OAKLAND — The A's provided Sean Gallagher with the perfect welcoming gift in his first start with his new team:
More offense than he knew what to do with.
Gallagher was impressive enough on his own Friday night against the Los Angeles Angels, his first outing since Tuesday's trade from the Chicago Cubs.
His new teammates allowed him to breathe easy, pounding Angels starter Jon Garland en route to a 9-2 victory at McAfee Coliseum in the first of three games between the AL West's top two teams.
The A's batted around in a six-run third inning and finished with 15 hits. Handed a 7-2 lead when returning to the mound in the fourth, Gallagher cruised. He went seven innings and allowed just two hits, baffling Angels hitters with a curve that broke as if it fell off a table.
"The guy throws hard," A's catcher Kurt Suzuki said. "He's got two breaking balls and a changeup. He looks like a confident kid. Why not be when you've got stuff like that? He's going to fit in well with us."
Gallagher, 22, was the centerpiece of the four-player package the A's received Tuesday when they shipped pitchers Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin to the Cubs.
Gallagher and Suzuki both said they were surprised how often they were on the same page Friday.
Gallagher had some extra adrenaline going in the first inning, and it showed. His fastball, said to sit in the low- to mid-90s typically, registered at 96 mph on the stadium radar gun.
"I was a little bit (over-pumped) in the first inning, but I was able to control it," Gallagher said. "I feel like I had good command of my fastball and buried my breaking ball when I had to get strikeouts."
Manager Bob Geren was just as impressed with how Gallagher handled himself in the dugout.
"I've never seen anybody as loose between innings," Geren said. "All pitchers are different. Some sit with a blank stare. Others chat about every pitch they throw. He was in between, (but he's) a high-energy guy."
Though Gallagher's surroundings were new, he got a big assist Friday from a familiar face.
Matt Murton, another of the four players the A's got in the trade, was added to the roster Friday and started in left field.
Batting second, Murton contributed a two-run single in the third, when the A's wiped out a 2-1 deficit. But his most impressive work came with the glove.
Murton ranged far to make a running catch of Garret Anderson's deep drive to left-center in the fourth. Then he robbed Juan Rivera in the seventh, hauling in Rivera's deep drive as he crashed into the wall.
Throw in the fact that the A's pulled to within four games of the Halos, and the night played out in ideal fashion for the home team before a crowd of 31,372.
Playing time for Murton was scarce in Chicago, and Cubs officials informed Murton over the winter that he could be dealt.
"I wish those guys the best of luck," he said before the game. "It's no secret. With Alfonso Soriano and Kosuke Fukudome, there wasn't a whole lot of at-bats to go around."
The A's unloaded on Garland in the third, as five players delivered RBI hits.
Jack Hannahan, putting in extra time working on his swing lately, hit a two-run homer in the fourth and went 3-for-4 with three RBI. Emil Brown added three hits.
Contact Joe Stiglich at email@example.com.