A’s use The Force to conquer Phillies

O.CO COLISEUM — In attendance Friday night — Star Wars fireworks night — were Jawas, Stormtroopers and Jedis.

Surprisingly enough, the A’s offense showed up for an inning against the last-place Phillies, but it was enough for the young Oakland padawans to earn a 3-1 win over Philadelphia Friday night.

The contest with the visiting Phillies (70-84) provided another opportunity for the A’s (84-69) to find their first-half form. In the second inning, the Athletics offense answered the call.

Adam Dunn led off the inning with an infield single that glanced of the pitcher Buchanan and was then juggled by shortstop Freddy Galvis. After Brandon Moss flied to deep right, Stephen Vogt drew a walk.

The seventh place hitter, Jed Lowrie, struck out swinging, bringing up Derek Norris (2-for-4, run, RBI). The wookie look-alike singled to right, bringing in Dunn for the game’s first run.


Photos by Godofredo Vasquez/SFBay

The next two batters, Eric Sogard and Coco Crisp also singled, collecting RBIs of their own to make the score 3-0 after two.

Jon Lester (W, 16-10, 7 IP, 5 hits, 1 earned run, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts, 114 pitches) responded with a quick 1-2-3 third inning.

In the top of the fourth though, Ryan Howard tagged a Lester fastball just left of the 400 mark in center making the score 3-1. The home run was Howard’s 26th of this season.

Lester said of the home run by Howard:

“He sold out on the first pitch, and put a good swing on it. You go dead center here that’s pretty impressive. Definitely in those situations you don’t want to fall behind hitters.”

Lester went on to say:

“I’l give up solo homers any day and move on to the next guy.”

Lowrie tripled to lead off the bottom of the seventh inning, but after a Norris strikeout, Sogard attempted a safety squeeze that wound up getting Lowrie thrown out at home. Lowrie had paused with the bunt in the air, and that slight hesitation resulted in an out for Oakland.

With Sogard occupying first, Crisp lined a single to right, pushing Sogard to third. That would be all for Phillies starter David Buchanan (L, 6-8, 6 2/3 IP, 6 hits, 3 earned, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts, 92 pitches).

Lefty reliever Antonio Bastardo came in to pitch to left-handed batter Sam Fuld. Fuld walked, loading the bases. After another pitching change, Josh Donaldson popped out to third on the first offering from righty Justin De Fratus.

Galvis started off the Phillies eighth with a double to left that bounced against the wall. A feeling loomed that the opposition would come back to inflict pain on Oakland, much like Texas did to the A’s on Wednesday night.

After Ben Revere grounded out to second, advancing Galvis to third, Carlos Ruiz stepped up to bat. Ruiz hit a high chopper to Donaldson at third, which Donaldson threw home to nail Galvis trying to score. Chase Utley ended the Philadelphia eighth by grounding out to second.

The A’s loaded the bases again in the eighth inning on two walks and an infield single. With two outs, Jonny Gomes pinch-hit for Eric Sogard to face tough lefty, Jake Diekman. Gomes worked a full count, but Diekman got strike three looking.

The scoreboard darkened, and bells started chiming. Sean Doolittle entered to work a clean ninth, securing the 3-1 victory for Oakland.

Doolittle talked about what he’s seen and appreciated about Jon Lester:

“The fire that he has on the mound….he pitches with a lot of emotion. I think guys have picked up on that, they feed off that […] before, we hadn’t seen him too much, just thought he was a robot with that cutter.”

Those were the fireworks — aside from the show scheduled after the game.

The A’s face off with the Phillies again Saturday afternoon at 1:05 with Drew Pomeranz (5-4, 2.53) taking the hill against Jerome Williams (3-2, 2.84)

Notes

The Athletics are 12-6 in interleague play this season. The Phillies are 6-12. … Jon Lester has won each of his last three starts. … David Buchanan has allowed three runs or fewer in each of his last 15 starts since June 14. … The loss is Philadelphia’s 60th when scoring less than three runs (16-60). … On this date 60 years ago, the Philadelphia Athletics played their home game of 1954. It was their last home game at Shibe Park. … Attendance was 35,067, the A’s 16th sellout of the season.