Gonzalez Pitches Gem, A’s Rout Angels
Gonzalez (5-2) struck out seven and allowed only a line-drive single to Howie Kendrick leading off the fifth. He also walked one and cruised the rest of the way behind a dominant breaking ball and an offense that had its best game of the season.
Mark Ellis had three hits and four RBIs and Coco Crisp finished with three hits and two RBIs to chase starter Tyler Chatwood (2-2) in the third, handing the rookie the worst loss of his career. Oakland had season highs in runs scored and hits to move into a tie with Texas for first place in the AL West.
The only other hit for the Angels came on Jeff Mathis’ single leading off the ninth against Trystan Magnuson, who was making his major league debut. Craig Breslow also pitched a perfect eighth to send Los Angeles tumbling to its third straight loss.
Gonzalez has been on the right side of consecutive weather-impacted starts.
He allowed seven runs in just 2 2-3 innings at Texas in his last appearance. But with the Rangers leading 7-0 in the middle of the fourth, the game was called for rain and didn’t count.
The start of the game was delayed 42 minutes because of a rare May rainstorm in the Bay Area. With the clouds passing through in patches, the roughest of it never seemed to come with Gonzalez on the mound.
Instead, A’s hitters came through the rain first four innings to give Gonzalez all the cover he would need.
Ellis and Kevin Kouzmanoff had back-to-back RBI doubles, and Coco Crisp had a run-scoring single in the second inning to give Oakland a 3-0 lead. The rain subsided briefly for Gonzalez to work a perfect inning before a huge down pour.
One from the skies.
Another from Oakland’s bats.
Ellis added a two-run single and Crisp had another RBI single to highlight a four-run third that opened a 7-0 lead. Kurt Suzuki also hit an RBI double off reliever Trevor Bell to score Hideki Matsui in the fourth.
By the end of the fourth inning, every Oakland batter had reached base except for Daric Barton. Chatwood’s final line: seven runs allowed on seven hits and two walks in 2 1-3 innings, by far the worst start of the rookie’s career.
Chatwood had given up seven runs in his last three starts combined, a total of 18 1-3 innings of solid baseball. He also had pitched five innings or more in six of his seven major league starts.
His counterpart was on the opposite side of the spectrum.
Gonzalez retired the first 11 batters with relative ease until walking Maicer Izturis. That spoiled the chance of matching the perfect game that teammate and friend Dallas Braden—who coincidentally had season-ending shoulder surgery Tuesday—threw last May against Tampa Bay.
Kendrick took away the no-hitter with his single up the middle in the fifth. Gonzalez got him to ground into a double play, retiring the final seven batters he faced.
Josh Willingham hit a two-run single off reliever Kevin Jesper, and the A’s drew a pair of bases-loaded walks to cap a six-run sixth that put them ahead 14-0. The A’s hadn’t had a share of the division lead since June 3 last year, when they were tied with Texas.
NOTES: A moment of silence was held before the game for Minnesota Twins slugger and Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew, who died Tuesday at 74 after battling esophageal cancer. Killebrew was part of Oakland’s TV broadcast in 1982, according to the team’s media guide. … Oakland closer Andrew Bailey allowed no hits in one inning of work in an extended spring training game in Arizona. The A’s two-time All-Star could begin a rehab assignment in the minors next week. … Angels manager Mike Scoscia said he will not have his pitchers take batting practice until early June. Interleague play begins next week, but Los Angeles doesn’t play away from home against a National League team until June 17 against the New York Mets, where there is no designated hitter. … The A’s previous season high in hits was 13 against Toronto on April 5, and their previous high in runs scored was nine on April 23 against Seattle.
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