A's, Billy Burns

A’s win 2nd straight game for 1st time since April

The Oakland Athletics won two games in a row! While this may not seem like a big accomplishment, it is when you are struggling the way the 2015 A’s are. They hadn’t won two straight games since April.

Saturday the A’s defeated the AL East leading Tampa Bay Rays by the score of 5-0 behind youngster Kendall Graveman, who started the season with the big league club but struggled and was optioned to Triple-A Nashville.

It was Graveman’s first start since being re-called from Triple-A and he delivered a very strong performance, allowing just three hits, two walks and striking out six batters in six innings of work. He was followed on the mound by Evan Scribner and Tyler Clippard who preserved the shutout.

The A’s had key two-out  hits by second baseman Eric Sogard and outfielder Sam Fuld, as well as a two-out  bases loaded walk by rookie outfielder Billy Burns for his first big league RBI. 

Billy Burns. Getty Images

Sunday, Burns got his first “real” RBI by leading off the game with a home run. Burns, known for his speed, rarely hits homers even when he was in the minors but he got a hold of that first pitch by Eramis Ramirez and it went right out of the yard.

Burns also later had yet another stolen base, his seventh of the year.

Mark Canha also homered off of Ramirez with two men on base. Josh Reddick also went yard for a solo shot in the seventh off of Rays’ reliever Ernesto Frieri

Stephen Vogt contributed another two RBI for the A’s and narrowly avoided a collision at the plate with Steven Souza Jr.

Souza later left the game due to a wrist injury he incurred while attempting to plow over Vogt at the plate. He did not, however, break the new collision rule that was created to stop this kind of thing from happening.

The scariest moment of the game came in the fourth inning when A’s ace Sonny Gray was hit in the calf by a come-backer off the bat of James Loney. Gray finished off the fourth and even pitched the fifth inning but left the game early and the bullpen had to take over. 

It is a shame that Gray’s day was cut short because it as one of his better outings of the season. He had not allowed a hit or a walk and had four strikeouts through those five innings.

Sonny Gray. USA TODAY Sports.

Fortunately Gray’s x-rays came back negative and although he did have some swelling, he told the media after the game that he expects to be alright in time for his next start. 

The struggling A’s bullpen was able to hold onto the lead allowing just two runs over five innings of work. Dan Otero worked the sixth and seventh innings allowing only three hits. 

Both earned runs were charged to Fernando Rodriguez who took over for Otero and got just one out before the A’s brought in Evan Scribner. Scribner allowed a hit while he finished off the eighth inning. 

Recent call-up Arnold Leon came in to pitch an excellent ninth inning, striking out two and not allowing a hit or a run. 

So the A’s have finally won two games in a row. Could it be the start of something better? Of a turnaround that is coming? It’s obviously to early to say but it certainly must be giving the players a little bit of confidence right about now.

Monday the A’s are back home to play the Detroit Tigers for the Memorial Day holiday. The A’s are also expected to activate super-utility man, Ben Zobrist from the disabled list which will definitely add to their lineup and hopefully the team’s confidence.

Facing the Tigers has never been easy for the A’s but let’s hope that a turnaround is on the horizon and they can get their third straight win tomorrow!

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