Over the course of a 162-game schedule there are games that you're going to win that you probably shouldn't. Especially if you have good pitching and defense and play solid fundamental baseball. The A's did that tonight despite the rough night from Dana Eveland. He somehow made it through 5 1/3 innings despite giving up nine hits, four walks and zero strikeouts. He only gave up three runs because of some stellar defense behind him.
I think the difference often between a team that can hang close to a division leader and the last place team is easy. The Mariners made some very crucial mistakes tonight, possibly none bigger than Adrian Beltre not touching third base after a fly ball was caught by the A's and he scrambled to get back to second. It was the top of the fifth and at the time the M's had Beltre on second and Sexson on first with one out. Johjima flew out to Carlos Gonzalez and the A's dugout noticed that Beltre missed touching third on his way back to second. The bottom of that same inning the A's took the lead thanks to a Wes Bankston home run, a Gregorio Petit double and a Ryan Sweeney single. Then in the top of the sixth, when Eveland was in trouble again and loaded the bases with one out, The Terminator, I mean Brad Ziegler came in to induce an inning-ending double play on two pitches. Congratulations to Ziggy who will now be in the A's record books as the pitcher to go the longest to start his career in Oakland history without allowing a run.
The A's squeezed a win out Eveland, who was lucky to come out of his outing with a victory. By the way, it wasn't all that surprising that the Mariners whacked Eveland around a bit. I was looking at their stats during the game and they're hitting .283 as a team versus lefties and .248 against righties. I also wasn't surprised that the A's were getting dominated by Jarrod Washburn since they're the opposite way around, hitting better against righties than lefties. They just seem to face quite a few lefties and they're a lot more vulnerable to them since they lost Frank Thomas and Mike Sweeney.
Huston Street did make it interesting at the end with Ichiro ending the game in scoring position just itching to tie the game. But Street closed the door.
Impressively, the A's are having success with names that I didn't anticipate having a great impact on their year. Wes Bankston, Ryan Sweeney and even Ziggy. Regardless, let's make this very interesting for Billy Beane and company at the end of July.