What a wacky day of baseball at the Coliseum! A's 8, Mariners 7

Honestly, the only things missing from this game were a position player pitching and someone pulling off the hidden-ball trick.

We had lousy pitching, good pitching, and unlucky pitching; lousy hitting, good hitting, and lucky hitting; a handful of outstanding defensive plays; startling developments on the basepaths; A's playing out of position and shifting all over the field; and all this in a see-saw battle that went back and forth all afternoon.

The game started out poorly for the A's, as Kirk Saarloos gagve up runs early and often to the anemic M's offense. Jerry Blevins came in and stopped the bleeding -- and then Alan Embree decided to rip off the scab, surrendering a 3-run 2-run homer to Johjima. Street and Ziegler both gave up a few too many baserunners for comnfort, but the A's (assisted by both the Mariners' overeagerness at the plate and third-base umpire Bill Miller's 4:30 tee time) managed to keep the Mariners off the board for the last three innings.

The top performers for the A's today were chimeras: third baseman Jacric Barnahan made several outstanding plays, and #8 batter Jefflos Baizalez went 4/4 with 5 RBIs and 2 runs scored. Yes, Barton ended up at third today -- and we also saw Rob Bowen playing first, and the outfielders looking like they were playing the cap caper. Baisley himself drove in 4 runs (two on a bloop single, two on a more solid hit) and Carlos Gonzalez stung the ball after coming in as part of the A's complex of defensive rotations.

The top of the ninth was especially madcap: Mariner second baseman Luis Valbuena led off with a Crosby-style double down the first-base/RF line -- and then was called out at third when he tried to go for the triple and Pennington made an outstanding relay throw that ... apparently, from all first-hand accounts, came nowhere close to actually beating Valbuena to the bag. The Mariner third base coach and manager got themselves tossed arguing the call, but to no avail. Ziggy then walked Ichiro, but induced Yuniesky Betancourt to ground to, yes, third baseman Daric Barton, who started a 5-4-3 DP to end it.

Whew!

One more game left at the Coliseum this year: tomorrow at 1:05, the A's try to send the M's to their eleventh consecutive loss.
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