Any thoughts that getting blasted three straight games by the Los Angeles Angels was going to ruin the Cinderella story being crafted by the A’s proved to have no basis in reality this weekend in Seattle.
Jonny Gomes’ three-run homer in the fifth inning gave starter Tommy Milone some room to work, and Josh Donaldson added a solo shot for insurance in the ninth as the A’s pulled out a 4-2 win over the Mariners on Sunday, completing a three-game sweep in the Pacific Northwest.
After being outscored 21-5 by the Angels in Oakland, the A’s came back to be the team in charge in Seattle, outscoring the Mariners 16-4. Even after getting swept by the Angels, the A’s have remained in the hunt for the playoffs by winning 12 of their past 15 games and 18 of their past 23.
Now the second-place A’s have to face the third-place Angels again starting today, this time for four games in Anaheim that figure to have a major impact on the AL playoff race. The A’s are currently leading the wild-card standings, and the Angels sit just two games back with the Orioles in the middle.
“You don’t have to do checks on this team’s character anymore,” Gomes said after his 16th homer proved decisive. “With the guys we’ve had hurt and sent out and traded and the [suspension] issue with [Bartolo] Colon, we just go out there and keep our heads up. We really go game to game.”
Milone, who gave up eight hits but no walks, will be the only A’s starter who won’t get a shot at the Angels this week. But he’s not lacking for confidence in his mates heading into the series.
“We got our momentum back this series heading into Anaheim,” Milone said. “We’re going to their place and it should be a good series.”
Seattle starter Jason Vargas had to work a bit to get through the first two innings, then settled down to retire nine batters in succession before a two-out single by Adam Rosales in the fifth. Coco Crisp followed with a single and Gomes unloaded his 16th homer, a three-run shot off the facing of the second deck in left field. It was the first career hit for Gomes off Vargas after having been 0-for-10 against the veteran lefty.
Donaldson’s homer, his seventh, came off Seattle reliever Josh Kinney in the ninth. The homers give the A’s 162 for the season, more power from the Oakland offense than in any season since hitting 171 in 2007.
“Since June we’ve been able to do it with pitching and the home run ball,” manager Bob Melvin said. “We’ve gotten a lot better; we don’t feel like we have to string hits together to score runs.”