What was a fairly competitive game for 7 innings quickly turned into a route as soon as one Jeff Williams stepped on the mound for the Hanshin Tigers. Poor guy couldn't find the plate, and even when he did, he got hammered. The hits came early and often for the A's in the five-run 8th, capped off by Donnie Murphy's Grand Slammer-ooo. That guy just feasts on left-handed pitching!
The Duke pitched exactly 80 pitches (his pre-ordained limit) and faired well, going 5 innings, striking out four, walking none, pounding the zone and only allowing two runs. Keith Foulke finally got through a scoreless inning of relief, and the southpaw squad of Dallas Braden and Lenny DiNardo closed the door on the Tigers, pitching three scoreless innings at the end.
On the offensive side of things, it was nice to see Daric Barton bounce back from his ugly o-fer from last night to go 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs. Cust was, well, Custian, with a 2-run shot, a single and a walk. Buck chipped in with a solo shot in the 3rd, and while Donnie Murphy's Slam was the highlight of the night, I'd give the MVP award to Mark Ellis who made a strong case to be considered a permanent top-of-the-order hitter as he catalyzed the A's offense early on with 2 hits and 2 runs scored.
Although just an exhibition game, this win was important nonetheless, as I'm sure the team needed a little pick-me-up after learning earlier that Eric Chavez will likely be out indefinitely with his latest setback in his recovery from off-season surgery. Thank God for Jack Supermannahan!
Well, we've got two off days and then they start counting folks! See you on Tuesday at 3:30am!