By Kahlil Najar
OAKLAND – Brandon Moss hit his first grand slam of his career and Josh Donaldson launched two deep home runs in the first game of this critical home series against the Angels (30-24) and propelled the A’s (33-22) to a 9-5 victory. The A’s ran through the entire lineup in the bottom of the first inning and scored five runs to knock out Angels starter Garret Richards in only 2/3 of an inning pitched. Donaldson went 3 for 4 with four RBI and Moss went 1 for 2 with four RBI to contribute a majority of the Athletics offense tonight. On the mound, Drew Pomeranz (5-2) went 5 1/3 innings and struck out five for his fifth win of the year.
“We had good energy right out of the gate,” said Athletics head coach Bob Melvin. “It didn’t feel like it was going to be one of those nights where you’d see too many balls leave the ballpark but there were strong guys. It doesn’t surprise me when they hit homers (Donaldson, Moss).”
Tonight was Donaldson’s second ever multi-homer game of his career and Melvin said, “He’s playing really well right now, across the board. He has great focus. He knows how he’s going to get pitched and his defense comes with him.”
Moss, who ended up leaving the game early because of calf stiffness spoke on his first grand slam and said, “I’ve never come close to one. I came close-ish once last year when I flied out to the wall. It was on my mind, not that I was trying to hit one. I just thought it would be cool to do it. And it felt good, for sure.”
Putting up five runs in the first made the entire O.Co Coliseum crowd feel good especially when going up against a team like the Angels.
The A’s added to their lead in the second and third inning when Donaldson hit his first of two homers in the game to right field over the out of town scoreboard. In the third, Donaldson received his second RBI of the night when he singled home Crisp and gave the A’s a 7-0 lead after three.
The Angels won the fourth inning when Mike Trout hit his eleventh homer of the year and Howie Kendrick hit his third of the year and gave the Angels three run and brought the lead to only four runs.
However in the bottom of the fifth, Donaldson launched a line drive home run to center field off of a two seam fastball that catapulted the A’s to 9 runs to the Angels 3.
The Angels C.J. Cron doubled in a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth but then the A’s relief squad of Otero, Gregerson and Dolittle came in for 3 2/3 scoreless innings and gave the A’s their 33rd win of the year.
The Angels send Tyler Skaggs (4-2, 3.97 ERA) to the mound against Tommy Milone (3-3, 3.50) who is 3-0 and has an ERA a little over one in his last four starts.