The Oakland Athletics were already in a comfortable position prior to Thursday afternoon’s game with the Minnesota Twins, but A.J. Griffin helped to put them in an even more favorable spot.
Griffin tossed 7 fantastic innings for Oakland, allowing only 1 run on 2 hits (with 1 walk), and striking out 8 batters over just 97 pitches. As usual, the only blemish on Griffin’s record was a 7th-inning home run from Oswaldo Arcia, but other than that false step, he was absolutely electric. In fact, Griffin began the game by retiring the first 10 batters, and seemed to be in complete control of the action throughout his start.
Offensively, the A’s received plenty of firepower, and it began with a 4-run outburst in the 3rd inning. The major blow was a 2-run triple from Yoenis Cespedes, but it was a total team effort all day. In addition to Cespedes (who went 2-for-5), Oakland’s lineup produced three additional 2-hit days from Jed Lowrie, Chris Young, and Derek Norris. This has been the “typical” standard for a balanced Oakland lineup this season, and they didn’t fall short against the depleted Twins.
Oakland didn’t “need” a win in this spot, but they’ll certainly take the effort they got from Griffin as a positive sign as they march toward the playoffs and a potential (if not likely) division title in the AL West. With this win, the A’s take a 3.5-game lead on the Rangers (pending the rest of Thursday’s results), and things are looking good in the Bay Area.