It was the beginning of a battle between two of the best of the AL, in surprising fashion. Not many predicted the Oakland Athletics and Baltimore Orioles to be leading their respective divisions this late in the year. However, with the brawn of Yoenis Cespedes (A's) and Nelson Cruz (O's), these two are both comfortable in their positions.
Tonight, the 'ace' of Baltimore's mediocre rotation, Chris Tillman, took to the man, going against new A's addition Jeff Samardzija. Both teams were wanting a great start to their second halves of the season, and Oakland got on the board first with a 1-run double by the surprising John Jaso, knocking in Coco Crisp.
That would be the last run of the game that wasn't a home run.
In the 5th, Jonathan Schoop, the young 2B from the Netherlands Antilles, blasted a home run for the O's, sending in himself and JJ Hardy. Not to be outdone, Athletics surging catcher Derek Norris launched a homer himself in the bottom of the same inning.
What seemed to be the momentum swinger was in the 7th inning, where Orioles star Manny Machado thwacked a beauty into the bleachers of O.co Coliseum. The rising stud has been lights-out after his suspension that he garnered against these same A's earlier this year for an embarrassing bat-throwing incident.
Although hope looked evaporated for these AL West leading Athletics, they once again proved why they are still one of the frontrunners for the World Series crown. Zach Britton came on to close for the Orioles in the 9th, and was promptly KO'd. First a Yoenis Cespedes bunt single, followed by Brandon Moss single, and then the grand finale: a murder of a baseball by Josh Donaldson. Britton had done a great job all year closing for the O's, and this performance tonight was not the way he wanted to start the second half.
The Oakland A's just keep on rolling, and the rest of this series is certain to be fun for both sides.