It took a few games, but the A’s finally got to sample sweet victory against the Cleveland Indians with a 4-1 win Saturday night.
Right-handed starter Aaron Brooks (W, 1-0, 3.09 ERA) kept in stride in his A’s debut after being acquired for Ben Zobrist last week, allowing a single to left fielder Michael Brantley in the first before retiring the next eleven batters in .
Manager Bob Melvin was thoroughly impressed with his new pitcher. Melvin stated confidently that Brooks would stay in the starting rotation:
“Nothing really surprised me, it was more of the unknown than anything else but that was a terrific game. He exceeded my expectations. He’s going to stay in the rotation, he deserves to.”
Upon hearing of Melvin’s praise, Brooks stood in awe:
“Getting this opportunity and taking advantage of it and hearing that is unreal.”
In the second inning, the home team used three batters to lace a run together against Indians starter Cody Anderson (L, 2-3, 3.38 ERA). Designated hitter Billy Butler singled to center before advancing to third off a colossal Ike Davis double.
Left fielder Mark Canha stepped up to the plate and grounded to second but collected an RBI as Butler scampered home, giving the A’s a 1-0 lead.
In true Oakland fashion, the team was unable to maintain their early lead. Lonnie Chisenhall smashed a homer to right in the fifth inning off Brooks to tie the game at 1-1.
With an impending sense of deja vu rippling through the Coliseum, the offense turned the tide and came back in the bottom of the inning. Third baseman Max Muncy sent a ball bouncing over the right field wall for a ground rule double. With Muncy at second, shortstop Marcus Semien was patient at the plate and drew a walk against Anderson.
Second baseman Eric Sogard squirted a single to right before Chisenhall easily threw out Muncy at home plate for the second out of the inning. Sam Fuld then singled to Chisenhall, scoring Semien from second to give the A’s the lead back.
Fuld, with a chuckle, said his game plan was to copy Muncy:
“Hit it exactly in the same spot and test him [Chisenhall] again.”
The plan worked, as Chisenhall’s rocket throw was cut off by first baseman Carlos Santana, who then sailed the ball over the head of third baseman Giovanny Urshela, allowing Sogard to bump the lead to 3-1.
The A’s weren’t finished, as two innings later Semien smoked one over and beyond deep left field, smiling his way over to home plate.
Brooks came out in the eighth to a standing ovation and his tearful mother, Holly am0ng the 19,046 announced in attendance. In 7-1/3 innings, Brooks threw 94 pitches, allowed five hits and one home run while managing five strikeouts.
As he was doused with Gatorade, Brooks said the fans and the entire stadium made him feel “so much at home, so welcome”, extending his family count beyond the fourteen family members at the game to include all 19,046 fans as well:
“It was amazing. I couldn’t thank them enough.”
Fuld added a run in the eighth for insurance purposes by stealing second, taking third on catcher Stephen Vogt‘s ground out to second, and finally crossing home off a Butler single to center.