The Juice: The A’s sweep the Angels, have now won eight in a row

Mike Oz
Big League Stew

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Oh, you mean there were other games Thursday besides the Los Angeles Dodgers-San Diego Padres rugby match? Apparently so.

While those two SoCal teams were beating up on each other, the Oakland Athletics were beating up on the third one (figuratively — Josh Reddick's beard did not, we repeat, did not, accost anyone after the game). But the A's did beat the Los Angeles Angels 8-1 on Thursday night, sweeping the Halos and moving to an American League best 8-2.

Those eight wins have come in a row, after the A's dropped their first two games of the season. Oakland also increased its league-leading run differential to +33.

The A's got more of what's spurred their ascension the past two seasons: Timely hitting and quality pitching. Josh Donaldson hit a two-run homer in the sixth to break a 1-1 tie, and the A's cracked it open from there. Chris Young followed with a two-run double and Yoenis Cespedes homered in the seventh. A.J. Griffin (2-0) pitched eight strong innings, giving up only five hits.

On the other end of this one were the Angels, who slipped to 2-7. Yes, they're actually behind the Houston Astros in the standings. It's the team's worst nine-game start since its very first season, 1961, when it started 1-8.

A's manager Bob Melvin wasn't pounding his chest after taking three straight from the team favored to win the AL West:

''They have a heck of a team, but sometimes you catch a team when they're down and we were lucky to do that,'' A's manager Bob Melvin said. ''They're one of the best teams in all of baseball. So anytime you come in here, you've got your work cut out for you. Tonight our offense has continued to flourish, and that takes some pressure off the rest of your game. This was probably our best game all the way around ...

''It's always great to get off to a good start, but you have to maintain it because it's a long season,'' Melvin said. ''If this was in the middle of the season and we had a run like this and they had a poor period, I don't think it would be significant. Those guys will go on a stretch where they play real well.''

Speaking of teams that play well, the A's now get another test when they get a visit from the Detroit Tigers for a weekend series.

Rangers 4, Mariners 3: Rangers spoil King Felix's bid at win No. 100.

Orioles 3, Red Sox 2: You know this story: Chris Davis homers, Adam Jones keeping hitting. O's win.

Dodgers 2, Padres 1: Pretty boring game. Not much happened. Definitely not a big ol' brawl.

Giants 7, Cubs 6: S.F. comes back from 5-0 deficit to win.

Tigers 11, Blue Jays 1: Torii Hunter, Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera help romp the Jays.

Nationals 7, White Sox 4: Powered by Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman, the Nats complete sweep of the White Sox.

Yankees vs. Indians: Postponed (Rain)

''I'm going to try and rehab this as best I can real quick. Might have to play through some pain.'' — Mariners outfielder/home-run launcher Michael Morse.

He was hit on the right hand and diagnosed with a small fracture in his right pinky finger. He's expected to miss 3 to 7 days.

The photographer says Elvis Andrus is throwing his bat here, but we thinking he's dancing.

• After hitting only in the leadoff spot in 2012, reigning AL Rookie of the Year Mike Trout batted in the No. 2 spot for the Angels on Thursday. He had moved around the order during his brief big-league stint in 2011, but otherwise this was hit first time hitting anywhere than leadoff. He went 0-for-4.

• The Tigers game-time temperature of 35 degrees was the the coldest since 1996. Brrrr.

• Chris Davis continues to have more RBIs (19) than the entire Miami Marlins team (16).

Baseball is back. Don't miss anything.
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