OAKLAND, Calif. — No need for A.J. Griffin to glance over his shoulder at the bullpen. This game was all his to finish, something that seemed far-fetched when he walked two of the game’s first three batters.
Griffin tossed a two-hitter for his first win in more than a month, Josh Donaldson hit a three-run homer and the Oakland Athletics beat the Cincinnati Reds 5-0 on Wednesday for a sweep of their two-game series.
Griffin (6-6) struck out seven and walked two in a 108-pitch gem for his first career complete game.
“I was trying not to think about it because I was hoping I wasn’t going to blow it,” Griffin said. “Obviously, I get a little extra adrenaline going there.”
The shaggy-haired right-hander had been 0-3 in five starts since winning at Houston on May 25. He didn’t allow a hit until Devin Mesoraco’s one-out single in the fifth, and Xavier Paul added a two-out double in the seventh for Cincinnati.
Griffin’s mother, Kathy Griffin — “not that one,” he quipped of the comedian — attended her first game of the season at the Coliseum to see his stellar start. With an off day Thursday, the pitcher planned to take his mom and girlfriend to a nice dinner.
It’s been a while since he has felt celebratory. The A’s had lost each of his last five starts.
“I was getting tired of not personally me (not) getting a win but going out there every fifth day and the team losing,” Griffin said.
Pinch hitter Nate Freiman and Brandon Moss each hit an RBI double for Oakland.
Griffin gave the A’s starters their first decision in four games after Oakland went three in a row without one for the first time this year. He struck out Jay Bruce swinging for a 1-2-3 ninth to end the 2-hour, 20-minute game — looking as strong late as he did early.
“The first two guys of the game it looked like his command might not be there,” manager Bob Melvin said. “Then he found it and was spectacular.”
Oakland’s fourth inning provided all the run support Griffin needed.
Donaldson connected to highlight a four-run fourth after hitting a two-run homer in Tuesday night’s 7-3 victory.
Homer Bailey (4-6) faced just two over the minimum through three innings, and then ran into trouble in the fourth. He struck out seven and walked two in six innings in losing his second straight decision.
Oakland got four straight hits to start the fourth, taking a 1-0 lead on Moss’ double. Jed Lowrie was nearly caught at third by a sprinting Yoenis Cespedes, who held up as Lowrie ran home but missed the bag before reaching back to touch the plate as catcher Mesoraco lost the ball.
Derrick Robinson and Joey Votto pulled off a double steal in the first to put runners on second and third, but Cincinnati missed more chances a day after stranding 11 baserunners.
“Everybody is going to have a streak like this. It didn’t matter because we didn’t score any runs,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “You could, ‘Homer did this or did that’ but we had no chance, even if it was 1-0. Not only are we not scoring runs but we’re not getting any hits either. It’s not anything you want to do.”
The Reds are scheduled to get second baseman Brandon Phillips back from paternity leave Friday at Texas.
Baker even had his team hit an abbreviated batting practice after the night game because, “This park plays as different day and night as anywhere in the big leagues.”
The tricky sun early and shadows late can be problematic. Donaldson experienced the glaring sun when the third baseman lost the ball on Paul’s foul popup in the fourth.
Stephen Vogt earned another start at catcher in place of injured starter John Jaso, a day after Vogt was promoted from Triple-A Sacramento.
Griffin only shook off Vogt a couple of times, and chatted with the pitcher early to help get him back on track.
“It’s really easy to call a game when a guy is executing every pitch,” Vogt said. “I’ve had quite a few big league hugs, but that was a good one.”
Vogt is still searching for his first major league hit, going 0 for 3 to drop to 0 for 31 overall. Vogt was 0 for 25 with two walks in 18 games last season. Since 1990, the only longer hitless streak to open a career was 33 at-bats by Chris Carter with the A’s in 2010.
NOTES: Griffin threw 73 of his pitches for strikes. ... A’s CF Coco Crisp had what Melvin called a non-emergency “family issue” that the team knew about Tuesday night. He arrived during the game. “This was a planned thing,” Melvin said. Crisp’s replacement, Chris Young, struck out four times in the leadoff spot. ... Jaso missed his fifth straight start while he rested his injured left hand. Melvin expects him back Friday against St. Louis. ... The A’s raised $32,000 during their annual root beer float day for the Juvenile Research Diabetes Foundation. Melvin’s grown daughter has juvenile diabetes. The game drew 25,658. ... The Reds make just their second trip to Rangers Ballpark in Arlington and first since 2002.