By: Malaika Bobino
Oakland, CA – It’s often said that the past can come back to haunt you. But in A.J. Griffin’s case it turned out to be sweet victory. It wasn’t his best outing but good enough to even the series and shutout the RedSox for the 3-0 win.
The last time Griffin faced Boston was back in April when he allowed a career-high nine runs in four plus innings. Tonight he pitched eight scoreless frames while scattering six hits. Despite runners in scoring position he never allowed any to score.
“He definitely was a lot more efficient with somebody on than when nobody was on, but that’s what a lot of great pitchers do, said Derek Norris. “They have to bear down when people get on base, and he did. He made his pitches when he needed. Even when he fell behind, he got ahead and worked efficiently.”
“Days like this, you try to keep them off the board as long as you can and minimize things,” A.J. said. “Luckily for me, I got to make good pitches at the right times and got out of some jams and that’s big. Especially after my showing against them last time at Fenway. That didn’t go very well. So I wanted to go out there and pitch my game.”
Griffin did more than pitch his game, he also got some good backing from his team offensively. Norris’ fifth inning solo home run to left field on a 0-2 pitch ended a scoreless tie. A good sign for Oakland as they got on board first.
“My first at-bat with two strikes, he gave me a heater as well, and I check-swinged to first base,” said Derek. “Maybe in his mind he thought I was looking off speed.”
In the sixth Yoenis Cespedes broke out of his hitting slump for an RBI single that extended the A’s lead 2-0. It was his first RBI of the month and he got on base in three innings for the first time since June 4.
Early in the day before batting practice Cespedes was practicing hitting. Coaches were on hand to assist him as he prepares for the Home Run Derby in this years MLB All-Star game. In his first appearance Yoenis does not want to disappoint.
“When he’s going well, he’s using the whole field and he has power to the entire ballpark,” Oakland’s manager Bob Melvin said. “That’s when he’s at his best. It was a good night for him and hopefully that’s something to build off of.”
Boston on the other hand had no tricks up their sleeve against the A’s. Last night the RedSox were able to take advantage of a few errors but tonight the defense was stellar. In fact, they were unable to score any runs despite baserunners getting on in each of the first six innings.
“When you don’t score any runs it’s tough to win,” said Jarrod Saltalamacchia. “As hitters, we got ourselves out. We got a lot of good pitches to hit and we just didn’t do anything.”
Southpaw John Lester also failed in keeping the A’s offense contained. In 6 2/3 innings he struck out four and allowed three runs which included an RBI single from Coco Crisp in the seventh.
“A loss is a loss,” Lester said. “It doesn’t matter how well you pitched when you lose. You got to take the positives out of the game and move forward. That’s all I can really do.”
“The way they pitched against us, the three-run difference loomed large,” said Boston’s manager John Farrell. “On a night where we score our typical amount of runs, we’re probably having a completely different conversation with the way Lester pitched.”