OAKLAND -- One year and two days after his major league debut, A.J. Griffin pitched his first career complete game.
It was a gem, all right, the right-hander limiting the Cincinnati Reds to just two hits -- a Devin Mesoraco single that hit the heel of an onrushing Chris Young's glove in the fifth and a Xavier Paul double off the wall that Josh Reddick misread in the seventh -- while walking two, both in the first inning, and striking out seven in his 108 pitches, 73 of which were strikes. Really, the most surprising thing about Griffin's outing is that he had not won since May 25, going 0-3 in five starts since.
As such, the A's pulled off a two-game interleague sweep of Cincinnati with the 5-0 victory, though the Reds have a shot at retribution in Cincinnati Aug. 6-7.
One game shy of the midway point of the 162-game season, the A's (46-34) pulled ahead of Texas (44-33) by half-a-game in the American League West. The Rangers have a night game at the New York Yankees.
Starting pitching report
Griffin's career-worst three-game losing streak a thing of the past, he especially owned the Reds' Jay Bruce, striking him out four times. Griffin's previous career high in innings pitched was the eight-inning job he pulled at Anaheim on April 11.
No one warmed up, though Ryan Cook did get something to drink after the eighth inning.
At the plate
The A's offense woke up with aplomb in the fourth inning when Jed Lowrie led off with a single, Yoenis Cespedes followed with a single, Brandon Moss ensued with a run-scoring double, though the slow-to-move Lowrie had to pull off a nifty slide to avoid Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco, and a "loud" three-run home run deep to left-center by Josh Donaldson. It was Donaldson's second homer in as many games, both coming on first-pitch offerings, and his 12th of the season. He also has a team-leading 51 RBI. New catcher Stephen Vogt, however, went 0-for-3 to extend his hitless streak to begin his big league career to 0-31. Nate Freiman added a run-scoring pinch-hit double in the seventh.
In the field
With two out in the second inning and Zack Cozart on first base for the Reds courtesy of a Josh Donaldson fielding error, Cesar Izturis pulled a Griffin offering into the right-field corner. The ball hung and kept carrying, and right fielder Josh Reddick kept gliding to the ball. Until he reached the warning track and leaped, hitting the wall at the same time the ball hit his glove for the final out of the inning and saving a run that would have given the Reds the lead.
The A's announced a crowd of 25,658 for the afternoon game…and Root Beer Float Day, which raised $32,000 to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
Following Thursday's off day, Bartolo Colon (10-2, 2.93 ERA) gets his crack at the team with the best record in baseball in an interleague series opener. Colon, who has won seven straight starts while compiling an ERA of 1.41 and allowing just one home run in 51 innings, has faced St. Louis three times in his career and is 1-0 with a 5.06 ERA against the Cardinals. Right-hander Shelby Miller (8-5, 2.35) will start for the Cardinals. He has never faced the A's in his career.