(OAKLAND) — For awhile earlier this season, the Oakland Athletics couldn’t score for Dallas Braden.
For example, in the first 40 innings he pitched after his May 9 perfect game, the A’s offense scored four runs for Braden — and he went more than two months without a win.
Now, the Oakland offense can’t score for anyone else but Dallas Braden, as the only two games the A’s have won in the past eight contests are the ones where Braden was pitching.
Last night’s 6-2 win over the Toronto Blue Jays also broke a terrible slide for the Oakland offense, where they’d collected just seven hits in three games — bottoming out with the one-hit loss on Monday night.
But led by Coco Crisp’s three hits from the leadoff spot, the A’s ripped off 11 hits last night and scored six runs to stake Braden to his fourth win in his last five decisions.
Braden was actually pretty good himself, giving up only one hit and one unearned run through the first six innings. And after the Blue Jays tied the score at two runs apiece in the top of the seventh with back-to-back doubles off Braden, the Oakland offense picked up their veteran lefty by scoring three runs in the bottom of the inning to blow the game open.
And the offense really was the story of this game, especially after the last few games of massive struggles. Braden gave up a run in the first when his errant pickoff throw allowed Yunel Escobar to advance to third, where he later scored on a routine groundout.
But Crisp led off the first inning for the A’s with a double, and Daric Barton followed with another double to almost the same spot in left-center field to give Oakland its first run and tie the game.
A couple of wild pitches by Toronto starter Brendan Morrow — who had come within one out of a no-hitter in his last start, on August 8 against Tampa Bay — scored Barton from second, and the A’s had the lead.
And after Toronto tied the game in the seventh, Crisp and Barton once again led off an inning with consecutive hits. After Crisp stole third and Conor Jackson struck out, it looked like Oakland was blowing a big chance when Jack Cust grounded to second for a seemingly easy double play.
But Blue Jays second baseman Aaron Hill threw the ball away, allowing Crisp to score the go-ahead run. The A’s piled on two more runs in the inning to blow the game open, and suddenly, the offense’s ineptitude of the past few games became an afterthought.