasn't the impressive part of what he did in this game. Next, Eric Sogard softly singled to right field, as Suzuki hustled around third he beat the throw home with an awkward rolling hook slide to score the A's third run. The cather started the slide on his back reaching out toward the plate with his left hand, then the momentum of his body took him into a full barrel roll across the plate. Not to be outdone by Cespedes, Chris Carter launched a mammoth two-run blast of his own to left field in the sixth inning. Carter now has eight homers this season -- five of them have come against righties. That is impressive considering the fact that Carter had been used primarily in a platoon against left-handed pitchers.Starting Pitching ReportBartolo Colon had his two-seam fastball working but home plate umpire Marvin Hudson wasn't calling it for a strike early in the game. Colon's two-seamer has late movement that breaks in over the plate left to right. He threw the pitch several times with two strikes only to have it called a ball. It was on that pitch that Chris Davis was caught looking to end the fifth.Colon lasted 5.2 innings and scattered seven hits. He struck out five batters and walked just one. He got his seventh win of the season.
He left with runners on the corners and two outs. A's manager Bob Melvin was right not to let Colon finish the inning. Omar Quintanilla, who was 2 for 2 against Colon, was due up when Melvin pulled the veteran starting pitcher.Bullpen ReportJordan Norberto entered the game in relief of Colon. He struck out Quintanilla to end the inning. Norberto stayed in the game for the seventh inning. He escaped unscathed despite allowing a single and seeing the leadoff hitter reach on an error. Norberto collected an out in the eighth before being lifted after allowing a single.Evan Scribner took it the rest of the way. He pitched 1.2 innings and allowed a run on a solo homer to Nick Markakis.In the FieldNorberto didn't get much help defensively in the seventh inning. The first batter in the frame, Taylor Teagarden, reached first on an error by Brandon Inge. The second batter reached first on what could have been a double play when Sogard dropped the ball on the exchange. Davis reached on a bloop single to left that Cespedes decided to play on a hop -- it looked like it could have been easily caught. Fortunately for the A's they escaped the inning unscathed.Cespedes was moved to center field prior to the eighth inning to replace Coco Crisp who left the game with hamstring tightness. Cespedes flashed his defensive skill in center on a deep ball into the gap. He was playing shallow but made a great read on the ball, taking a perfect angle and using his speed to make a backhanded catch just in front of the wall.
Up NextThe A's will go for the sweep in Baltimore with Travis Blackley (3-2, 2.69 ERA) on the mound. The Australian-born lefty is 3-0 in his last seven starts.They will be opposed by the sixth left-handed pitcher in their last seven games -- Wei-Yin Chen (8-6, 3.82 ERA). Chen has lost one game in his last three starts.

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