Oakland 5, Minnesota 4 (WPA Graph from Fangraphs)
A's Current Record: 30-28
Continuing on a theme from Friday and Saturday, the A's concluded their series with the Twins by playing another game that tightened up in the late innings. This time, Oakland prevailed, as Michael Wuertz came on to close the game with Andrew Bailey unavailable.
The A's held a 5-2 lead after three innings thanks to their patented Death by Singles attack. They scored two runs on the first on a walk and three singles and perhaps could have added more had Rajai Davis not been thrown on trying to steal second. They added another run in the second, deviating from the gameplan a bit, by banging two doubles. In the third, they went back to their slap happy ways, chasing Twins starter Nick Blackburn with four more singles, which resulted in two runs.
Gio Gonzalez made his 5-2 lead hold up, looking quite good in the process. He relied heavily on his fastball and curve, and had especially good control of his fastball. Nearly 75% of his heaters were thrown for strikes and he walked only one batter in seven innings. He also struck out four and induced 12 grounders. Unfortunately, he did throw 117 pitches in the game, which is a questionable number to let him throw. Craig Breslow really should have come into the game one batter earlier, entering to face the left-handed hitting Denard Span and saving Gio five more pitches.
The bullpen was a mixed bag. Breslow pitched OK, retiring two of the three batters he faced, Tyson Ross allowed a two run shot to Delmon Young to put the Twins within one. As Adam pointed out below, Ross has struggled of late and probably shouldn't be pitching in high leverage situations for now. Bob Geren might have realized this, because as soon as Ross gave up Young's homer, he went to Blevins who finished the eighth.
Wuertz came on for the save and pitched great. He struck out Nick Punto on four pitches and struck out Justin Morneau after a pretty good battle. Wuertz didn't throw a single fastball to Morneau, instead feeding him a steady diet of sliders and a pair of changeups for good measure. He then made a great grab on a liner off the bat of Denard Span that looked ticketed for center field.
Despite avoiding a sweep, the A's have now won just two of their last six games and each of those victories have been one run games. We'll see if they can right the ship against the Angels for what is probably the biggest series of the year so far.