OAKLAND -- The A's entered play on Saturday leading the Major League in runs scored. It sure hasn't felt that way during this homestand. The A's were held to three runs in a 7-3 loss to the Orioles. In this case, however, it isn't entirely on the offense. The A's were able to take the lead, but the shutdown inning proved to be illusive for them yet again, as they quickly gave it back.
The A's have taken an early lead in four of their last six losses. The A's offense will probably improve when Yoenis Cespedes is eligible to return on Sunday, but he can't fix the pitching staff.
With the Swingin' A's in attendance for the 40-year reunion of their 1973 World Series Championship, the current A's lacked the pop they needed to over come the seven runs scored by the Orioles.
At the Plate
The A's took a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Josh Donaldson hit a double that banged off the left field wall and allowed Brandon Moss to score from first base. Donaldson was at it again in the third inning. He drove in another run with a hit up the middle that bounced off Orioles pitcher Chris Tillman's foot to make it 2-0.
The A's got stuck at two runs over the next four innings, but scored in the eighth inning on a Josh Reddick sacrifice fly. Donaldson was largely responsible for the run as he hit his fourth double in the inning, moving Moss to third base, allowing him to score on Reddick's fly ball to center.
Donaldson finished the day 4 for 4 with two RBI. It was the second four-hit day of his career. The last time he collected four hits was August 17, 2012 against the Indians.
The A's rallied in the ninth inning, but fell short. They loaded the bases with no outs, but Seth Smith flew out and Jed Lowrie grounded into a game-ending double play.
Starting Pitching Report
Griffin got off to an interesting start. He left his feet in a headfirst diving attempt on a bunt single by Manny Machado in the first inning. After trainers checked on the 6-foot-4 starter, he stayed in the game and pitched a scoreless inning.
Showing no ill effects, Griffin struck out the side in the second frame, and dispatched the side on order in the third after the A's took a 1-0 lead.
It was a valuable shutdown inning, something that has been illusive for the A's starting pitchers lately. After scoring their second run in the third inning, however, the problem would persist.
Griffin got knocked around in the fourth inning by the Orioles. He allowed back-to-back home runs to Nick Markakis and Adam Jones to give the Orioles a 3-2 lead. The Orioles would add a fourth run on a single by J.J. Hardy, before Griffin settled down and struck out the final two batters to escape the inning.
After the four-run fourth, Griffin didn't allow another run. He finished the day with seven innings pitched and four earned runs on five hits and two walks. He struck out seven batters and threw 108 pitches.
Jerry Blevins has been great for the A's this season, but he had a bad outing on Saturday. He allowed two runs including a solo home run to right field off the bat off Nate McLouth that sparked a controversy in the bleachers.
A fan caught the home run ball and threw it back. Security moved to eject the fan and the bleachers erupted in "Let him stay" chants that swept across the field. Police ended up removing him with boos raining down upon them from all around the Oakland Coliseum. The fan was eventually allowed back to his seat and met with a loud applause. Blevins worked his way out of the inning.
Chris Resop allowed a run on two hits in the ninth inning.
In the Field
It was the Donaldson show on defense and offense. He started a double play with a backhanded grab in the fifth inning and then made a spectacular sliding over the shoulder catch up the bump of the bullpen mound in foul territory.
The A's announced an attendance of 31,292. Reggie Jackson bobble heads and a classy ceremony honoring the 1973 A's packed the Oakland Coliseum.
Gold won the dot race. Clearly the gold dot was inspired by the gold jerseys and the 1973 reunion.
The A's most consistent starting pitcher will take the mound. Bartolo Colon is 3-0 with a 2.42 ERA this season. He will be opposed by right-handed pitcher Miguel Gonzalez. He is is 2-1 with a 4.13 ERA.